Ryvoan Pass is a great introduction to the Cairngorms National Park. Peppered with Scots pine trees, gently wooded slopes give way to a wilder landscape of rocky hills and untamed moor. Many of the park’s more elusive creatures can be found here.
Leave the Glenmore Visitor Centre car park by its main entrance and bear left, passing the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre to reach a road junction. Go left and follow a path parallel to the road, passing Glenmore Lodge.
Loch Morlich lies beside the starting point of this magnificent walk through the Cairngorm National Park ©Getty
Where the road ends, a forest track continues. Look out for flip-up information posts; these highlight various points of interest along the route and are a really useful guide to the location of flora and fauna. Crossbill, goldcrest and crested tit are among the winter birds you can see, while common forest dwellers include red deer and red squirrel. Rarer residents include the pine marten and wildcat.
Scots pine trees have dominated the landscape here for centuries – the track passes one that is over 300 years old.
Refuge in the hills
Ryvoan Bothy marks the furthest point of the walk. Maintained as a refuge for walkers, the door is always open to passers-by. From here, retrace your steps back to An Lochan Uaine. Take the path that leaves the track on the right opposite the steps to the loch. Or, for an easier walk, you can retrace the track back down to the visitor’s centre.
Pine Martens can be seen in the forest along the walk ©Getty
Initially flat, the path soon climbs rough stone steps. The way is narrow and the ascent strenuous, but it is a great way to explore the forest, and the many breaks in the trees offer unrivalled views of the snow-capped Cairngorm Plateau, before leading back to the visitor’s centre.
Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route.
Well-surfaced paths from Glenmore to Ryvoan. The return leg includes an optional woodland path, suitable for adults and older children, with a short but strenuous ascent over stone steps that may be slippery after rain, snow or frost.
How to get there
By car: from Perth follow the A9 north to Aviemore. A minor road leads from the southern edge of the town to Glenmore, six miles away.
By public transport: Aviemore Station, on the Perth to Inverness line, is served by First ScotRail and GNER. Scottish Citylink operates bus services to Aviemore from Edinburgh and Glasgow, via Perth. A bus runs regularly from Aviemore Station to Glenmore.
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 403.
Grid ref: NH 976 098
Cairngorms National Park Authority
Main image ©Getty