Drymen to Rowardennan
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View from Conic HillPhoto: Fraser MacRae, Macs Adventure
Walk through pine forest, and enjoy the views from the summit of Conic Hill before following the West Highland Way along the shores of Loch Lomond to reach Rowardennan.
Please note that up until March 31st, 2023 there will be Conic Hill Path improvement works. Therefore if you are walking this route at the end of March you will need to take the diversion which is in place from Garadhban Car Park along the low level route down Creityhall Road to Milton of Buchanan and along the B837. You will not be able to go up and over Conic Hill.
Leave Drymen and walk through a forest plantation before the ascent of Conic Hill, which sits astride the Great Divide separating the highlands and lowlands of Scotland. The climb is fairly steep but on reaching the summit you can enjoy fantastic views over Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest body of fresh water covering 27 square miles. You will descend a steep path towards Balmaha, a small village nestling in a protected bay on the shores of bonnie Loch Lomond.
From Balmaha the path alternates between the loch shore, natural forest, and headlands. There are numerous short steep climbs along this section of the route. The scenery, forest, and birdlife between Balmaha and Rowardennan are outstanding.
Track typesShow elevation profile
Rest stopsThe Oak Tree Inn
St Mocha Coffee Shop & Ice Cream Parlour
The Clansman Bar
Take your time coming down Conic hill as it is quite steep and can be busy with walkers coming in the opposite direction. Coming down hills can often be harder on your knees than going up them, if you sometimes use walking poles it would be wise to bring them today.
At a few points the path joins or crosses the road which can be busy. Please be careful if stepping out or taking photos when close to the road.
If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the West Highland Way map from Footprints. Alternatively, you may wish to print the daily maps directly from our app.
If you wish to bring a guidebook, we would recommend Trailblazer's West Highland Way: Milngavie to Fort William by Charlie Loram.
Macs Adventure Blogs
Using our decades of experience we have written several blogs containing helpful tips, daily wildlife information, lunch stops, where to eat, FAQ and more. Please follow the link below to read our West Highland Way insights:
Tips and hints
Please see the interactive map for notable points of interest. Click the icons on the map for more information.
Balmaha is a bustling little village and makes an excellent place to stop on your way to Rowardennan or as an overnight halt. In the village shop you can usually pick up forgotten items, just be aware they will be a little more expensive than in Milngavie. There is also an ATM in the shop if you require cash, please note the ATM charges per use.
*** To help you follow the route with confidence we have provided these route notes to help you. The West Highland Way is well waymarked, but we strongly suggest that you follow the GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone app to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem-free day. The daily maps can also be printed from the web version of the app should you wish to take paper copies with you. ***
To rejoin the West Highland Way from Drymen leave Drymen by Stirling Road, which soon becomes Old Military Road (B858). On your left-hand side look out for the thistle way-markers that will lead you north away from the road (at 0.60 km) on a track through the forest. Follow the way-markers through the Garadbhan woodland and begin the short ascent of Conic Hill (361 m), despite its small size on a clear day you’ll have excellent views over Loch Lomond. Pause at the summit for a break and take in views of the Highland Boundary Fault (600 million years old) that divides Scotland’s lowlands from its highlands. Descend from Conic Hill to the village of Balmaha, home to the visitor centre for the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the Oak Tree Inn – a favourite of ours, and a good place to stop for lunch or refreshments.
Before leaving Balmaha you’ll pass a statue of the well-loved Tom Weir – a hardy walker who hosted the TV programme “Weir’s Way” to popularise hiking in the highlands, in which he almost always wore the same red knitted beanie hat. From Balmaha follow the well way-marked trail as it flits between hugging the shore of Loch Lomond and following the country road towards Rowardennan. Enjoy the peaceful paths through woodlands which have been restored to allow native species to thrive.
At 23.40 km arrive at Rowardennan Hotel – a casual country inn located between the road on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond and the loch shore itself.
Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks OK. If you sometimes use walking poles it would be wise to bring them today for the descent of Conic Hill.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it would be beneficial to bring a power bank.
- 10 Waypoints
- 10 Waypoints
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