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The Three Lochs Way

The Walking Gateway to Argyll and Bute

and a Great Trail* linking Loch Lomond, The Gareloch and Loch Long

Gentle pastoral landscapes around Balloch are gradually replaced by the scenic drama of mountain, crag and loch as the 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 people seeking shorter day walks. Total ascent is approximately 1,000 metres.

Recent work on the Highlandman's Road has greatly improved the route between Glen Fruin and Helensburgh and Rhu. We apologise for any temporary inconvenience which this may have caused and ask you to try and avoid walking or riding on the parts of the path where the clay may still be soft. Further work will commence soon 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.



Please note contractors will be working on the forestry roads in this area for a period of 3-4 weeks beginning 17 March 2014.

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, roe deer 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!


Please note this private road should only be used for non motorised access.

Special events to celebrate the opening of the John Muir Way

Local conservation and heritage charity, The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has organized two great events to celebrate the opening of the John Muir Way, a new coast to coast walking route linking Dunbar, Muir's birthplace, with Helensburgh, which looks across onto the Firth of Clyde from where an 11 year old Muir set sail for America in 1849. Funds raised at both events will go towards the Loch Lomondside statue planned in memory of the late Tom Weir who introduced several generations to the outdoor wonders of Scotland and his beloved Loch Lomond.

Thursday 24 April at 7.30pm – “From Dunbar to Yosemite” . Conservation champion, Jimmie McGregor, will give an illustrated talk at the Victoria Halls in Helensburgh paying homage to the father of the Global National Parks movement, John Muir.  Tom Weir Memorial Statue Group who will be on hand with toorie bunnets, tablet and other goodies for sale. Tickets, 10 in advance or 12 at the door, available from Visit Helensburgh Information Centre or Victoria Halls 01436 673275. Small charge for credit card sales.

Saturday 26 April at 4pm - “John Muir meets Tom Weir” on Goukhill Muir, overlooking Loch Lomond.

Although a century divided them, these great men were close in spirit and thought. What will they say when they meet on Goukhill? Witness the meeting by walking up to the summit of the John Muir Way on Goukhillmuir.

To add to the fun, if you wish, you'll need a cowboy hat and a big beard to walk as a John Muir lookalike! Or, if you come along as a Tom Weir lookalike- just a bobble hat will do. If you can manage plus fours, a moustache and a red nose -perfection!  We can sell you a special handcrafted Tom Weir bobble hat if required! Let us know in advance.

Check in at 3.30pm and we'll set off at 4.00pm, either from Hermitage Park in Helensburgh or from Kiltwalk Marquee at the Moss o' Balloch in Balloch. If you choose to start at Balloch then you should be aware that the John Muir Way path between Balloch and Goukhill is not yet complete* and requires a short steep climb over rough ground. The route from Helensburgh is all on easy walking surfaces with no steep inclines.  Walk leaders will be in attendance.

Following about 7km of the John Muir Way, you'll arrive on Goukhill in good time to witness the meeting between the two great men at 6.00pm. After the performance is over you could you head down to Balloch (* note warning above) to see the John Muir Finale fireworks and ceilidh at Loch Lomond Shores. Food and return rail transport is available there. Alternatively you can return by the John Muir Way or by the Three Lochs Way to Helensburgh where again food and return rail transport is available.

Recommended donation for all walkers 5 payable at start.  Want to take part? Then email or phone us with your name and address and contact telephone number and start point and finish point. We also need the names of all others within your group.

Email: john@balmillig.co.uk  or phone 01436 674922.   

Thanks to our funders: Argyll & Bute Council, Scottish Enterprise, Helensburgh & Gareloch Rotary, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.                   

And don't miss this free gig!

On Friday 25 April at 8.30pm the Commodore Hotel on West Clyde St. will be hosting a lively gig by the popular blues/rock band Slowtrain, who will perform an eclectic mix of American roots music in a further celebration of the John Muir Scottish/American cultural connection. A great opportunity to meet up with old and new friends of the festival over a few drinks in the relaxed and sociable surroundings of this attractive venue, with the added bonus of some highly authentic "live" music thrown in for good measure.  This event is free to all John Muir Festival goers and everyone is welcome to just come along and "boogie on down" until midnight.


Website last updated 21/4/14 Apps last updated June 2013

Click here to read what walkers say about the route in our 'Books of Achievement.'


Links to other long distance routes

In Balloch the Three Lochs Way links with National Cycle route 7. 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

During July & August a new water bus service means you can now make a circular tour of Loch Lomond using the Three Lochs Way and the West Highland Way, another one of Scotland's Great Trails*.

Help us

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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