Plan a route here Copy route
Hiking trail recommended route

River Ness and Caledonian Canal Loop Walk

· 2 reviews · Hiking trail
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Ltd Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Inverness city centre (from Ness Bridge)
    / Inverness city centre (from Ness Bridge)
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure Ltd
  • / Suspension bridge to the Ness islands
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure Ltd
  • / Ness islands woodland path
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure Ltd
  • / Caledonian Canal
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure Ltd
  • / Caledonian Canal
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure Ltd
m 100 50 10 8 6 4 2 km Merkinch Local Nature Reserve Inverness Castle Inverness Botanic Gardens Carnac Point
This walk is an interesting route along the River Ness, crossing a number of small islets, and making its way to the Caledonian Canal and out to some scenic points on the coast. 
moderate
Distance 10.7 km
3:30 h
27 m
25 m
Walk along pleasant wooded river banks, past boatyards and canal locks, before returning to the starting point via the city outskirts. The walk takes a circular route within Inverness that follows, and crosses over, the River Ness and the Caledonian canal.  It is not signposted so it's best to follow the GPS track closely. 

Author’s recommendation

The walk shouldn't take up your whole day in Inverness so you'll have plenty of time to explore the city. You will pass the castle very near the start of your walk so feel free to take a detour to go up the hill and see it.  
Profile picture of Catherine Allan
Author
Catherine Allan 
Update: May 28, 2021
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
21 m
Lowest point
-1 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Most of the walk is on pavement/sidewalk, tracks and paths through trees and beside the canal.  However, there are some small sections of the route on minor roads, so do beware of traffic on these sections and stand into the side on the narrow single-track roads to let vehicles pass.  

Tips and hints

  

Food and Drink

Inverness has many cafes, bars and restaurants and is well served with a variety of shops, banks, etc.  Whilst the walk is within Inverness, there is really only one café that is passed during the walk, after about 45 minutes of walking near the Botanic Gardens. There are many cafes, bars, and restaurants in Inverness near the start and end ofthe walk.

 

Some Helpful Links ...

Visit Inverness: http://www.visitinvernesslochness.com/travel/ 

Explore Inverness: http://www.explore-inverness.com/ 

 

 

Start

Ness Bridge, Inverness (10 m)
Coordinates:
OS Grid
NH 66569 45161
DD
57.477012, -4.226829
DMS
57°28'37.2"N 4°13'36.6"W
UTM
30V 426431 6371150
w3w 
///putty.spicy.chat

Destination

Ness Bridge, Inverness

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – At the junction of Castle Road and Ness Bridge (South Bank) Inverness Centre. Facing the river and Ness Bridge TURN LEFT heading along the river, on the south side. The river will be on your right-hand side as you walk and the Castle up on your left.

After about 10 minutes of walking along the river, you will pass a suspension walking bridge that crosses the river. Continue STRAIGHT ON walking along the riverside following the ‘ladies walk’ path.

1.00 km - Following the sign for ‘Great Glen Way’ TURN RIGHT, the path then turns left following the riverside.

1.30 km - You will come across a suspension bridge TURN RIGHT onto this and cross this section of the river onto a small islet and follow the path at the other side of the bridge that immediately heads left. Follow the path over the bridges that connect the small islets following the ‘Great Glen Walkway’ signs.

1.79 km - The final bridge you come across takes you to the north side of the river ness. This is clearly signposted ‘Great Glen Walk.’ At the other side of the bridge TURN LEFT.

2.24 km - The river will be on the left. There is a toilet block and here TURN RIGHT towards the sports facilities along the road. There is a coffee shop at the sports facilities.

3.35 km - After walking past the sports facilities you will come across the Great Glen Canal. Cross the road bridge and immediately TURN RIGHT along the canal path on the north side.

After about 15 minutes walking STRAIGHT ON along the canal path you will pass through a working boatyard. Continue to follow the canal, crossing a road at one point and past the working locks.

6.60 km - At the level crossing continue STRAIGHT ON. Please take care when crossing the railway line.  

6.95 km - At the end of the canal path, after enjoying the superb views of the surrounding coastline, TURN RIGHT across the bridge formed by the canal lock to cross the canal, then head back towards Inverness, going through another level crossing and continue along the other side of the canal.

7.55 km - TURN LEFT off the canal path down the steps onto the narrower path that traverses across the Merkinch Nature Reserve and continue along this path towards the final level crossing that lies ahead.

8.40 km - When the path ends after the level crossing TURN RIGHT onto the main road.

9.16 km - OPTIONAL: You will pass a sign for Carnac Point. It is a 700m walk out to the point and back that affords a great view of The Kessock Bridge that crosses the Beauly Firth.

9.80 km - After following the road with the river on the left. The road moves away from the sight of the river and then forks. At the fork BEAR LEFT onto Anderson Street.

11.3 km - Continue STRAIGHT ON and follow the north bank of the river to the start of the walk at the junction of Castle Road and Ness Bridge.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

OS Grid
NH 66569 45161
DD
57.477012, -4.226829
DMS
57°28'37.2"N 4°13'36.6"W
UTM
30V 426431 6371150
w3w 
///putty.spicy.chat
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

Being mostly on paved paths, well established paths and minor roads we recommend you wear light hiking shoes or trainers if you prefer.  The weather in Scotland can be very variable all year so make sure you have waterproofs, warm layers and a hat, buff/scarf, and gloves with you.  As ever it's always good to take some snacks and plenty of water to have along the way.   

Questions and answers

Ask the first question

Would you like to the ask the author a question?


Rating

3.5
(2)
Jimmy Goh
June 29, 2019 · Community
Definitely worth the time! Soothing and relaxing walk. 4 ⭐️ rating.
Show more
Picture of : River Ness and Caledonian Canal Loop Walk • (29.06.2019 18:54:07 #1)
Photo: Jimmy Goh, Community
Picture of : River Ness and Caledonian Canal Loop Walk • (29.06.2019 18:54:07 #2)
Photo: Jimmy Goh, Community
Sandra MacLennan
June 29, 2019 · Community
Started from downtown Inverness, nice walk through the island on River Ness. Crossed lock/canal and picked up the Jacobite boat tour of Loch Ness, nice boat tour going down the canal, Loch Ness and viewing the Urquhart castle ruins. After the boat tour we continued on the hike down the canal and across the waterfront, this was a beautiful part of the hike! Great view of the flood plane, beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path. Very good cafe along the canal system called “Jamey’s Cafe”, stopped for tea and the best scones ever! A very good day!
Show more
View of ocean
Photo: Sandra MacLennan, Community

Photos from others

Picture of : River Ness and Caledonian Canal Loop Walk •  (29.06.2019 18:54:07 #1)
Picture of : River Ness and Caledonian Canal Loop Walk •  (29.06.2019 18:54:07 #2)
View of ocean

Reviews
Difficulty
moderate
Distance
10.7 km
Duration
3:30 h
Ascent
27 m
Descent
25 m
Circular route Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest

Statistics

  • Contents
  • Show images Hide images
Features
2D 3D
Maps and trails
Duration : h
Distance  km
Ascent  m
Descent  m
Highest point  m
Lowest point  m
Push the arrows to change the view