Loch Lomond is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Scotland, which must be saying something! The loch and the surrounding area, known as the Trossachs, were made a national park covering 1865 square kilometres in 2002.
It’s a popular place to visit for locals and tourists due to its accessibility near the central belt of Scotland, its beautiful scenery, and its cultural history.
There are plenty of outdoor activities available, like hiking, cycling, fishing, and boating, just to name a few.
The national park is home to over 20 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet), including Ben Lomond, which is one of the most popular hikes in Scotland.
The area has a rich cultural history and is closely associated with the legendary Scottish folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor, who was born in the area in the late 17th century.
Loch Lomond is the largest lake in Scotland by surface area, although not the deepest, which goes to Loch Morar, or the largest by volume of water, which goes to Loch Ness.
The Trossachs is known for its beautiful and picturesque lochs, including Loch Katrine, Loch Achray, and Loch Venachar, which are popular spots for boating and fishing.
We’ve visited plenty of times and still always find new places to go and things to do.
Here’s our list of the best things to do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting point.
Things to Do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Hikes and walks
Walk up Conic Hill
Hike up the nearby Conic Hill for panoramic views of the area
Conic Hill is one of the most popular walks in Loch Lomond. It’s above Balmaha and provides views over Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas.
It generally takes less than an hour and is considered to be relatively easy, although you’re heading uphill much of the time! The views are worth it, though!
Hike up Ben A’an
Ben A’an is another popular walk in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. The elevation is actually slightly less than Conic Hill, but the climb is shorter and, therefore, steeper, taking around 1.5-2 hours return.
The pointed peak at the top means it looks like a mountain and is sometimes referred to as “a mountain in miniature”.
Climb Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond is considered to be one of the easier Munros to climb. It takes around 4-6 hours and the terrain is fairly easy, with a short scramble nearer the top.
It’s the most popular mountain to climb in the area so we would suggest an early start.
Ben Vorlic and Stuc a Chroin are other munros to do in the area.
Explore Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
This 50,000 acre park is located in the eastern side of Loch Lomond, and was established in the year of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, 1953.
It’s home to the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, more on that below!
Visit Argyll Forest Park
Located on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll and Bute, to the west of Loch Lomond, it was established in 1935 as Britains first forest park. Filled with beautiful walks through forest, over craggy land, and with waterfalls and gorgeous views, it’s well worth visiting if you’re in the Loch Lomond area.
Visit Finnich Glen and the Devils Pulpit
This popular walk is just outside Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It’s not an easy walk, thanks to the small amount of parking and the slippery steps down into the glen.
While picturesque, it’s one that needs to be carefully considered based on the weather (don’t attempt it after heavy rain), and we’d strongly recommend proper walking shoes. More info here!
Walk the Rob Roy Way
The Rob Roy Way starts close to Loch Lomond, and winds its way up to Pitlochry, through countryside that the man himself knew and spent time in. It generally takes 7/8 days to do the whole thing.
Walk the West Highland Way
The West Highland Way generally takes around 6-8 days to walk. It’s one of the most popular long distance hiking routes in Scotland.
It starts just north of Glasgow and goes all the way through the middle of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and is a great way to see the lesser visited northern part of the park.
You can choose to walk the whole thing or spend a couple of days just walking some parts of it. The whole part through the National Park will take 2-3 days.
On the water
Sail on the Maid of the Loch
The Maid of the Loch is a historic paddle steamer and was originally built to serve the many tourists who arrived by train to the area. It is the last of its kind left, as there used to be many more.
You can take a trip on the restored 208 foot long vessel.
Go water skiing on Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond isn’t just for cruising, you can also take part in plenty of water sports there. There’s a water skiing club in Balloch that will take even beginners out for a go!
Try Kayaking, Canoeing and Paddleboarding
There are multiple places to go kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, given it has 22 different lochs and 39 miles of coastline. You can even do coastal paddling on Loch Long and Loch Goil!
If you have your own, there are lots of lochs to try, or you can hire equipment from many places. Check out In Your Element Loch Lomond, Drumchapel & Clydebank Kayak Club, Loch Lomond Leisure, Loch Lomond Adventures, and Loch Goil Kayak and Paddle-Board Hire, just to name a few!
Cruise Loch Katrine and learn about its history
You can take a cruise on the historic SS Sir Walter Scott, a former steamship that now runs on biofuel.
Loch Katrine is the setting for many of Walter Scott’s works, including his poem, Lady of the Lake. It also has links to Rob Roy MacGregor, the Scottish outlaw likened to Robin Hood.
You can also fish in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park with the right permits. The River Leven, flowing from Loch Lomond, is a popular spot, and you can even night fish in June when the days are long.
Cycle around Loch Katrine
You can take your own bikes or hire bikes at Loch Katrine and cycle to Stronachlachar and back, or take the SS Sir Walter Scott back.
Take the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path
The Loch Lomond Cycle path is 17 miles long and runs from Arrochar and Tarbet railway station at the top of Loch Lomond to Balloch railway station, at the bottom of the loch.
It takes in the village of Luss, views of Loch Lomond, and Conic Hill.
Ride the Glen Ogle Trail
The Glen Ogle Trail can be walked or cycled. It is a waymarked trail that climbs up to the old railway line from Lochearnhead and then follows the line high above the glen.
Visit the Falls of Falloch
Located just off the A82 south of Crianlarich, the Falls of Falloch are a beautiful picnic spot, and are popular for wild swimming too.
The carpark is small so you may need to wait for a park, or try to visit earlier or later in the day. Many people only make a quick stop to see the falls then leave so if it’s safe, you can wait for a park.
The walk to the falls is short and scenic.
You can also view the “Woven Sound” which is a metal installation that is said to amplify the sounds of the waterfall and includes an entry from Dorothy Wordsworth’s diary of when she visited the falls in 1803.
See Falls of Dochart
The Falls of Dochart run through the town of Killin close to the outer boundary of the park. We love this place and highly recommend a visit to Killin on its own!
Visit the Bracklinn Falls
The Bracklinn Falls are said to be one of the best waterfalls in Scotland. The walk to see them is just north of Callendar, and is a circular walk that covers the falls, through woodland and over crags.
Go Ape Aberfoyle
Go Ape Aberfoyle is located next to the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. It includes two of the longest zip lines in the UK. We love Go Ape and would highly recommend the experience!
Visitor Centres & Attractions
Lodge Forest Visitor Centre
Located in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre is where you can view wildlife through CCTV cameras, to get a closer look at them in their natural habitat, including buzzards, peregrines, deer, and badgers.
Visit the SEA LIFE Loch Lomond Aquarium
The aquarium at Loch Lomond has various tanks showcasing sea life, as well as a walk through tunnel where you can see sharks and giant turtles. You can spend just a short time there or all day!
Rob Roy & Trossachs Visitor Centre
Find out more about “Rob Roy country” and why he is associated with the area around Callander. Rob Roy is said to be the Scottish folk hero, likened to Robin Hood, but was he really? Visit, learn more, and decide for yourself.
Visit the Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle
The Scottish Wool Centre is a large shop showcasing traditional Scottish products. You can sometimes also see weaving demonstrations or livestock demonstrations.
Explore villages in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs
Luss is a conservation village on the western shore of Loch Lomond, and one of the most popular places to visit in the national park. It initially became quite famous as it was part of the Scottish TV series Take the High Road.
Balmaha is on the eastern side of Loch Lomond and is where you can start the Conic Hill walk from. It’s popular as a day trip destination and is on the West Highland Way.
Callander is a larger town in a picturesque location just outside the national park. It’s a great place to stay to explore the park, and has lots of quirky shops and places to eat. Don’t miss Mhor Bakery!
Balloch is located to the south-west of Loch Lomond and is often called the gateway to Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. It’s home to the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre and Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium, and there are options to get out on the lake or hire bicycles too.
We love this little village! It’s so picturesque, with the Falls of Dochart running through it and with lots of things to explore nearby. Make sure you pick up some smoked salmon from the Falls of Dochart Smokehouse too!
Visit Castles near Loch Lomond
These are not necessarily in the national park itself but are close.
Carrick Castle: An old tower house situated on the banks of Loch Goil, with beautiful views and plenty of history.
Dumbarton Castle: Sits on top of a volcanic rock, much like Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle, and has the longest recorded history of any stronghold Scotland.
Stirling Castle: Located outside the national park, but well worth a visit for views of the surrounding area and to learn more about this area of Scotland.
Inveraray Castle: More of a country house located on Loch Fyne, just outside the national park. It has a unique Gothic Revival architecture.
Doune Castle: Located in the town of Doune, just outside the national park. This castle was made famous as a filming location for Monty Python and Outlander, among others.
See Wallabies on Inchconnachan
It may not be what you expect to do in Scotland, but you can see wallabies on this island in the middle of Loch Lomond!
They were introduced in the 1940s and have thrived there ever since.
Go birdwatching to spot some of the 200 species of birds that call the Loch and surrounding areas home.
Visit the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre
Located in Balloch, the Bird of Prey Centre is a great place to learn more about birds and wildlife in this area. There are daily flying shows and demonstrations. See and learn about a variety of birds of prey, including eagles, hawks, and owls.
Visit Historic Sites
Visit the picturesque ruins of the 15th-century Inchmahome Priory on an island in the Loch. It was first founded in 1238, and both Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots spent time here. In the 1800s it’s popularity was revived by the works of Walter Scott.
Distillery & Brewery Tours
If you’re visiting Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, then you might consider doing a nearby distillery or brewery tour. Here are a few to check out!
Glengoyne Distillery: The distillery is unique in that it produces Highland single malt whisky in a Lowland location, and has done so since 1833.
Loch Lomond Brewery: Started as a small in-home brewery in Luss and now has a large brewery operating in Dumbarton.
Auchentoshan Distillery: The distillery is close to Glasgow, and so sometimes said to produce “Glasgow’s Malt Whisky”. It unusually uses a method of triple distillation for whisky.
See the stars
Loch Lomond is well-known as a top spot for stargazing within the UK. If you’re staying in the area and the sky is clear make sure you get outside!
You can also keep an eye out for official Dark Skies events during International Dark Sky Week
Drive Dukes Pass
Dukes Pass links Aberfoyle and Loch Katrine and is around 7 miles long. It’s especially popular with motorcyclists thanks to its winding curves and beautiful views.
Best Time to Visit Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
The best time to visit Loch Lomond and the Trossachs depends on what you’re looking for.
Here are some things to consider:
Summer (June-August): Summer is the most popular time to visit, with warm weather and long days making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and swimming. However, it can also be quite crowded, and accommodation can be more expensive.
It’s also when midges (little biting insects) are out and about, mainly by still water. Not a reason to avoid visiting but definitely something to be aware of!
Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November): Spring and autumn offer milder weather and fewer crowds, making them great times to visit if you’re looking for a quieter experience. The hills and forests are particularly beautiful during autumn when the leaves change colour.
Winter (December-February): Winter can be a magical time to visit, with snow-capped mountains and frozen lochs creating a stunning winter wonderland.
However, many attractions and accommodation options may be closed or have limited hours, and the weather can be cold and unpredictable. You’ll need to be careful on the roads and be aware of the limited daylight hours.
Overall, the best time to visit depends on your personal preferences and what you want to do while you’re there.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and get a good deal on accommodation, spring and autumn may be the best times to visit, while if you’re looking for warm weather and a bustling atmosphere, summer may be the way to go.
Best Places to Stay for Exploring Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
There’s plenty of accommodation on offer around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, it’s more about where exactly you want to stay.
Getting around is easiest with a car, and you’ll certainly find your options more limited without one. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
With options for cycling and tours for getting out on the loch, it is doable to base yourself somewhere with more facilities if you don’t have a car.
If you have a car, you can be more choosy about your location as your can access other areas of the park more easily.
Here are some areas you might consider staying in:
Balloch is located at the southern end of Loch Lomond and is a popular spot for visitors. It offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering cottages. There is also a train station there.
Callander is a charming village located at the eastern edge of the Trossachs. It’s a bit further to get to Loch Lomond but closer to Loch Lubnaig and Loch Katrine.
Lochearnhead is a small village located at the eastern edge of the Trossachs and is a popular spot for visitors looking to explore the eastern part of the park. It’s actually closer to Loch Tay and Killin, but still within easy driving distance of the rest of the park.
Balmaha is a small village located on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, close to the popular Conic Hill walk.
Aberfoyle is a village located in the heart of the Trossachs and is a popular spot for visitors looking to explore the surrounding hills and forests. It’s close to Loch Ard and the tree-top adventure at Go Ape Aberfoyle.
Luss is another great place to stay in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. It’s a picturesque village located on the western shore of Loch Lomond and is known for its charming cottages, beautiful views, and historic church. It’s pretty much the most popular place to go around Loch Lomond and can get busy in the summer.
Luss offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering cottages, as well as a variety of restaurants and cafes.
It’s a great base for exploring the surrounding area, with easy access to hiking trails, water activities, and other attractions.
Another option to consider just outside the national park is Helensburgh. It’s easy to access by public transportation, and from there, you can hire a bike or have a guide take you to various parts of the park.
And that’s all our top tips for things to do in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs!
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