Best of the West Highland Way7 Days & 6 Nights 4.8 Read 959 reviews
- Experience Scotland’s rich culture while walking the highlights of it’s most famous long distance trail
- Immerse yourself in nature—wander the “bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond
- Enjoy stays in the best accommodations along the trail
- Sample a dram or two on a tour of Glengoyne’s pretty countryside distillery
- Begin in the eclectic city of Glasgow and finish at the base of Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis!
Walk the highlights of the West Highland Way—Scotland’s most famous long distance trail. Hike the route as it winds its way north through verdant lowlands, traces the “bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond, and follows deep glens steeped in turbulent clan history. Nowadays, you’ll find the West Highland Way brimming with welcoming Highland hotels and like-minded walkers revelling in the vastness of this stunning landscape.
At Macs the West Highland Way is not only our best-selling trip but our favourite, and with over 800 authentic, unbiased guest reviews on our website don’t just take our word for it! Leave the bustling heart of Glasgow, home to Macs HQ, behind for the secluded forest trails and purple heather-clad mountainsides that will accompany you on the journey north to Fort William. En route experience unstinting hospitality in accommodations that we know and love while immersing yourself in the unique Scottish landscape.
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
This trip is suitable for:
Solo Travelers, Families, First Timers
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Wine, Whiskey & More...
- Historical Journeys
- National Parks & Trails
- Special Occasions
Featured in our collections:
- Most Popular
Activity Level & Terrain
This holiday is graded moderate overall with individual itineraries varying from easy to moderate through to moderate to strenuous. Daily walking distances vary between 7 - 21 miles. Some days will be more challenging than others and the terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths. There are ascents and descents involved so a good level of fitness will be required.
The route is well waymarked and easy to follow. We supply a detailed map and guidebook so will easily find your way.
Experience & Fitness
This route is suitable for most regular walkers of average fitness. You should train by walking some daily walks of similar daily distances to your planned itinerary.
Our West Highland Way holidays include overnight accommodation in a mixture of country inns, small hotels, guest houses and B&B’s. We have worked with many of our accommodation partners for over 10 years and have great relationships with them ensuring you receive the best attention from the moment you check in.
We carefully select your accommodation to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay and all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.
We book en suite rooms as standard. If there are no en suite rooms available in an overnight location, we may book a room with shared facilities, but we will always inform you in advance if this was the case.
We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, there is the option to be accommodated at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere, we will advise you of this before confirming your booking. In this case we can amend your trip dates or arrange transfers to and from an alternative overnight accommodation (supplement payable)
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
This holiday is available to solo walkers, although a supplement is payable. If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single room supplement is payable.
Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, your guidebook includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants and your info pack has recommendations.
You may wish to take some extra nights along the route, either to rest or to explore some of the other walking opportunities nearby. We would recommend extra nights at Rowardennan - For climbing Ben Lomond, Crianlarich - A halfway stop with options for visiting Oban, Fort William - For climbing Ben Nevis.
- 6 Nights in hand-picked accommodations
- 6 Breakfasts
- Luggage transfers
- Transfers to walks as listed in the itinerary
- Information Pack, GPX tracks and access to the Macs Adventure smartphone app
- Glengoyne Distillery group tour & tasting
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK office
- Travel to Milngavie / from Fort William
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
- Lunches, dinners, snacks & drinks
- Travel insurance (required)
- Personal equipment
- Additional nights along the route
- Transfers to / from Glasgow or Edinburgh airports
When To Go
The trip is available from the end of March to mid-October and while it does get very busy, we are always willing to try and get you booked in.
There are a few dates throughout the year when events in the local area will prevent us from being able to book accommodation. The following are particularly difficult to secure:
Kinlochleven – Pre 65 Trails, held every year in early May
Weather and Climate
Scotland's climate is notoriously changeable! Expect some amounts of both sunshine and rain regardless of the time of year, so always pack both waterproofs and sunscreen. July and August are usually warmest with average temperatures around 14 degrees centigrate, and highs of up to mid-twenties. Some snow may remain or even fall on the higher parts of the route in March & April, and even beyond. May has the least rainfall on average, but you would still expect some wetter days, and each year can vary greatly.
Getting to the Start
Glasgow International Airport: Located 8 miles west of the city of Glasgow, the airport is served by numerous domestic and international routes. A regular shuttle bus service runs to Glasgow city centre, and there is also a service to/from Fort William.
Prestwick International Airport: Located 30 miles south of Glasgow, Prestwick Airport is served primarily by Ryanair. A train service runs from Prestwick to Glasgow city centre and takes approx. 50 mins.
Edinburgh International Airport: Located 45 miles east of Glasgow, Edinburgh Airport is served by numerous domestic and international routes. A regular bus service runs to Glasgow city centre and takes approx. 60 mins.
Glasgow is well-served by rail from across the UK. Booking in advance secures the best fares. For information on all routes contact National Rail Enquiries.
Glasgow is served by an excellent motorway network. Long term parking is generally not available in the city centre, but unsecure parking is available in Milngavie at the start of the walk. A useful website is the RAC Route Planner.
Getting from the End
Return transfers from Fort William to Glasgow are NOT included in the price of your holiday.
If you are returning to Glasgow we suggest the Citylink Bus (up to 8 departures daily, approx. 3 hours) or Scotrail train (one of the UK's most spectacular journeys, 2-3 departures daily, approx. 4 hours, also available for continued journey to Edinburgh).
Trains and buses also operate north to Inverness and Skye; a great website for public transport planning within Scotland is Traveline Scotland, or give us a shout to discuss extending your stay further.
We are able to offer transfer arrangements at attractive prices, for your convenience. Just give us a call to talk through your plans.
Your bags will be collected from your accommodation each day and moved onto your overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
At 98 Miles the West Highland Way is a fair distance and the higher your level of fitness the more you will enjoy the experience. Most of our itineraries involve between 5 and 10 hours walking daily so you should be comfortable walking on good tracks and paths over undulating terrain for at least 6 to 7 hours. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
If you don't overnight in Glasgow or Milngavie before beginning the West Highland Way meet our baggage transfer partners at Milngavie Rail Station at 0830-0900. They will check you in and take your bags, which will magically appear in your next overnight accommodation. Each morning, just leave your bags in the reception area and we will have them transferred to the next location. Please limit the weight of your luggage to 20 kg per bag (one piece per person).
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the West Highland Way is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August. However, we will always try and accommodate your plans.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. Our information pack has a list of all the equipment you will need, along with some helpful suggestions.
Traditionally May has always been the most popular time of year because, the theory goes, that the weather is better and the midges have not yet appeared. Although having walked the way in every summer month we believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.
Midges are small biting insects (much like North American gnats) which are prevalent in the summer months. They are particularly bad on still, overcast days but do not bother you if you are moving, the wind is blowing, sun is shining, it’s raining, or you are inside so as long as you carry repellent for the odd occasion you may need it they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets and several sections of the way are closed to dogs as they are permissive paths through farmland.
You can use public transport and local taxis to reach your next overnight stop. Full details are included in your info pack or you can call us for assistance in making arrangements.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Glasgow and overnight
Arrive in the midst of Glasgow’s eclectic city centre, if you can, we recommend allowing time in your schedule for sightseeing and making the most of the vibrant foodie scene. Stroll around the city’s West End, where you can marvel at the impressive sandstone architecture of the University of Glasgow, founded in 1796, and nearby Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.
Settle into your welcoming and hand-selected hotel, located in the city centre.
This hotel reflects the city's own modern renaissance, combining striking traditional architecture with the most exciting contemporary design and high-tech facilities. Behind the superb exterior, the 59-bedroom townhouse has been designed with a sense of luxury and relaxation with a home-from-home feel so you can enjoy an ideal night's sleep, and wake up refreshed and rejuvenated.
After a private transfer (35 mins) begin your Scottish adventure with a visit to Glengoyne Distillery, said to be Scotland’s most beautiful distillery, nestled on the edge of the hills. Enjoy a whisky tour and tasting lead by one of the distillery’s experts. After sampling a dram you’ll be whisked off to the village of Balmaha via a short transfer (20 mins) to start the day’s hike. Venture north to Rowardennan following the thistle signposts on trails through the forest lining the shores of Loch Lomond.
The secluded Rowardennan Hotel—the only accommodation here on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond—is your home for the night. Relax and enjoy your evening in this simple Highland hotel that has been hosting West Highland Way walkers for decades.
Situated on the rugged Eastern Shore of Loch Lomond in the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Forest, the Rowardennan Hotel has breath-taking views of Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond Loch Lomond and the mountains to the North. The hotel is a typical walker’s style property and many rooms have stunning views across the Loch. In the evening you can enjoy a wee dram in the Clansman bar, watching the glorious views from the marvellous beer garden, and enjoy quality hot food, also served in the bar, and made using local ingredients, and designed to give you a filling meal after a long days walk. Wifi available in hotel.
Follow the Way through woodlands rich in birdlife and take in views from the top of Conic Hill over Loch Lomond peppered with tiny forested islands. Make your way to the village of Inverarnan and the renowned Drovers Inn—this characterful inn was established in 1705 and has been housing weary travelers since! Why not pop for a pint of local ale in one of Scotland’s oldest licensed establishments as you await your private transfer (25 mins)? The drive to Bridge of Orchy brings you out of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and into still more mountainous and remote scenery.
Situated directly on the Way the Bridge of Orchy Hotel is the hub of this tiny Highland hamlet—the hotel’s remote position belies it’s lively interior! This evening eat a delicious dinner made with seasonal produce, and afterwards settle down in the bar to share stories with fellow walkers from around the world, or simply retire to your room for a relaxing evening.
The Bridge of Orchy hotel welcomes guests with personalised service, imaginative Scottish cuisine and intimate atmosphere. The hotel’s personalised service and ‘can do’ approach is seen in their bedrooms and throughout the hotel and a real home-from-home feel is their priority.
Today you’ll hike one of our favourite sections of the route—immerse yourself in some of the most spectacular and remote terrain on the trail. Pass Loch Tulla, surrounded by towering Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft / 918m) before traversing the vast expanse of the Rannoch Moor. As you near Kingshouse the beguiling pyramidal peak of Scotland’s most photographed mountain, Buachaille Etive Mor, meaning “the herdsman of Etive”, comes into view situated at the head of Glen Etive (of “Skyfall” Bond film fame).
The recently renovated Kingshouse Hotel stands proudly on the Rannoch Moor, prepare for a warm welcome, not only from the hotel’s friendly staff but from the resident herd of red deer! Tonight sample local cuisine such as fresh seafood from nearby Loch Leven in the hotel’s restaurant. Although, with floor-to-ceiling windows affording the unrivaled views up Glencoe and onto the Buachaille you may find your focus drifts from your meal.
The Kings House Hotel is centred around a 17th century Inn, believed to be one of Scotland's oldest licensed establishments. The original building was used after the Battle of Culloden in 1745, as a barracks for troops of George III, hence the name Kings House. The building has now been altered considerably over the past century and has now been redeveloped, refurbished and transformed to the highest standard. All rooms are comfortably decorated and have all the amenities you require for a comfortable night’s stay. There is also a drying room for those rainy days. The location of the Kingshouse Hotel could not be better and the view across to Buachaille Etive Mor has to be one of the most stunning vistas in all Scotland!
Stride out across the Rannoch Moor once more and pass the base of the Buachaille—gaze up at it’s rocky flanks to see if you can spot any adventure-seeking climbers on the rock face. Now tackle the “Devil’s Staircase”, don’t worry though, with it’s steady ascent the name is more intimidating than the reality and the views from the top are certainly worth it! Hike across rolling terrain before descending on forest paths into the village of Kinlochleven to meet your private transfer (15 mins) to Glencoe village.
Glencoe is synonymous with Scotland, and the village at the end of the glen of the same name occupies an envious position on the rugged shores of Loch Leven. Surrounded by captivating rocky peaks it’s not hard to see how the tough lifestyle of the clans of old is easily romanticised. Here there are multiple great accommodation options, and for your evening meal you can choose from a variety of eateries.
The Isles of Glencoe Hotel nestles on the side of a peninsula reaching into Loch Leven. Their rooms are modern, comfortable and spacious with commanding views of the Loch and the Pap of Glencoe or the mountains of Morven. The Lochside Restaurant offers great meals in a unique loch side setting with dramatic views. Enjoy relaxed and informal dining in the restaurant or choose a light and airy table in the conservatory and sample their great food & drink.
Nestling in the heart of Glencoe’s amongst the spectacular and majestic mountains the Clachaig Inn has been a source of accommodation to walkers for over three hundred years. The Inn has 23 modern bedrooms with en-suite facilities and great views of the surrounding landscape. The restaurant’s menu is a blend of modern ideas and fresh produce, sourced from local suppliers wherever possible and will definitely have something to suit every taste. The Inn has three bars each with its own distinctive and lively character where you can relax in the evening and meet the friendly locals.
You can be sure of warm Highland hospitality from Ann and Dan who will welcome you into their home for a Bed & Breakfast experience with that touch of luxury you deserve. Here you will find comfortable, relaxing accommodation for adults only, in spacious rooms, all furnished in a modern contemporary style with large modern purpose built en-suite bathrooms. And for that all important great night’s sleep, you will want a large bed, so the bedrooms have luxurious and comfy super-king or king sized beds.
After being dropped off in Kinlochleven, at the head of Loch Leven, begin today’s walk to Fort William. Savour each step on this final day of hiking as you walk through dramatic forested glens. Soak in your surrounds as you skirt the base of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain (4413ft / 1345m).
Located at the head of Loch Linnhe, Fort William was originally settled in 1654 as a fort where English troops were based to keep the Jacobite skirmishes, once common in the region, at bay. The Old Fort eventually gave it’s name to the town, but the fort itself is now easily missed so keep an eye out for it’s ruined walls between the loch and the train station. The official end point of the West Highland Way is marked by a statue of a weary walker resting his feet as he looks out onto the loch.
Stroll along the nearby main street of “Scotland’s outdoor capital” lined with cafes, restaurants and shops selling souvenirs before heading to your accommodation. We have worked with our accommodations in Fort William for many years so you can be assured of a warm welcome and congratulations on finishing the West Highland Way. Tonight there are plenty of options for a celebratory dinner in the town centre—you deserve it!
You will be met with a sense of peace in this inviting and welcoming Victorian House which has been lovingly restored. Enjoying afternoon tea on arrival in the comfortable sitting room or on the quiet patio. Their 5 luxurious suites are all designed to provide you with a unique experience and a great overnight stay.
The main part of the hotel was built as a Manse in 1850. They have nine letting bedrooms, five in the Victorian building and four in the new extension. They also have a contemporary restaurant, fantastic Art Galley hosting National shows, comfy lounges with open fires, a drying room, map room, bike storage and Wireless broadband.
The Garrison Hotel signifies the newest, 4-star, boutique hotel to open in Fort William. Built on the site of the Old Police Station, on the High Street of Fort William, the hotel offers all that a weary walker would wish for! With 41 rooms, each tastefully decorated to offer guests chic, stylish accommodation within comfortable surroundings, there is also restaurant serving lunch and dinner plus a bar to unwind at the end of ‘Way’.
After breakfast your trip on the West Highland Way has come to an end. From Fort William we recommend you take the West Highland Line rail journey (3 hr 45 mins) back to Glasgow on one of the country’s most scenic train rides. Alternatively, speak to the team about your needs to get a quote for private airport transfers to Glasgow (2hr 15 mins) or Edinburgh (2hr 45 mins) airports.
All the most-asked questions on the West Highland WayThe West Highland Way is acclaimed as the most walked long-distance t ...
What to Pack for the West Highland Way?The West Highland Way is an incredibly popular walk, but what's best ...
The Macs Way
- Custom-made Adventures
- Book with Confidence
- Positive Impact
- Flexible itineraries built around you
- Knowledgeable and helpful specialist trip planners
- Customize your trip to suit your interests
- Start on any date that suits you
- Choose your ideal trip length and difficulty
- Range of accommodation comfort levels
- Choice of trip styles
- Choose your own travel companions
- Walk, cycle and explore at your own pace
- Make your own decisions
- Choose your own path
- Indulge your passions
- 14,000+ unbiased trip & service reviews
- Feefo Gold Award 2019
- 25,000+ travelers trust us each year
- As featured in the Guardian, Times, Nat Geo Traveler
- Founder owned & operated since 2003
- 100+ passionate team members across the US, UK & Europe
- Carefully planned adventures
- Quality, hand-picked accommodations
- Seamless and reliable arrangements
- Comprehensive trip information & insider tips
- Detailed maps, route notes and mobile GPS app
- Helpful 24/7 support should you need it
- Travel responsibly
- Explore off the beaten track
- Support locally owned businesses
- Engage with local communities
- Minimize your impact
- Maximize the benefit of your travel
- Challenge yourself & grow