Scotland is heaven for experienced hikers looking for the best walking routes with the most outstanding scenery. It is a great country to explore on foot and boasts of some of the most scenic walking trails across the world. This is your chance to discover the rugged wilderness along the most incredible hiking trails and unpredictable paths decorated with the most outstanding scenery.
Although there are an endless number of walking holidays to try in Scotland, a few of them surely stand out from the rest. The distinctively waymarked trails are fantastic and look inviting for both solo hikers or for groups and families. Walking in Scotland means to enjoy the best assets of the country that lie in its great outdoors and charming islands.
Here are some of the most popular hiking trails to enjoy in Scotland.
The Arran Coastal Way – 105 kilometre
The circular route makes for a challenging and rewarding experience. The route takes you around the beautiful Isle of Arran and makes for a perfect long walking holiday over the weekend. It is well famous as one of ‘Scotland’s Great Trails’ that takes you around the coastline of Arran. You will come across the most beautiful Scottish Islands, remote beaches and the charming coastal villages. What adds to the enjoyment is the diverse landscapes and geology along the hiking trail as well as the plenty of wildlife.
The Affric Kintail Way – 70 kilometre
Those who prefer long-distance trials must opt for the Affric Kintail Way that is just perfect for experienced hikers. With an overall gradient of accent that takes you well over 6,000 feet, this is your chance to enjoy and explore the sheer beauty of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. The moody glens and stunning pinewood forests are sure to mesmerise you as you walk on the well-signposted trail. Some parts of the trail are certainly not for the faint-hearted as you are taken to the most remote trails and what adds to the thrill is the unpredictable weather.
Great Glen Way – 125 kilometre
The Great Glen Way runs along the Caledonian Canal from Fort William to Inverness and is designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The hike progresses from southwest to northeast and makes for a gentler introduction to the highlands. You can trace the course of the Caledonian Canal and go through the dramatic Scottish Highlands and enjoy spectacular sites along the way. Explore historic castles and forts as well as wander the shoreline of famous Loch Ness as you hike along tree-lined towpaths over open moorland and between towns and villages.
The Cateran Trail – 103 kilometre
The Cateran Trail is a circular walking route that can be joined at any stage as it has no official beginning. The well-marked route is covered by farmland, mountains, and forests. Designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trails, the Cateran Trail makes for a delightfully scenic walk and is drenched in history. The scenic Strathardle and Glenshee are the highest points of the trail that is fully waymarked. You will come across ancient tracks and old drove roads as you cross a varied terrain of farmland, forest, and moors. This is a route that is suitable for both experienced and less experienced walkers. There are dozens of special caches for those interested in geocaching.
Rob Roy Way – 127 kilometre
Rob Roy Way is named after a Scottish folk hero who was an outlaw of the early 18th century. It is designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trails that take you on historical paths, glorious scenery and is rich in wildlife. The walk is delightful as you come across stunning hill country scenery on the way and follows old tracks beside rivers. You climb a few passes on the way and can enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. The walk takes you across a varied countryside throughout its length and should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Don’t forget to wear comfy all-terrain shoes to enjoy the diverse trails.
Borders Abbey Way – 109 kilometre
Another popular long-distance footpath of Scotland is the Borders Abbeys Way. The theme of the circular walkway footpath is the ruined Borders abbeys that were homes to monks who lived here during the 12th and 16th centuries. As you go along the route, you come across a perfect mix of fascinating outdoors and great history. The highlight of the route includes the four ancient abbeys with centuries worth of history. There are five stages in the walk, and each takes you to an attractive town that is both historic and picturesque. The walk moves across a peaceful pastoral countryside and maintains lower levels. However, there are rougher grounds in some sections that climb higher, but one is rewarded with amazing views.
Speyside Way – 107 kilometres
Speyside Way follows the River Spey along the long-distance path that begins in Aviemore and ends at Buckpool harbour. Throughout the route, you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Banffshire, Inverness-shire, and Morayshire. The clearly waymarked trail follows the valley of the River and offers spectacular scenery of the region. The scenic walk takes you along malt whisky country and through pine woods. As you pass some of the distilleries, you must try out their local malt whiskies. The low-level paths are dotted with welcoming villages, historic sites, and a variety of wildlife.
St Cuthbert’s Way – 100 kilometre
St Cuthbert’s Way runs through the quiet countryside of Scotland and begins in the market town of Melrose. Although the route was designed for hikers some sections of the trail are suitable for cyclists and horse riders. St Cuthbert’s Way ends at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, and on the way, you come across beautiful countryside and significant historic sites. Get ready for diverse scenery and spectacular views along this truly memorable route. Before you enter the stretches of the massive River Tweed, you climb over the Eildon Hills and later pass along the beautiful hill ridge. The final stretch takes you across the dramatic countryside of the Northumberland countryside.
West Highland Way – 154 km
West Highland Way is designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trails and carries an element of hill walking. The trail is a long-distance walking route and boasts of many sections that are suitable for mountain biking and horse-riding. On the way, you get to see some incredible wildlife such as feral goats, golden eagles, and red deer. You enter the heart of the West Highlands after passing the shores of Loch Lomond and finish at Ben Nevis. As you walk on the route, you realize that you are walking through Scotland’s history as you come across soldiers, clansmen, drovers, pilgrims, and cattle-rushers.