The South Loch Ness Trail meanders its way down the south side of Loch Ness on a mixture of minor roads, forest tracks and purpose-built trail. The 58km trail starts in Torbreck near Inverness and passes through the villages of Dores, Inverfarigaig, Foyers, Whitebridge and eventually Fort Augustus.
To walk, cycle (mountain bike only) or ride this trail is a fantastic experience and takes you past many points of interest such as the Falls of Foyers, Suidhe Viewpoint and the Caledonian Canal in Fort Augustus. Developed by Visit Inverness Loch Ness over several years it has what every long-distance trail should have – spectacular views, historical interest, peace and quiet and places along the route to stop, rest and relax.
The South Loch Ness trail is 58 km in length, running from Torbreck in Inverness to Fort Augustus. Below, we have split this magnificent long-distance walking route into three sections. You can set yourself the challenge of walking the entire trail over three days.
Or, you can choose any section, for shorter hiking trails in Scotland. You can also cycle it on mountain bike. The choice is yours!
Length: 11 km
Walk time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Begin at Torbreck, with a short walk through woodland, way-marked with blue markers with a squirrel logo. When you come out of Torbreck Woods you will reach a farm track at Cullaird Farm. Take a left here and walk along the track between farm buildings and fields. This is a working farm, so please watch out for vehicles and machinery and keep dogs on leads.
As you leave the farm behind, turn right and walk uphill on a forestry track. The track is wide and easy to follow. Ignore the other tracks going off to the right and left, they are used by local farmers.
After walking through woodland, the trail takes you to Drumashie Moor. Here the path can be more rugged and wet underfoot. On this section you share a route with the “Trail of the 7 Lochs”, so you can expect to meet horse riders.
The track leads you on to a single track road high above Loch Ness. Take a right here and you will soon see glimpses of the Loch through the trees on your left. On the right you pass a small gate leading to McBain memorial park, now sadly neglected.
After walking downhill for about a mile you cross a small bridge. Keep to the left here and follow the road past a few houses. As you approach Aldourie, look out for a well-made footpath leading off to the left. Take the path until you get to Aldourie Primary School. Here you join the main road to Dores. Take a left at the school and walk along the pavement until you reach the village of Dores.
Length: 22 km
Walk time: 5 to 6 hours
On leaving Dores, walk along the side of the B852 for a short distance before dropping down off the road on the loch side on to a very rough track, which runs parallel to the road. This section is not way-marked until it crosses the road after approximately 2 km.
For the next 2 km, the trail weaves its way through mixed open woodland. Despite being close to the road, this is a delightful section with good views down on to Loch Ness. Eventually, this track ends and links on to a forest road.
Then for 6 km, the trail steadily rises up through an area of forest, which has recently been felled. Although somewhat barren, the views of Loch Ness just get better and better.
Eventually, you will arrive at the foot of what is known as the Fair Haired Lads Pass. It is here that the trail rises spectacularly in a series of very steep zig zags to a high point on the trail of almost 500 metres. This is undoubtedly the stage on the trail which feels wildest, and far from ‘the madding crowd’. Not only does it have great views of Loch Ness, but also south to the Monaliath Mountains. Until recently these mountains were a vast area of true wilderness rich in wildlife, but the proliferation of wind farms has changed this. Nevertheless, for the keen and experienced it is still a fantastic area to walk and climb and a place where winter snow clings on well into summer.
From the Fair Haired Lad’s Pass, the trail drops down on to a declassified minor road and winds its way down to Inverfarigaig. This is another beautiful section, a mixture of rough farmland and woodland, with a rich and colourful history. From Balchraggan there are breathtaking views down across Dun Dearduil to Loch Ness.The final kilometre of this section down to Inverfarigaig is down the ‘Corkscrew’. When you walk it you will know why!
From Inverfarigaig it’s a 5 km walk up through Farigaig woods and over a hillock to the village of Foyers. The trail over the hillock is quite steep, rough and boggy in places. To avoid this section, you can reach Foyers by following the forest track from Inverfarigaig to the small and beautiful lochan Torr an Tuill, and then down into Glen Liath and along the minor road to Foyers.
Length: 24.5 km
Walk time: 5.5 to 6.5 hours
From Foyers, the trail heads towards Whitebridge from the turnoff to the Upper Falls of Foyers, which is just before Cameron’s Tearoom. Cross the historic bridge and keep right. This section is beautiful, passing through mixed woodland and farmland. Just beware though, there are two small river crossings which can mean wet feet if there has been a lot of rain! Also, as there is livestock in fields, please act responsibly at all times and ensure that you close all gates behind you and keep dogs on leads. Just before Whitebridge you will pass through Dell Farm. Please be aware of moving vehicles and livestock here.
On reaching Whitebridge, take a right along the main road B862. The Whitebridge Hotel provides welcome sustenance if required.
In Whitebridge, walk along the B862 for approximately 300 m until a footpath leads off to the left, as always way-marked with the blue marker and squirrel. Follow the path along the River Fechlin until you get to a single track road. Turn left here, cross a bridge and walk away from Whitebridge until you get to a junction at a Bed & Breakfast (way-marked), where you turn right. Follow this road for approximately 3 km. You pass a cattle grid and a few houses, before the second cattle grid, take the path that leads to the right and walk alongside a drainage ditch on a smaller path.
Go through a gate and take the path across the ditch and to the left, then follow the river until you get to a wooden bridge, which you cross. After the bridge you will reach a forestry track – take a right here and follow the track to the main B862 road. Cross the road carefully and re-join the trail on the other side, where you follow a single track road towards Knockie Lodge.
Follow this road until you see the trail way marked going off to the left, which you follow uphill through an area of felled trees. When you reach another forestry track, turn right until again a path goes off to the left. Follow this footpath going steadily uphill until the path forks. Go right here (left leads to the road and parking for the viewpoint) and climb uphill on a clear walking track to the amazing viewpoint at Suidhe.
The track continues and then descends towards Loch Tarff. At Loch Tarff, cross the road and join the newly constructed trail on the opposite side. Walk along this wide track, which is again clearly waymarked. You will cross the road again a couple of times until you get to Glendoe works.
The trail now descends towards Fort Augustus through Glendoe Estate. Keep dogs on a lead here at all times! You enjoy fabulous views of the Loch until you reach its shores just before the village. You emerge back onto the B862 after passing through a gate. Take a right here and follow the road into the centre of the village.
Although the South Loch Ness Trail was recently completed between Fort Augustus and Loch Tarff, the present information signage still indicates it stopping at Loch Tarff. This will be updated over the winter months.
A new map featuring the South Loch Ness Trail and the full Loch Ness 360° Trail will be available to purchase from summer 2019. In the meantime, a basic map of the trail is available here to download free of charge.
Alternatively, also available is the South Loch Ness Access Group map which illustrates a number of trails in the area, including South Loch Ness Trail route. This map is available free from most accommodation providers on the South Side of Loch Ness.Download Map (PDF)
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