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Hiking trail

Drymen to Rowardennan Digital Delivery

Hiking trail
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • View from Conic Hill
    / View from Conic Hill
    Photo: Fraser MacRae, Macs Adventure
Map / Drymen to Rowardennan Digital Delivery
0 150 300 450 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 Summit of Conic Hill St Mocha Coffee Shop & Ice Cream Parlour The Oak Tree Inn Tom Weir Statue Loch Lomond The Clansman Bar

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. 

moderate
23.4 km
7:00 h
460 m
489 m

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.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Macs Adventure
Updated: August 08, 2019

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
325 m
Lowest point
12 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

The Oak Tree Inn
St Mocha Coffee Shop & Ice Cream Parlour
The Clansman Bar

Safety information

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. 

Maps

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.

Guidebook

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:

https://www.macsadventure.com/walking-holidays/category/walking/west-highland-way/       

Equipment

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.

 

Tips, hints and links

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.

Start

Outskirts of Drymen (10-minute trip from Drymen town centre) (64 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
56.068215, -4.439903
UTM
30V 410358 6214606

Destination

Rowardennan Hotel

Turn-by-turn directions

*** 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.  

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Photos of others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
23.4 km
Duration
7:00 h
Ascent
460 m
Descent
489 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Faunistic highlights Healthy climate

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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