The Three Lochs Way
The Walking Gateway to Argyll and Bute
and a Great Trail* linking Loch Lomond, The Gareloch and Loch Long
Gentle landscapes are gradually replaced by the scenic drama of mountain, crag and loch as the Three Lochs Way crosses the Highland Boundary Fault and heads towards the mountains of the Southern Highlands. With Loch Lomond, The Gareloch and Loch Long as recurrent scenic backdrops, the Three Lochs Way takes you on a fascinating journey through place and time as it links a necklace of communities strung along the Clyde Sea Lochs fringe of Scotland’s first national park.
Rarely rising above 250 metres, the route's 55 kilometres (34 miles) can easily be walked in 3 to 4 days and with the West Highland railway line never far away, it also offers plenty of options for shorter day walks. Total ascent is approximately 1,000 metres.
Top Ten Highlights
1. Stoneymolan Road, a delightful ancient route linking Balloch and Cardross.
2. The stunning view over Loch Lomond when you cross the Highland Boundary Fault at Goukhill Muir.
3. Helensburgh’s beautiful tree lined streets, especially colourful in Spring and Autumn.
4. Charles Rennie Macintosh’s elegant domestic architectural masterpiece, "The Hill House".
5. Peaceful Glen Fruin (but not in 1603 when 300 Macgregors routed a much larger force of Colquhouns in a major clan battle at the head of the glen).
6. Great views north of Garelochhead over Loch Long to the knobbly skyline of ‘Argyll’s Bowling Green’ and the ‘Arrochar Alps’.
7. The craggy ‘Cobbler’, the area’s finest mountain and a must climb ‘Corbet’.
8. Delightful Glen Loin Woodlands, Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to red squirrels.
9. The impressive Sloy hydro electricity installations, built at the end of WWII with help from German POWs.
10. A traverse of the fine Munro, Ben Vorlich, from Loch Sloy over to Ardlui makes a great way to top off your Three Lochs Way experience.
Recent work on the Highlandman's Road has greatly improved the route between Glen Fruin and Helensburgh and Rhu. Further work on this section will soon be complete thanks to a very generous donation from an anonymous donor.
Some short trackless sections still exist in the Goukhill Muir area between Balloch and Helensburgh where waymarking can be rudimentary and a map and compass or GPS unit may require to be used. Work associated with the John Muir Way project has now started here and extra care should be exercised near any earth moving plant which may be operating.
Gates and Dogs on the Three Lochs Way
Especially in the Camis Eskan area, gates are being left open allowing deer to damage vulnerable young trees. Dogs are also still being allowed to run freely, damaging trees by chewing them and the plastic sleeves intended to protect them. In spring and early summer, lambs and ground nesting birds are all especially vulnerable. At other times of year dogs on the loose can cause problems for the people whose job it is to keep deer numbers under control. Dog fouling has also become a problem on some parts of the route, especially the section close to the Hill House car park in Helensburgh. Please think of others - Close gates, bag and bin dog waste and please keep your dog under close control at all times!
Camis Eskan Approach Road
Please note this private road should only be used for non motorised access.
Website last updated 24/5/14 Apps last updated June 2013
Links to other long distance routes
The John Muir Way and the Three Lochs Way share some of the route between Helensburgh and Balloch. At Inveruglas, Inverbeg and Tarbet there are summer ferry links to the West Highland Way and at Arrochar you can join The Cowal Way which in turn links via the Portavadie -Tarbert ferry across Loch Fyne to the Kintyre Way . Click on the links for more information.
Make it a round trip
The Three Lochs Way is managed and maintained by the voluntary efforts of members of Helensburgh & District Access Trust which urgently requires funding for improvements to the route. Click here to donate on this site via Paypal. Alternatively donations can be sent to Alan R A Day, Secretary, Helensburgh & District Access Trust, 4 Sutherland Place, Helensburgh G84 8BF. Cheques should be made payable to Helensburgh & District Access Trust.
Advertising on this website
All proceeds from adverts on this site go to Helensburgh and District Access Trust to be used for the maintenance of the Three Lochs Way together with the rest of the Trust's path network in the Helensburgh area. Find out how little it costs to advertise by clicking on this Advertising Rates Page link.
In developing and promoting the Three Lochs Way, Helensburgh and District Access Trust (The Trust) wishes to point out that the physical activity and remote locations which may be experienced while traversing the Three Lochs Way route can involve an element of risk, in respect of which, Helensburgh and District Access Trust accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever.
Furthermore, while Helensburgh and District Access Trust has produced this website in good faith and works hard to make sure that the information it contains is up to date and accurate, The Trust accepts no responsibility or liability arising from any error or omission contained therein.
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