Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
There are three national park visitor centers:
- National Park Gateway Centre, Loch Lomond Shores, Balloch, ☎ +44 845 3454978, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A state-of-the-art interpretation centre exploring the nature, geology and social history of the National Park
- National Park Visitor Centre Balmaha, Balmaha, G63 OJQ (In the pretty village of Balmaha, East Loch Lomond), ☎ +44 1389 722100. A stop-off point for walkers on the West Highland Way, local produce and top-up supplies
- National Park Centre, Luss, ☎ +44 1389 722120. Find out about Loch Lomond's islands, the conservation village of Luss, and local walks like the village paths and Luss Glen
The following communities are within the National Park boundaries:
Aberfoyle, Ardlui, Arrochar, Balloch, Balquhidder, Callander, Crianlarich, Drymen, Inversnaid, Kinlochard, Lochearnhead, Lochgoilhead, Luss, Kilmun, Port of Menteith, Rowardennan, Stronaclachar, Tarbet, Tyndrum
The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park became fully operational on 19 July 2002 and was officially opened by Princess Anne on 24 July 2002.
The National Park encompasses around 720 sq miles (1,865 km2) of land including the Loch Lomond area as well as The Trossachs region.
- Balloch at the South of Loch Lomond has trains from Glasgow Queen Street low level, taking about 50 minutes, with generally two trains per hour.
- Garelochhead, Arrochar/Tarbet, Ardlui, Crianlarich, Tyndrum are all on the West Highland Railway, which has around three trains per day from Glasgow Queen Street main level to Oban and Fort William.
- The A82 road up the shore of Loch Lomond is used by the Citylink buses (3 per day)from Glasgow to Fort William.
- Citylink buses from Glasgow to Campbeltown go up Loch Lomond as far as Tarbet and then pass Arrochar and Cairndow on the way to Inveraray.
- From Oban follow the A85, which runs parallel to the train line, and you will enter the park from its north-western boundary. On this route you also pass by Kilchurn Castle at Lake Awe.
- From Stirling follow the A84 and you will enter the park from its eastern boundary at Callander.
No permit is required to enter the park or explore on foot, by bicycle or by road. Permits may be required for fishing, or some boat use.
If you're driving, mind that the road along the northern part of Loch Lomond is pretty narrow for the traffic it has.
Sightseeing trips by boat on Loch Lomond run from Loch Lomond Shores near Balloch.
There is also a useful passenger ferry between Inverbeg (served by Citylink buses) and Rowardennan (at the foot of Ben Lomond mountain).
- Queen Elizabeth Forest Park (From Glasgow follow signs on M8 for Aberfoyle. From Stirling/Callander follow A81 to Aberfoyle via Dukes Pass).
- Breadalbane Folklore Centre, Killin (Easily reached from Aberfeldy and Kenmore (via the A827 along the shores of Loch Tay), and from Crianlarich and Lochearnhead (via the A85 and A827)). April to October 10AM - 5PM. Overlooks The Falls of Dochart at the western end of Killin. Discover the story of Scotland's 'High Country'. Adult £2.75, Child (5-16) £1.80.
- The Falls of Dochart, Killin.
- Glen Ogle Viaduct (Between Lochearnhead and Killin). A hiking trail starting in Lochearnhead is described on walkhighlands.
- Inchmahome Priory, Lake of Menteith (along the A81), ☎ +44 1877 385294. Nov-Mar closed. An Augustinian monastery on an island, where Mary Stuart once hid from Henry the VIII. A ferry runs to the island, but is only operated in Summer. Lake of Menteith is one of the very few lakes in Scotland referred to as "lake" and not as "loch".
- Falls of Falloch (North of Loch Lommond on the A82 and the West Highland Way).
- Benmore Botanic Gardens. See Dunoon.
- Kilmun Arboretum.
- Hike the West Highland Way. The West Highland Way walking path journeys through some of the finest scenery that Scotland has to offer. Traveling from Glasgow (Milngavie) to Fort William, it crosses the National Park and runs the length of the eastern shore of Loch Lomond.
- Conic Hill (Close to Balmaha). 361m high.
- Puck's Glen. Walk Highlands has a detailed hiking trail description for this valley.
- Detailed hiking trails in this area can be found on the Walk Highlands webpage.
- Bike the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path. This is a 16.5 mile route between Balloch and Tarbet
- Fishing. You need to have a permit or permission. See the detailed map of angling locations.
Unusually for Scotland, wild camping is banned on the Southeast side of Loch Lomond. This affects the area near the road from Drymen to Balmaha, and these bylaws were introduced following excessive litter and noise in these areas . Wild camping is permitted in other areas of the park.
- Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel, By Drymen, G63 0AR (It is right on the shore of Loch Lomond, at the end of the road on the Eastern bank), ☎ +44 1360 870259.
- Inversnaid Bunkhouse, Inversnaid, FK8 3TU, ☎ +44 1877 386249.
- Briar Cottages, Lochearnhead, FK19 8PU (M9 Stirling J10, A84 to Lochearnhead, A85), ☎ +44 1567 830443. Briar cottages are holiday cottages for 4 plus 1 pet in the village of Lochearnhead Perthshire.
- Lake of Menteith Hotel (Lake Hotel), Port of Menteith, Perthshire, FK8 3RA (From either Edinburgh or Glasgow follow the motorway to Stirling. At Stirling come off at junction 10 signposted for Callander and The Trossachs (A84). Take this road for approximately 4 miles and take a left fork to Aberfoyle and Port of Menteith etc (A873). Once on this road follow it through Thornhill towards Aberfoyle for approx 9 miles and you will reach The Port of Menteith. Once in the village take your first left onto the B8034 and we are approx 200 yds on the right.), ☎ +44 1877 385258. In The Trossachs National Park yet easily accessible, being an hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh and twenty minutes from both Loch Lomond and the ancient City of Stirling. You drive through some remarkable Scottish scenery and upon reaching Port of Menteith, the Lake unfolds before you with the hotel nestling lakeside. £138-240 per room (2 people) including breakfast.
The following communities are located nearby:
- Doune — features Doune Castle, a 14th century castle with a great view over the landscape, which was used to portray most of the castles in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- Dunoon — has the Benmore Botanic Gardens
- Inveraray — see the Kilchurn Castle which is about 20km north of Inveraray, at Loch Awe