Glencoe Lochan Trail: The Lowdown

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Every year, hiking lovers trek to The Highlands in Scotland to tackle the Glen Lochan trail – and if you plan on joining them, here’s everything you need to know – from parking to renting a car to other trails – and everything in between.

Read More: Glen Etive Road: Mountains, Ravines, Ancient Battle Grounds, and, er, James Bond?!

Glencoe Lochan Trail: The Lowdown

Don those hiking boots and dust off that walking pole, for everything you need to know about planning your Glen Lochan trail excursion awaits.

Photo of Loch Achtriochtan

Where is the Glencoe Lochan Trail?

The Glencoe Lochan Trail is a forest hiking route that can be found just north of Glencoe village and is part of the Ballachulish council area of the Scottish Highlands.

The forest was created by Lord Strathcona during the 18th century, who had recently wedded a Canadian woman and wanted to remind her of home, which he did so by planting a bed of conifer trees.

Fast-forward a couple of centuries and Glencoe is now home to over 30 hiking trails, making it a sought-after destination for lovers of the Great Outdoors. 

Also, the loch itself is perfect for a spot of wild swimming on a warm summer’s day, and the area as a whole is ideal for a road trip.

Glen Lochan Trail Route Map 

Glencoe Lochan Trail Parking

First things first: to fully experience the vast and stunning scenery of Glencoe, we highly recommend renting a vehicle to get around.

Once that is sorted, you’ll be pleased to know that there is ample parking near the Glencoe Lochan Trail, although parking fees apply:

  • £1 for up to 1 hour – all vehicles 
  • £3 for all-day
  • Blue Badge holders park free. Holders will need to have their badge clearly on display.

Glencoe Lochan Viewpoint

Glencoe Lochan Viewpoint is one of the most spectacular locations for panoramic views of the surrounding woodland and loch. The exact location can be found at:

B863, Ballachulish PH49 4HP.

Photo of Loch Achtriochtan

Hiking the Glen Lochan Trail

Now, let’s get to the juicy stuff: the hiking trail.

Hike Stats:

  • Distance: 2.5km / 1.5 miles
  • Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Ascent: 100m

Those wanting to explore Glencoe Lochan by way of its dedicated trail can do so with this easy-level, novice-friendly route.

This easy-terrain, low-bog-level, and waymarked path provides serene views of the stunning lochan with a smattering of foreboding mountains in the background, making it a picturesque traipse for first-time hikers.

Other Glencoe Walking Trails

As we mentioned earlier, there are around 30 great walking trails in the Glencoe area (you may need to hire a car to get to and from various areas). We’re not going to go into them all (because we’d be here all day!), but he’s the lowdown on some of the most enjoyable, scenic treks.

Easy-Level Trails

For hiking novices, we recommend tackling these first before launching into the big daddies.

Ballachulish Slate Quarries & Loch Leven

Hike Stats:

  • Distance: 2km / 1.25 miles
  • Time: 45 mins – 1 hour
  • Ascent: 17m

This is considered an extremely easy hike by and combines two simple routes that keep it interesting by contrasting each other. Along the way, you’ll get to visit the Ballachulish slate quarries, while travelling along the peninsula behind the Isles of Glencoe Hotel.

Terrain-wise, you can expect mostly flat, easy paths, with a low bog-factor.

Signal Rock & An Torr

Hike Stats:

  • Distance: 2.5km / 1.5 miles
  • Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Ascent: 91m 

Hiking at a slightly higher ascent than the Ballachulish Slate Quarries & Loch Leven trail, but still considered a short and simple walk, this hike sticks predominantly to the woodland area, while heading to Signal Rock, which, according to local legend, was the beginning point of the infamous Massacre of Glencoe in 1692.

As for the terrain, this hike isn’t too boggy and is partially signposted.

Brecklet Trail

Hiking Stats:

  • Distance: 3km / 1.75 miles
  • Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Ascent: 116m

Next on the list of easy-level trails is the Brecklet Trail, which elevates walkers high above the Ballachulish quarries, making for some excellent view spots.

Not only do you get plenty of forestways to enjoy but there are also some ancient ruins to be discovered on this well-constructed, waymarked terrain, which is a little steeper than the previously mentioned trails.

Inchree Falls

Hiking Stats:

  • Distance: 5km / 3 miles
  • Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Ascent: 278m

Did you know that The Highlands is a hotspot for magnificent waterfalls? Those wanting to tick off some cascading delights will be thrilled to know that the Inchree Falls trail features a waterfall called… wait for it… Inchree Falls!

As for the hike itself, the trail follows an ancient military road, much of which is ascending. The terrain is gentle and relatively bog-free.

Medium-Level Hikes

If you enjoy a hiking challenge – sans feeling like you’re tackling Mount Everest – these medium-level hikes will get the blood flowing while churning out a few decent panoramas.

Grey Mare’s Tail & Mamore Lodge

Hike Stats:

  • Distance: 3.5km / 2.25 miles
  • Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Ascent: 185m

Although this hike is short, it is a steep one, so be mindful that short isn’t always sweet! 

Those wanting to get a load of the epic Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall can do so with this hillside trek, which then ascends to an old lodge (formerly a hotel), before swinging around and taking you back to Kinlochleven, where the hike begins.

As for the terrain, you’re looking at a steep, rocky, and rough ascent, so appropriate hiking footwear is a must.

The Two Lairigs

Hike Stats:

  • Distance: 15km / 9.25 miles
  • Time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 573m

This impressive hike circulates two key local landmarks: Glen Coe and Glen Etive Mountain, with the majority of the walk trundling along the Buachaille Etive Beag.

Known as one of the most boggy and waterlogged terrains in the area, waterproofs are advisable.

Blackwater Reservoir

Hike Stats:

  • Distance: 17.5km / 11 miles
  • Time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 550m

If Glen Leven is also on your Glencoe bucket list, you can kill two birds with one stone by hiking the Blackwater Reservoir trail.

Typically lasting 6 hours to a day, this walk takes you across the gloomy, formidable Blackwater Reservoir (hence the name).

The terrain can be rather boggy in places, and there are sections of the trail that are pathless and challenging.

Medium-Hard-Level Trails

Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail)

Hike Stats:

  • Distance: 4km / 2.5 miles
  • Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Ascent: 335m

Unlike many other local trails, the Lost Valley trek isn’t too waterlogged. However, what it lacks in bogginess, it makes up for in steep and rocky paths. Make no mistake – this hike is intense in places, and walkers need to take good care.

Those who love their local history will be interested to know that this valley was once owned by one of the prominent clans of the Massacre of Glencoe – the MacDonalds.

Buachaille Etive Beag

Hiking Stats:

  • Distance: 8km / 5 miles
  • Time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 900m

We mentioned this trail earlier, so if it piqued your interest then, we recommend tackling this one for some seriously epic mountain views.

This hike’s terrain is one of the better ones, with a fairly low bog factor and a well-constructed ridge-walking rock path.

Hard-Level Trails

Garbh Bheinn

Hiking Stats:

  • Distance: 6km / 3.75 miles
  • Time: 4.5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 865m

On to experienced hiker territory now, starting with this Loch Leven-based trek, which is notoriously steep – but well worth it for some extremely memorable views.

In the lower elevation areas, the terrain is rather boggy but dries out the higher you get. The ridge heading to the summit is pretty rocky.

Beinn Maol Chaluim, from Glen Etive

Hiking Stats:

  • Distance: 8km / 5 miles
  • Time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 844m

Neighbouring the infamous Bidean Nam Bian Mountain, the Bienn Moal Chaluim is the organic adjacent walk from Glen Etive for those wanting to push their hiking boundaries a little.

The lower terrain is wet and rough, with dry and rocky footing the higher you climb.

Aonach Eagach

Hiking Stats:

  • Distance: 9.5km / 6 miles
  • Time: 8 – 9 hours
  • Ascent: 1100m

Considered the most challenging hike in the area, this walk is not for newbies and is labelled a ⅔ scramble with a ‘moderate’ amount of rock climbing to be expected.

Walkers are advised to choose a dry day to tackle this whopper, as the rocks can be slippery when wet, compromising your safety.

Where to Eat Near Glen Lochan Trail

All that fresh mountain air and boggy trudging can work up an appetite. Stop for a bite to eat at the following nearby eateries:

Places to Stay Near the Glen Lochan Trail

Although wild camping is certainly an option, having a comfy bed at the end of a long day of hiking is priceless!

Some of our favourite local accommodation options include:

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What Camera Gear Do We Use?

If you want the full list of things we keep in our camera bag, check out the complete guide or browse our photography guides.

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