Best walks in the Cairngorms

The Cairngorms National Park teems with towering trees, shimmering lochs and busy wildlife. Take a hike through this vast, untamed area of Scotland with our list of the area's best walks

Loch Morlich

The Cairngorms is our largest national park – almost twice the size of the Lake District – and is home to five of the six highest mountains in Britain. 

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Zip up your coat, strap on your walking boots and get ready to explore the  still lochs, rushing rivers and rugged landscape of the Cairngorms National Park.
1

Falls of Bruar, Perth and Kinross

Falls of Bruar
The Falls of Bruar lie just north of Blair Athol ©Getty Images

Step carefully beneath golden larches, towering Scots pines and over magnificent mountain ash roots in pursuit of a roaring Cairngorms cascade. Map and route.

2

Loch Garten, Highland

Loch Garten
Loch Garten is hidden within Abernathy Forest ©Getty

Loch Garten’s ancient trees, tottering wood-ant nests, soaring ospreys and grazing deer make it one of Scotland’s most beautiful nature reserves. Map and route.

3

Pattack Falls and Druim an Aird, Highland

The rushing gorge waterfalls of Pattack Falls
The rushing gorge waterfalls of Pattack Falls ©Getty

Take a relaxing amble through varied landscapes, passing the Pattack gorge waterfalls before exploring the ruins of the deserted village of Druim an Aird. Map and route.

4

Loch Morlich, Highland

Loch Morlich
Loch Morlich in the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland ©Getty

There are few lochs in Scotland that have a more picture-perfect surrounding than Loch Morlich. The foreground comprises forests fringed by beaches and backdropped by snow-clad peaks. Circling the loch is a very popular walk among tourists and locals alike.  Map and route

5

Loch an Eilein, Highland

Loch an Eilein

Loch an Eilein lies still, reflecting the magnificent pines of Rothiemurchus Forest in the heart of the Cairngorms. Castle ruins inhabit a small island, making for a truly unique walk.  Map and route.

6

Ryvoan pass, Aberdeenshire

Ryvoan pass
Untamed, autumnal moorland of the Ryvoan pass ©Getty

Ancient Caledonian pines form a beautiful walkway leading to the green lochan – An Lochan Uaine. A gentle climb leads up the Ryvoan pass, with breathtaking views of Loch Morlich. Map and route.

7

Carrbridge and Docharn circuit, Highland

Carrbridge
Autumn sweeps through Carrbridge with hues of red, orange and brown ©Getty

Follow a trail of pleasant pinewoods around Carrbridge, stopping to savour this magnificent rushing river and the stone that bridges over it.  Walk and route.

8

River Dee, Braemar, Aberdeenshire

Bridge over the River Dee
The old bridge over the River Dee at Invercauld near Braemar ©Getty

A circular walk starting from Braemar takes in the confluence of the two main rivers, the Dee and the Clunie. It then climbs gently through birch woods to return to the centre of the village.  Walk and route.

9

Loch Muick, Aberdeenshire

Loch Muick, Scotland
Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK. Cairngorm Mountains ©Getty
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An unusually level walk in the Cairngorms, around Loch Muick on the Balmoral Estate. The walk provides stunning views of the Scottish scenery. You can also see Glas-allt Shiel house, built by Queen Victoria.  Map and route.