Scotland, the United Kingdom
max 1,174 meters
Situated around 100 miles north of the Scottish border, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park delivers glimpses of the authentic Scotland — a place where nature still reigns supreme.
Home to breathtaking mountains, sweeping glens and tranquil lochs, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs offers visitors some of the most dramatic views in the British Isles. Here, you can hike through valleys, explore dense woodland or conquer one of the many ‘Munros’ — and you can experience a sense of head-clearing isolation seldom found anywhere else in the UK today.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
Scotland’s first national park, and the UK’s fourth biggest, is a place of stunning contrasts. On thousands of miles of hiking trails, waterways and mountain biking routes, you can explore the ‘real Scotland’. Known as the ‘Highlands in Miniature’, the Trossachs is an area where twinkling lakes, deep forests, rugged valleys and sharp hills stretch as far as the eye can see. Perfect for exploring on foot or mountain bike, the region guarantees a different view from every hilltop — and a greater appreciation of the folk who’ve called this place home for millenia.
If your idea of the perfect day out is gliding along the water’s surface in a canoe or kayak, a visit to the imposing Loch Lomond is not to be missed. The largest lake in Great Britain, it comprises 70 square kilometers of serene Scottish landscape carved into the surrounding hills, mountains and glens. Best discovered on foot, numerous hiking trails to and around the lake bring you to the most beautiful parts of the national park. And — if you fancy a full immersive experience — wild swimming, angling and fly fishing can be enjoyed at numerous points along the lake’s shore.
For climbers, the National Park offers everything from picturesque bouldering circuits at Loch Katrine and East Loch Lomond, bolted single-pitch sport routes at Ardvorlich and Glen Ogle, to traditional easy classics and mountain test pieces on the schisty, towering bastions of the Cobbler.
Owing largely to its convenient location in the south of Scotland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is very easy to get to. If you’re coming by train, there are two links with direct access to the park from Glasgow and Fort William. This makes arrival from the southern cities also very convenient, whether your journey starts in London, Birmingham or Manchester.
If you are traveling by bus, the bus from Glasgow to Fort William/The Isle of Skye will drop you off directly in the national park, with stops at Balloch, Duck Bay Beach, Luss, Inverbeg, Tarbet, Inveruglas, Ardlui, Inverarnan, Crianlarich and Tyndrum. By car the journey will take you around 1 hour from Glasgow or 90 minutes from Edinburgh.
Wildlife and plants
Due to its eclectic make up as a national park comprising mountains, huge lakes, rivers, deep forests and moorland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is teeming with wildlife. Depending on which of the four distinctive areas you visit — be that Loch Lomond, Cowal, The Trossachs or Breadalbane — you may encounter otters, eagles, swans, red squirrels or wild cats. From the shores of numerous lochs, you may spot ospreys, various types of geese, king fishers and owls, while red deer are commonly seen along the foothills surrounding Ben Lomond and Ben Vorlich. If you visit during the rutting season (autumn), their roaring echoes fill the glen.
Various types of spruce tree comprise the mighty forests that fill the park, although oak, birch, hazel and ash are also incredibly common. In spring, the woodlands burst into colour with wild garlic, bluebells and primrose sprouting suddenly. In the southern wetlands, the seldom-seen loosestrife and cowbane commonly grows, as well as the rare Scottish dock. During the wet autumn months, waxcaps, fly agaric, wood blewit, stinkhorn and a variety of bracket fungi litter the forest floors.
Where to stay
If you want to truly experience the wild of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs — whilst keeping your visit flexible and affordable — consider wild camping in the park. Uniquely for countries the UK, Scotland permits wild camping in its national parks, and Loch Lomond is no exception. Just be sure not to camp in the designated management zones between March and September. Click here for more information.
The park is also home to a variety of more permanent accommodation options that suit all budgets. Ranging from luxury hotels, lodges and campsites, you’ll find plenty of options both in and around the park.
Activities in the park
kayaking / rafting
When should I visit the park?
Weather is always a gamble in Scotland, but the park is open year-round. In winter, these hills and mountains can transform into icy, snow covered giants where experience and mountaineering skills are required.
Do I need to stick to trails?
Due to special protections in the park, you are not permitted to leave any of the trails. Neither are you allowed to pick flowers or fish without a permit.
Can I bring my dog?
Is the park wheelchair accessible?
Numerous trails within the park are wheelchair accessible, including the lochside path. The visitor center can provide you with all the information you need.
Where do I park?
There are car parks located at the entry points to the park. Parking costs around €3 per day.
National parks in the United Kingdom
Great Britain is not only a nation with a rich mix of cultures, but also of national parks. The islands count 15 national parks, but only two of them are in Scotland: Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. The other 13 parks in the UK are Brecon Beacons, Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales.