Walk: Glenmore Forest Park, Highland

A beautiful six-mile walk through the Cairngorms National Park, perfect for wildlife spotting and amazing Highland views

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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.

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Wildlife haven

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, which is situated in the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland
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.

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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
Pine Martens can be seen in the forest along the walk ©Getty
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Snow-capped view

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.

Map

Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route.

Glenmore Forest Park map

More information

Terrain

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.

Map 

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map  403.

Grid ref: NH 976 098

More info

Cairngorms National Park Authority

www.cairngorms.co.uk

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Main image ©Getty