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To hike or not to hike in Scotland? That is the question. Whether these are the best hikes in Scotland may up for debate, but not the quality of views on offer from each of these incredible mountains.
This is a very personal (and completely aspirational) list of the “best hikes” in the Scottish Highlands. Although I grew up in Dublin and have relatives in Edinburgh, I’ve never been to Scotland, a life-long blunder I hope to rectify soon.
This is my own research list of the best hikes in Scotland.
The process for building this list was simple: any time I noticed an amazing-looking Scottish Highland hike online, I added its location to my Google Maps master list. That’s it.
Over time, I ended up with 46 of the best hikes in Scotland to think about doing some day.
Of course, this list is not comprehensive. I’m sure I’ve missed many classic Scottish day-hikes. But what a selection of amazing hikes to choose from!
These Scottish Highland hikes all look incredible to me. They trend highly scenic, and several are quite rugged to boot.
What are the Scottish Munros?
Just like the Catskill 3500 and Adirondack 46er challenges in New York State, Scotland has its own list of high peaks that “hillwalkers” push themselves to complete: The Munros.
Named after Scottish mountaineer Sir Hugh Munro (who published the list in 1891) the current list of Munros contains 282 peaks above 3,000 feet.
At the start of 2022, roughly 7,100 people had completed the list, including 82-year-old Nick Gardner (a local) and a handful of Americans like Peter Chingos.
The most famous Munro is Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. Many of the peaks listed below are Munros.
For Munros outside of Scotland but still within the British Isles, consult these lists of English, Welsh and Irish furth munros.
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Scottish Mountain Regions
This list of the best hikes in Scotland covers the Northwestern Highlands, the Isle of Skye, Glencoe, and the Grampian Mountains.
Rab-k, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scottish Highland Mountain Terrain
The character of mountains in the UK and Ireland is very different from the mountains of the northeastern USA where I hike, and where trees dominate the landscape.
In the Catskills, most of the summits are completely treed-in and wide-open views are hard to come by. Hiking the Adirondacks often means long hikes to the base of a mountain before climbing through several layers of forest to get above treeline and, finally, into open alpine terrain.
In Scotland, the treeline is typically found around 1,600 feet (500 meters). The mountains of Scotland are generally bare and grassy — which affords incredible wide-open views for the majority of hikes.
Used to hiking the northeastern USA? You’ll find the Scottish highlands relatively easy-going. But there are also exceptionally rugged locations, and several mountains require technical skills to summit. Always research your hike.
The Best Hikes in Scotland
All mountains listed below include exceptional beauty. You will not be disappointed by any of these locations.
Scotland is renowned for multi-day through hikes. There are many incredible trails and routes through glens and valleys, and over mountains. This list focuses on day-hikes.
Bookmark this page now and check back later for the most up-to-date version. Your future self will thank you.
I hope you find this list of the best hikes in Scotland to be very useful in your own research and planning. Happy hillwalking!
Paul Hermans, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
pillar mountain — location for Edie (movie)
731 m (2,398 ft)
849 m (2,785 ft)
the pinnacle of the pool river
612 m (2,008 ft)
Sgurr an Fhidhleir
705 m (2,313 ft)
An Teallach – Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill
1,062.5 m (3,486 ft)
Beinn Dearg (Ullapool)
1,084 m (3,556 ft)
Ruadh Stac Mor
great red stack
919 m (3,015 ft)
Sgùrr Mòr (Fannichs)
1,109 m (3,638 ft)
999 m (3,278 ft)
1,010 m (3,310 ft)
Spidean Coire nan Clach
972 m (3189 ft)
Beinn Liath Mhòr
big grey hill
926 m (3,038 ft)
Mick Knapton at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
the red peak
962 m (3,156 ft)
933 m (3,061 ft)
Forcan Ridge / The Saddle
a classic Scottish mountain expedition
widely regarded as one of the finest mountains in Scotland
1,011.4 m (3,318 ft)
Sgùrr na Sgine
peak of the knife
946 m (3,104 ft)
Aonach air Chrith
highest peak on a long ridge of seven Munros
1,020 m (3,350 ft)
Sgùrr na Cìche
rocky peak of the breast
wettest location in the United Kingdom
1,040 m (3,410 ft)
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The Hebrides: Isle of Skye
“Skye’s Black Cuillin, composed of basalt and rough gabbro, is generally regarded as the most serious mountain terrain in Britain with bare rock, jagged in outline and steep cliffs and deep cut corries. Ropes are required for some summits and the area is host to the only Munro necessitating climbing apparatus, the In Pinn” [Source WikiPedia]
“One of the finest ridge traverses in Britain. Spectacular views throughout.”
719 m (2,359 ft)
Sgùrr nan Gillean
peak of the young men
966.1 m (3,170 ft)
Bruach na Frìthe
slope of the deer forest
958 m (3,143 ft)
Sgùrr Dearg & The Inaccessible Pinnacle
red rocky peak & the “in pinn”
985.8 m (3,234 ft)
992 m (3,255 ft)
Sgurr na Stri
the peak of strife
494 m (1,621 ft)
Technically, the mountains around Glen Coe are part of the Grampian Mountains — see below — but this wonderfully scenic area deserves special mention because it’s regarded as the home of Scottish mountaineering.
Glen Coe is massively popular with both hillwalkers and climbers. It’s one of the most beautiful and scenic places in Scotland. A drive through the glen on the main A82 road is “one of the classic Highland journeys” [NatureScot].
The Aonach Eagach
large mountain ridge made up of Sgùrr nam Fiannaidh and Meall Dearg
includes horizontal scrambling and steep grassy slopes
Beinn a’ Bheithir: wfmillar / Loch Leven
Beinn a’Bheithir (Sgorr Dhearg & Sgorr Dhonuill)
horseshoe-shaped mountain with two Munro summits
1,024 m (3,360 ft)
Bidean Nam Bian
peak of the mountains
1,150 m (3,770 ft)
Stob Coire Sgreamhach
peak of the dreadful corrie
1,072 m (3,517 ft)
Buachaille Etive Beag
little herdsman of Etive
958 m (3,143 ft)
Buachaille Etive Mòr
great herdsman of Etive
1,021.4 m (3,351 ft)
Stob a’Choire Odhair
peak of the dun-coloured corrie
945 m (3,100 ft)
usually climbed with Stob a’Choire Odhair (above)
1,090 m (3,580 ft)
The Grampians occupy roughly half the land of Scotland and includes the Cairngorms, the two highest mountains in the UK — Ben Nevis and Ben Macdui — as well as some of the highest plateaux in the world.
1,118 m (3,668 ft)
841 m (2,759 ft)
Creag Meagaidh Range
a complex mountain: flat summit plateau with five ridges spreading out
1,130 m (3,710 ft)
4,006 ft (1,221 m)
1,234 m (4,049 ft)
cloudy mountain (perhaps)
highest peak in the British Isles
1,345 m (4,413 ft)
Ring of Steall
excellent hillwalking route over four Munros (includes the devil’s ridge)
Sgurr a’ Mhaim / Am Bodach / Stob Coire a’ Chairn / An Gearanach
mountain of the loud stream
highest mountain in the Breadalbane region
exceptional selection of arctic-alpine plant species and habitats
highest peak of the ‘Ben Lawers group’, a ridge that includes six other Munros
1,214 m (3,983 ft)
Ben Vorlich, Loch Lomond
943 m (3,094 ft)
middle mountain915 m (3,002 ft)
I, Grinner, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Beinn an Lochain
not a true Munro but it’s on the list and is a beautiful mountain
901 m (2,956 ft)
hill of notches
926 m (3,038 ft)
very rugged and climby
one of the best-known mountains in Scotland
884 m (2,900 ft)
This list is not comprehensive. This list is not based on my personal knowledge of Scottish mountains. This is my own research/wish list. Treat all information in this post as preliminary fact-finding — that’s what it is for me.
Before hiking any mountain anywhere, always research locations, trailheads and routes, as well as any necessary gear and skills necessary to hike safely.
When I do finally go “hillwalking” Scotland, this list is my jumping off point for much deeper research.
Several Scottish mountains have very similar names. A few have identical names. I’ve been as careful as I can to provide accurate links above.
Familiar with hillwalking in Scotland and feel I’ve missed an amazing location? LMK in the comments below and I’ll update this page! Thank you!
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