Great Glen Canoe Trail

people paddling canoes

Cutting clean through Scotland’s Great Glen, from Inverness to Fort William the Caledonian Canal is one of the great waterways of the world, offering visitors spectacular scenery, and many exciting opportunities to experience this unique waterway.

The mountain scenery of the Scottish Highlands may be a surprising setting for a canal, but the Great Glen an ancient fault line through which the Caledonian Canal runs almost directly from South West to North East. You could with tongue in cheek claim that all land north west of the Caledonian canal is an island!

The Canoe Trail

The Great Glen canoe trail is 60 miles long through the Highland Great Glen and the entire length of Loch Ness. Paddle through some of the most dramatic and inspiring country in the whole of Scotland from Fort William in the west to Inverness in the east. Generally it takes 3 to 5 days to canoe the trail depending on a number of factors like fitness, type of craft and group size.

The canoe trail allows you to paddle from coast to coast through the natural lochs - Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour all connected by the 22 miles of man-made Caledonian Canal, linking each of the lochs. 

The Caledonian Canal, 22 miles in total and 18 years in the making was one of the engineering marvels of the age when construction was completed in 1822. Today it is still used by large commercial boats but mostly it is leisure and tourist boats using the canal.

You are advised to register if you plan complete the Great Glen Canoe Trail, you can register with Scottish Canals. See why on the official site.

Want to walk Great Glen?

Thousands of hardy walkers do every year! You can walk the Great Glen via the 79 mile long Great Glen Way. There is a choice of routes from Fort Augustus to Inverness you can either stay on the Great Glen Way all the way to Inverness or take the newly constructed (longer) South Loch Ness Trail which traverses the wild south side of Loch Ness.

Useful links for canoeists

Canoe /kayak hire and Canoe Trail Adventures see - Boots N Paddles
Everything you need for paddling in The Highlands - Explore Highland
Official site -
South Loch Ness Trail
Great Glen Way Official Site -
Know the code before you go -

canoes on the banks of the Caledonian Canal