Read about the places around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

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View over Loch Lomond from Balloch

The History of Loch Lomond

Between 520-400 million years ago, massive tectonic shifts took place in the earth's crust across the northeast section of what is now Europe. Following glacial upheavals, as the planet cooled and the landmasses formed, the world started to take on the contours more familiar to us today.

In Scotland, we are grateful custodians of what these millions of years ago have left us with from that period and can rightly feel humbled and proud that we live in what many regards as one of the most scenic beautiful areas in the world. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park was one of two national parks designated by the Scottish Government in 2002. The other is Cairngorm National Park and is a wonderful example of scenic beauty and natural wilderness. The park extends from north of Glasgow to the Southern Highlands.

A short sharp climb to the summit of Conic Hill beside Balmaha on the east side of Loch Lomond, and the outcome from these crashing tectonic upheavals becomes clear. The geological events that sculpted the land now designated as the national park can be seen quite clearly. Named the Highland Fault, as you stand at the hill's summit, you are exactly on top of the line of the fault and it is obvious as you look.

Looking west, your eye connects in a direct line over the islands of Inchcailloch, Torrinch, Creinch and Inchmurrin to Ben Bowie and beyond on the western shore. As you look to the left of that line southwards, Glasgow and the lowland valleys spread out to the south towards the Southern Uplands and borders. The landscape is flat or gently sloping with lush greenery and rolling hills. Turn to the right looking north, and the difference in the landscape could not be starker. Before you, almost immediately, the landscape changes dramatically with craggy sloping ridges and mountains created as the glaciers from millions of years previously cooled. Cast your eye around, and you'll see Ben Lomond and north through to the highlands and in front of you is the vista of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

View over Loch Lomond from Balloch Country Park

Scenically beautiful, easily accessible and varied, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park offers a truly fulfilling experience for those interested in the outdoors, whether it be walking, hiking, climbing, water activities or just relaxing and taking in the scenery.

It can offer experiences that tourists the world over can and have had last a lifetime, and it's just a bus or short car ride away for every resident in the West Dunbartonshire area.

The flexibility of what's on offer make it easy to understand why Loch Lomond and its environs are so popular. From the southern tip of the loch at Balloch to the northern end at Ardlui and Inverarnan there are things to do and places to see, whether you want the day to be activity laden or simply to enjoy the scenery.

At the southern end of Loch Lomond is the village of Balloch. Well served by public transport from Glasgow, it is easy to get to by road or rail. It is often referred to as the Gateway to the Highlands, and there are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants for any necessary supplies or refreshments.

Car is the most convenient and quickest method of travel around the various roads of the park. Still, due to the excellence and convenience of public transport and Balloch, the opportunity for day trips and short stays can be enjoyed in Luss, Arrochar and Tarbert, Callendar and Balmaha.


Luss: CityLink bus goes from Glasgow to Luss. The quaint conservation village is full of exciting 18th and 19th-century houses, and once visited, the waterbus is nearby to carry visitors on a trip on the loch.

Arrochar and Tarbert

Arrochar and Tarbert can be accessed by train or bus from Glasgow. Lovely scenic walks and if you fancy a bit of a hike, the Cobbler is a strenuous yet worthwhile climb for anyone who has a basic fitness level. From the summit, the views are stunning. On a clear day, it feels that the whole of Scotland is visible.

If lucky, it's possible to spot some red deer and even a golden eagle on the lower slopes.


Callendar is a beautiful village east of Loch Lomond in the heart of the Trossachs. In addition to stopping off place for day-trippers and visitors by transport, it is a central point to restock with supplies and equipment for climbers, walkers and hikers. In summer, there's always a buzz around the place and a sense of meeting. International accents give the place an upbeat, cosmopolitan, energetic vibe.


Balmaha on the east side of the loch is perfectly situated for access to Conic Hill. A short fifteen-minute boat trip, either booked or by boat hire, is worth taking to strong>Inchcallioch. The Island was inhabited until the last person left in the 19 century, and as you walk around the Island, it's possible to visit the small graveyard and see evidence of where some of the cottages were built.

For scenic trips on the loch, booking is easy. There are several cruises to be had from Balloch, Luss, Inversnaid and Rowardennan. Now out of commission, The Maid of the Loch, berthed at Balloch pier, is the last paddle steamer built in Britain. For decades she carried passengers up and down the loch for scenic trips until finally calling it a day in 2019. Sadly, the old girl had run out of steam!!, There is currently activity to restore her, and she is available for hire as a venue but her days as a working paddle steamer are sadly over. Over the years, generations of locals and visitors to Loch Lomond have had the pleasure of sailing on the maid and will have happy memories of her.

River Leven at Balloch

River Leven, just at Loch Lomond in Balloch

Scotland's second-fastest river runs out of Loch Lomond and flows through West Dunbartonshire to the River Clyde at Dumbarton Rock. With the number of walks available from entry points along the River Leven, you can find yourself on the banks of Loch Lomond in no time. The river starts flowing fast about 200 metres past the boatyard, and the bridge that stops all boats from going into Loch Lomond and out are the currents and the flow of the river are not made of most types of boats.


At Balloch, there are plenty opportunities and facilities to book trips and activities. It's possible to book trips to the highlands and islands and throughout Central Scotland. Activities include walking, hiking, climbing, fishing, shooting and sea activities from casual paddle-boarding to water skiing and white- water rafting. If you would rather have a casual, relaxing walk or experience the scenery from the comfort of a tour bus, that's available too.

With Loch Lomond as the focal point and using Balloch as a marker, the park comprises a total of 720m2 with a boundary of 220 miles stretching from the Cowal Peninsula in the west to Aberfoyle and Callendar in the east. From Balloch in the south to Crianlarich, Tyndrum and Killin in the north and even allowing for tourism and human activity, it is a true wilderness area. Conservation and environmental protection are key values inherent in creating and maintaining the park, not just as an area of spectacular beauty but as a microcosm of a typical highland landscape.

There are four distinct sectors of the park, Breadalbane, Loch Lomond, The Trossachs and Cowal.


Breadalbane situated in the North-West end of the park was originally one of the traditional provinces of Scotland with a deep history stretching back centuries. Since the mid 15c, the Breadalbane branch of the Clan Campbell has been the custodians of Breadalbane. For climbers, it's here that 21 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet) are situated, many of them famous in climbing circles – Ben Lomond – the most climbed, Ben A'an and Ben Vorlich.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond comprises the area surrounding the loch as well as the loch itself. It has been voted the sixth most scenically beautiful in the United Kingdom.

The Trossachs

An area of natural beauty comprising hills, glens and lochs stretching from east of the loch to the towns of Aberfoyle and Callander.


A peninsula in the south of Argyll and Bute stretching into the Firth of Clyde, its main town being Dunoon

Loch Katrine

Owned now by Scottish Power, it is the main supplier of Glasgow's water. The Sir Walter Scott offers regular cruises on the loch and there are plenty areas and pathways for cycling and walking. It's also part of the folklore surrounding Rob Roy McGregor.

The Lake of Menteith

The only 'lake; in Scotland. It's home to Inchmahome Priory, where Mary Queen of Scots spent time and is a beautiful visitor attraction. The area was also used for filming in the Outlander series.

The park is home to over 200 species of birds, and most of the wildlife associated with Scotland can be found within its boundaries. All of the leisure activities available adhere to appropriate conservation practices and environmental protection. It's recognised that it's appropriate that tourism and leisure are welcome yet always intending to ensure tourists and conservation can co-exist.

The variety of activities and enjoyment of the park is truly limitless. Whether it's an activity laden outdoor experience you're looking for or some tranquillity to be, The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park has it all. Set against the backdrop of the most stunning natural beauty, you won't be disappointed.

Walks at Loch Lomond

As you well know, there are endless big adventure or wee adventure walks about Loch Lomond and the Balloch area. To read more about these walks, please Click here