Your trip starts on arriving at your guesthouse in Fort William. Enjoy the high street with its shopping. The town has a good choice of restaurants.
Guesthouse in Fort William (breakfast)
Blue 2 (grade) 17.5km with 50m ascent, 30m descent
A short first day gives chance to explore Fort William and settle into the walk. The route begins by heading West to Caol at the head of Loch Linnhe, before picking up the Caledonian Canal at Corpach. The miles pass easily to the small village of Gairlochy.A transfer to nearby Spean Bridge may be needed to reach accommodaiton
B&B in Gairlochy or Spean Bridge (breakfast)
Blue 3 (grade) 18.5km with 290m ascent, 290m descent
Clunes Forest is the main event of this second stage. Terrain is again easy. A mix of lochside path and quiet road takes you to the hamlet of Clunes where the forest track begins. In the course of the day you walk the length of Loch Lochy, the first of three Great Glen lochs.
B&B in Laggan (breakfast)
Blue 2 (grade) 17.5km with 60m ascent, 70m descent
Tis is a stage of two halves. Loch Oich, the smallest of the three lochs in the Great Glen, is walked from end to end on a wooded path not far from the shore. Then at Aberchalder follow the Caledonian Canal, the link to Loch Ness at Fort Augustus. Fort Augustus is the largest village between Fort William and Inverness and is a useful and pleasant stop just before the half-way point in the trek.
Guesthouse in Fort Augustus (breakfast)
Blue 2 (grade) 11km with 210m ascent, 190m descent
Leave the Caledonian Canal behind, not to be seen again until Inverness, and instead take to the forests on this short day to Invermoriston. Loch Ness is in view below. Invermoriston is a pleasant little village at the foot of Glen Moriston. The Skye road comes in through the glen.
Gueshouse in Invermoriston (breakfast)
Blue 3 (grade) 21.5km with 680m ascent, 710m descent
This penultimate stage is a good length and covers a mix of forested and open areas. Views above Loch Ness are superb. At Drumnadrochit a detour can be made to Urquart Castle in its fine position on the loch.
Inn in Drumnadrochit (breakfast)
Blue 3 (grade) 29.5km with 550m ascent, 560m descent
A last stage and a grand finale, in terms of distance! The ascent is gentle and the ground underfoot is firm, so the miles to Inverness go quickly. Enjoy the changing landscape and the unfolding views to the North and West, before gaining a view over Inverness and dropping through parks and riverside walkways into the city centre. The route finishes at the city's castle.
Hotel in Inverness (breakfast)
After a last breakfast take the bus or train from Inverness to Glasgow or Edinburgh. You are wonderfully placed to explore the North West Highlands and we'd love to advise. Congratulations on the Great Glen Way!
For walker’s up for a more challenging hike of the Great Glen Way a 4 or 5 stage schedule is possible. For 5 stages walk from Laggan directly to Invermoriston, giving a 26km day with 230m ascent and descent. To shorten the route to a 4-stage trip, walk from Fort William to Laggan in 1 day. This is a long start to the trip, with 35km, 210m ascent and 160m descent.
Make the trip longer
The 6-stage Great Glen Way suits many trekkers but the last stage is quite long, 29km to Inverness. Our 7-stage schedule splits this into 2 more manageble days. We book 2 nights in Drumnadrochit and use taxis to split the route at Loch Laide.
An Extra Night in Fort William
Add an extra night in Fort William at the start to climb Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain! At 1,344m this is ascent is harder than the Great Glen Way but is a fitting addition to the trek. (Please note we can book extra accommodaitonto for your ascent but we don't provide a routecard and the hike would be under your own steam.)
Take a Visit to Skye
At Invermoriston, take a rest day and catch the coach to Skye. We can advise on possibilities. The West Coast of Scotland is quite different to the Great Glen: imagine sea lochs, beaches and small islands. Please ask us for our suggestions if you have time to see more of Scotland.
Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and all arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs. If your group would like a guide for your trip, please get in touch for more details.
Great Glen Way
2 May to 17 September 2021
60 per dog
60 per dog
70 per dog
70 per dog
80 per dog
80 per dog
Group of 4 or more
70 per dog
70 per dog
Group of 1, 2 or 3
To all stops
|GBP 70 per bag|
Direct to Inverness
|GBP 40 per bag|
Your accommodation along the Great Glen Way is a good mix of guesthouses and B&Bs, with the occasional characterful inn and comfy small hotel. We love to book our clients into places with warm welcomes and excellent standards. We’ll book a private room every night and an ensuite room where there is availability. In the small village of Gairlochy we book accommodation down the road in Spean Bridge. Your host will pick you up from Gairlochy and drop you back the following morning.
The accommodation on the Great Glen Way offers lots of options for choosing comfier options. For our normal ‘comfy’ option we upgrade your accommodation on 5 nights. In Fort William, Fort Augustus, Invermoriston and Inverness we use comfier hotels in place of our usual B&Bs. In Spean Bridge we use a comfy guesthouse with dinner included. This is a great way to complete the Great Glen Way in style, but if you would prefer something with even more luxury, please contact us for more options.
Please contact us for details of hiking the Great Glen Way using more basic accommodation. We can book hostels in Fort William, Laggan, Drumnadrochit and Inverness.
The single supplement covers the additional cost of booking a single room on every night, rather than 2 people sharing a room.
Bring your dog
For clients walking with a dog we will book dog-friendly accommodation along the route. There is sadly no dog friendly accommodation in Laggan so we book 2 nights in Fort Augustus and use a taxi to take you from Laggan to Fort Augustus and back the following morning. We will book and pay for the taxis. For a Comfy trip the options for upgrading dog-friendly accommodation is a little more limited, though we can upgrade your accommodation in Fort William and for both nights in Fort Augustus. If you’d like to book a comfy dog-friendly trip please email us to ask for more details.
Your route follows the official Great Glen Way. Set off from Fort William and pick up the Caledonian Canal, followed as far as Gairlochy. Lanes and forest tracks run beside Loch Lochy to Laggan. Now on the other side of the glen, follow the shore of Loch Oich and pick up the canal again to Fort Augustus. Then follows three stages with large sections in forests follow, mostly above Loch Ness. Link the villages of Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit before the tough final stage to Inverness.
The Great Glen Way runs on good clear paths. For some long stretches of the route, the track underfoot is a double-track old military road or canalside track. At other times you might be walking along narrow forest paths. The route does not climb any mountains, its high point of 382m coming at the summit of a forest track on the last stage.
Compared to other long-distance paths in the UK, the Great Glen Way's surface underfoot is consistently hard. This means that mud is minimal, but the downside is a pounding for the feet. Some areas of the Great Glen are heavily forested; during forestry operations the Great Glen Way can be diverted, and in this case the diversion might encounter steeper, rockier ground and less obvious paths.
Is it for me?
The Great Glen Way will suit most walkers used to multi-day treks, walking perhaps 5-7 hours a day over the course of 6 days. The emphasis is on steady completion of miles, not so much on difficult terrain. The Great Glen Way offers fine views over the more remote Scottish landscapes but doesn’t go out into the wilder terrain. Navigations is among the more straightforward of any of our routes, with signposts at key junctions, making it a good first long-distance walk.
The Great Glen Way is not technically difficult, with no climbing, via ferrata, ladders or any other hazards other than walking. The walking, can be muddy, rocky or rooty especially through any temporary diversions, but it is always purely walking, and is more moderate than our other trips.
For an even more detailed read, please see our Great Glen Way Walking Guide
Your holiday starts in the West Highland resort of Fort William and ends in Inverness, the largest town in the Highlands. Both Fort William and Inverness have good bus and rail connections to Glasgow and Edinburgh. To save an overnight, sleeper trains link both Fort William and Inverness with London and the North West of England. If flying we suggest Glasgow at the start and Inverness at the end.
Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
- Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
- Breakfast every morning
- Detailed Routecards GGW1-6 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
- The 3 topographical maps needed
- Expert advice and local information
- A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
- Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm in the UK)
- Travel to and from your trip
- Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
- Travel insurance
- Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
- Baggage transfers (available as an extra)
Baggage transferOur baggage option on the Hebridean Way takes your bag to each night's accommodation. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception and it will arrive at your next accommodation. Baggage transfers are GBP 70 for drops to all your accommodation, or GBP 40 for direct transfers from Fort WIlliam to Inverness.
Booking form for the Great Glen Way
Great Glen Way enquiry form
If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!
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Open to the world
Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.