Balmaha to Inverarnan
Macs Adventure Partenaire certifié Explorers Choice
Loch LomondCrédit : Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
From Balmaha the path alternates between the Loch Lomond 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.
Leaving Rowardennan, the West Highland Way follows forestry roads and gently climbs high up above Loch Lomond, giving fantastic views over the water and towards the peaks of the Arrochar Alps. As you close in on Inversnaid the path narrows and becomes more undulating, passing over a spectacular bridge and waterfall as you arrive at Inversnaid Hotel.
The path from Inversnaid to the head of the loch is undulating with a generally rough surface. After passing Doune Bothy the path improves but it may seem a long two miles from Ardleish to Inverarnan. If you are staying across the water at Ardlui, look out for the sign pointing to the little ferry (2 miles before the end of this section). Walk down to the loch shore and call the ferry by raising the ball (you'll be returned to this same spot the following day). Otherwise, Beinglas Farm marks the end of your day. Leave the way and follow the signs for Inverarnan.
Note de l'auteur
If you are staying across Loch Lomond at Ardlui Hotel, look out for the sign pointing to the little ferry (2 miles before the end of this section). Walk down to the loch shore to the Ardleish slipway and call the ferry by raising the ball attached to the flagpole, as per the instructions attached to the flagpole. The ferry only departs at certain times and will only cross the Loch if they know you are there.
The ferries depart from Ardleish slipway at 10 minutes past the hour from 09:10 until 13:10 then 15:10 until 19:10.
They will of course take you back the morning so that you can continue your walk. The following morning for the ferry returns from Ardlui on the hour from 09:00. If you are starting out later, please be aware that the last ferry before lunch is at 13:00
If you are not staying in Ardlui then Beinglas Farm marks the end of your day. Leave the way and follow the signs for Inverarnan.
Type de cheminAfficher le profil altimétrique
Lieux où se restaurerThe Oak Tree Inn
St Mocha Coffee Shop & Ice Cream Parlour
The Clansman Bar
Consignes de sécurité
At a few points the path joins or crosses the road which can be busy. Be careful if stepping out or taking photos when close to the road.
Please take your time walking alongside the Loch and be sure of your footing as the trail can often be slippy.
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:
Conseils et recommandations supplémentairesNoted on the interactive map are a couple notable points of interest. Click the icons on the map for more information.
*** To help you follow the route with confidence we 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. ***
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 12.10 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.
Pick up the trail from Rowardennan Hotel as you leave the car park and turn left onto the road to follow the thistle way-markers (take care of traffic on this short section of the Way as you walk with the road on your left-hand side). In 300m pass some public toilets and the Rowardennan War Memorial then follow a well-defined, but undulating and rocky path, through the forest with Loch Lomond on your left-hand side. Make sure you keep on track here and ignore any signs for Ben Lomond – a popular Munro accessed from this car park.
At 15.00 km you’ll reach a junction – if you have found the underfoot conditions up to here challenging we recommend you take the right-hand fork to follow a wide gravel track through forest, a straight-forward although somewhat less scenic route compared to the left-hand fork which hugs the loch shore and winds its way through the forest on a rocky and undulating path. Our route description follows the left-hand fork (the right-hand fork rejoins this route at 19.70 km).
Continue along the loch shore to cross the little bridge over the waterfall next to Inversnaid Hotel. Here you can leave your boots in the porch and pop in for some refreshments if you have time before following the thistle way-markers along the loch shore once more. Take your time on this rocky section of trail, taking special care during or after rain, and keep an eye out for Rob Roy’s Cave and Doune Bothy at 30.40 km, followed by Ardleish in a further 1 km where the ferry for Ardlui Hotel arrives at a small jetty.
At the end of the loch the path bears left and passes through Beinglas B&B and campsite heading for the A82 (the main road on the western shore of Loch Lomond) where you’ll find the Drovers Inn and further south on the road the Ardlui Hotel. Check your tailored accommodation sheet for details of your overnight stay.
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 okay.
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.
- 13 Points d’intérêt
- 13 Points d’intérêt
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