Trek: West Highland Way

West Highland Way

Popular walk through the scenic Scottish highlands

Pretty Pictures

Here’s a taste of what you’ll see / experience along the West Highland Way:

  • Near Bridge of Orchy
    Near Bridge of Orchy, Jun 2014
    Photo by jvanattenhoven

Description

The West Highland Way is a very popular 154 km / 96 mi long distance footpath that takes you into the hills of Scotland. Opened in 1980, it is officially recognized as one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The footpath starts from Milngavie, a suburb of Glasgow, and meanders its way north to the top of Conic Hill. From there it follows the eastern shore of Loch Lomond north through Trossach’s Park to the hills in Glencoe and then up and over the Devil’s Staircase to eventually finish in Fort William, the Highland hub of outdoor activities, close to the foot of Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in the British Isles).

This scenic trail connects small but appealing communities on a fantastic journey that includes changing terrain, magnificent vistas, historic castles, ancient settlements, Rob Roy’s Cave, gorgeous lochs, and countless Munros. It’s supported by a good infrastructure of services tailored to those on the footpath. It starts in the urbanized lowlands outside of Glasgow and ends in an area of the highlands renown for outdoor activities. There are numerous side trails that can also be explored to take in even more great sights.
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Suitability

The West Highland Way is a footpath only. Cycling, use of motorized vehicles, or equestrian riding is not permitted on the trail. The trail can generally be completed by any reasonably fit person – no experience needed. Although there are some moderately sized hills along the way that may challenge your legs, they can be avoided if you prefer by alternate routes or by skipping sections. Walkers of all ages do the West Highland Way each year.
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Characteristics

What are the notable characteristics of the West Highland Way? Here’s what jumps out to us:

  • The route consists of a mix of hills / woodland trails, rural roads, and both paved and unpaved walkways.
  • There is the occasional leg-testing climb but in general the hills are not intimidating – just frequent.
  • The terrain / paths typically range from good to excellent, with uniformly good footing.
  • There are some spots that require traversing the occasional ladder, stile, or bridge.
  • Signposting is typically excellent. GPS tracks are handy, but not required.
  • Accommodations are normally in B&B’s or other short term rentals that typically include meals.
  • There are hotels, motels, campsites, and food & drink options in most communities.
  • Baggage transport services can be used if desired and most service companies will even book your accommodations for your entire trek.

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Overview Map

To avoid cluttering the display, this map just shows the route, including some side and access trails, and the communities along the way. Our TrekRight mobile app also includes alternate sections, access trails, side trips, etc. and, of course, comprehensive details on walking directions, communities, attractions, accommodations, services / F & B, and points of interest along the entire route – all shown on detailed offline maps).
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Feedback Wanted: If you have any suggestions on how we can make our West Highland Way content more helpful to you and other hikers, please let us know. Likewise, your feedback on anything in Trekopedia would be very much appreciated. Send us your tips, personal experiences, funny and/or interesting stories, trip photos, links to your trip journals, and so on. Likewise, please pass along any interesting trail-related news you hear about – we’ll help spread the word within the Trekopedia community.