13 Best Winter Walks in Scotland

As the temperature dips and Scotland's jaw dropping landscapes sparkle in the clear winter light, nothing beats a refreshing winter walk to soak up the winter wonderland around you. Enjoy the magical appearance of hills glistening with snow, crisp air filling your lungs and frost crunching underfoot - plus it's a good excuse to warm up with a hot chocolate when you get back to base.

We've rounded up some of the best winter walks, walking routes and trails, including loch view walks, city routes, woodland wanders, family-friendly gems and mountain hikes. Here are our top picks of winter walks in Scotland:

  1. Loch Morlich Cairngorms National Park

    The fabulous view across Loch Morlich towards the Cairngorms, covered in snow, with green trees lining the opposite shore and the loch like glass

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

    • Distance: 6 km (3.75 miles)
    • Time: 1.5 - 2 hrs
    • Starting point: Loch Morlich car park

    One of the best walks in the Cairngorms, this loop around Loch Morlich offers stunning views of the northern Cairngorm mountains, which look especially majestic dusted with snow. Situated in the heart of Glenmore Forest, a spot of Cairngorms winter walking will make you feel like you have stepped into the pages of a story book.

  2. Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve North Highlands

    Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve

    • Distance: 2 km (1.25 miles)
    • Time: 1 hr
    • Starting point: Knockan Crag visitor centre

    Colliding continents, exploding volcanoes and millions of years of history - discover the epic story of the stunning landscapes around you. Begin at the Rock Room visitor centre before heading out onto the trails, where sculptures and jaw-dropping viewpoints await.

    Servizi chiave
    • Parcheggio
    • Accesso senza barriere
    • Bagno per disabili
  3. Calton Hill Edinburgh

    Scottish National Monument.

    © Kenny Lam, VisitScotland. All rights reserved.

    • Distance: 1.75 km (1 mile)
    • Time: 1 - 1.5 hrs
    • Starting point: Waverley Train Station

    If you're staying in Edinburgh, head to Calton Hill, located east of Princes Street, for a winter hill walk with beautiful views of Scotland's capital. There are lots of buildings and monuments to discover, including the 1831 Dugald Stewart Monument which was designed by William Henry Playfair.

  4. Granite Trail Aberdeen

    Union Terrace Gardens nel centro di Aberdeen

    Uncover the stories behind some of Aberdeen's most impressive granite buildings and sculptures on this city centre trail. Learn about the granite industry throughout the ages and tour some of the key buildings and monuments made of this glittering stone. One of the best winter walks in the city.

  5. Cardrona Forest Tweed Valley Forest Park, Scottish Borders

    Man sitting on a bench looking at the forest view

    Cardrona Forest offers three great winter walking trails through the forest - the Burn Trail, an easy access route along the Kirk Burn, the Kirkburn Trail, which offers beautiful views of the Tweed Valley, and Wallace's Trail, a circular route that passes the remains of Cardrona Tower, which dates from the 1500s. Look out for red squirrels as you explore too!

  6. Clatteringshaws Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries & Galloway

    Clatteringshaws Loch

    • Distance: 5.5 km (3.5 miles)
    • Time: 1.5 - 2 hr
    • Starting point: Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre

    This enchanting route, in the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere, begins with a stroll along the edge of Clatteringshaws Loch to visit Bruce's Stone, which commemorates Robert the Bruce's victory at the Battle of Glen Trool in 1307. The route then leads to the visitor centre to begin the Loch View hike through winter woodland, reaching a stunning vantage point over the loch.

  7. Castle Fraser Estate Aberdeenshire

    Castello di Fraser, Aberdeenshire

    Kids will feel like they've walked into a winter fairy tale in the grounds of this stunning castle. Although the castle itself is closed from late October - March you can explore the beautiful grounds all year round and follow two great winter walks, The Alton Brae Trail and Miss Bristow's Trail.

    Servizi chiave
    • Parcheggio
    • Animali domestici ammessi
    • Parcheggio o area di sosta senza barriere
    • Caffetteria o ristorante
  8. The Scottish Deer Centre Fife

    Animali allo Scottish Deer Centre, Cupar

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Although not strictly a "walk", The Scottish Deer Centre is an outdoor wildlife park covering 55 acres - plenty of room for your family to stretch their legs, enjoy some fresh air and meet the park's star residents. Your wee ones will love hand feeding the deer and what could be more exciting than seeing reindeer up close at this magical time of year?!

  9. Ben Lomond Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

    A pair of walkers in the distance make their way toward the snowy summit of Ben Lomond.

    © VisitScotland / Allan Jamieson, all rights reserved.

    • Distance: 12 km (7.5 miles)
    • Time: 4.5 - 5.5 hours
    • Starting point: Rowardennan car park

    Experience one of Scotland's most popular mountain walks in the quieter winter months and enjoy uninterrupted views of stunning Loch Lomond. Look out for elusive ptarmigan in their snow-white winter plumage as you climb this famous Munro.

    Servizi chiave
    • Parcheggio
    • Animali domestici ammessi
  10. Stac Pollaidh Circuit North Highlands

    Vista della cima di Stac Pollaidh, Assynt

    © Unsplash

    • Distance: 4.5 km (2.75 miles)
    • Time: 2 - 4 hours
    • Starting point: Stac Pollaidh car park

    A stunning winter mountain walk around towering Stac Pollaidh, with sweeping views over the wintry landscapes of Assynt. One of the best winter hikes in Scotland. You can also add on a short (but steep) climb for breathtaking views across to Suilven and the Summer Isles.

  11. Buckhaven to Elie Fife

    Il porto di Elie nell'East Neuk di Fife

    • Distance: 20 km
    • Time: 4 - 5 hours
    • Starting point: Buckhaven

    The 20 km section from Buckhaven to Elie offers charming villages, golf courses, historic monuments and an abundance of wildlife, perfect for a winter walking holiday. Elie a lovely place to finish off your walk. The Fife Coastal Path is one of the most interesting paths in Scotland with a huge variety of things to see and do along the way - a popular spot for dog walks in Fife too! 

  12. Cruden Bay to the Bullers of Buchan Aberdeenshire

    Il castello di Slains al tramonto, Cruden Bay

    • Distance: 4.5 km
    • Time: 1.5 - 2 hours
    • Starting point: Cruden Bay

    Experience the drama of Aberdeenshire's coast on this rousing walk from Cruden Bay. Along with impressive geological features, you will pass the eerie ruins of Slains Castle, thought to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Perhaps the wander will inspire you to come up with a story of your own…

  13. Ayrshire Coastal Path Ayrshire

    View from the Ballast Bank in Troon

    The Ayrshire Coastal Path offers dramatic views along the Ayrshire Coast and the Firth of Clyde. As Ayrshire walks go, this is one of the best - with exciting places to see such as the ruins of Dunure Castle.

Safety first

Winter weather can make walking in the mountains incredibly challenging. Always check the weather forecast before heading off into the hills, pack the essentials and wrap up warm. 

Read safety advice from Mountaineering Scotland

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