Cycling in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

Published

Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s top cycling destinations (Jonny McKenna/Unsplash)

Loch Lomond National Park is a playground for all lovers of the outdoors, and that includes cyclists. With bike trails that are both well known and off the beaten track, the gateway to the Highlands is one of Scotland’s best locations for days out on two wheels. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly cycle rides or epic bikepacking adventures, you’re in the right place to find the best bike routes in Loch Lomond. 

Can you cycle around Loch Lomond?

The A82 at Ardlui (Craig Bradford/Unsplash)

Much of Loch Lomond’s 20-mile length is bordered by roads and cycle paths, but it isn’t possible to complete an entire loop by bike without some major detours. For a segregated cycle path, start in Balloch and follow the bike path up the western side of Loch Lomond (further details below). It’s also possible to cycle up part of the eastern side, between Balmaha and Rowardennan, but this is on the road and slightly less flat.

West Loch Lomond Cycle Path

Luss, around halfway along the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path (Tarun Narang/Unsplash)

  • Starting Point: Balloch

  • Ending Point: Tarbet

  • Distance: 28 km (17 miles)

  • Terrain: Mostly flat with a few gentle inclines

This popular traffic-free route skirts the western shore of Loch Lomond between Balloch and Tarbet and offers stunning lochside views that just go on and on. This mostly flat option is good for cyclists of all abilities – and because it’s very straight and well signposted, it’s unlikely you’ll get lost. Luss, a pretty village with cafés, pubs and picnic areas, is a popular stop-off point as it is around halfway along the route – there are also benches and places to grab an ice cream or coffee at Duck Bay and Tarbet. 

Handily, the route easy to reach by public transport from Glasgow or elsewhere, as both Balloch and Tarbet have railway stations (Balloch has frequent services that reach Glasgow in under an hour, while Arrochar and Tarbet station connects western Loch Lomond to Helensburgh, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig).

Loch Eck Loop

Puck’s Glen on the Loch Eck Loop (Tomasz Kardasz/Unsplash)

  • Start/end point: Glenbranter car park

  • Distance: 33 km (21 miles)

  • Terrain: Forest tracks and road; frequent steep sections (around 500 metres of ascent)

The Cowal Peninsula is perhaps the quietest corner of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, but this area’s scenery is second to none. This hidden gem of a cycle route is an ambitious day out and requires a good level of fitness; it is also quite remote, so make sure your bike is in good condition before setting off. It’s possible to complete the loop using the road, but we’d recommend sticking to the waymarked cycle trails throughout, even though these involve a little more ascent. As well as Loch Eck itself, nearby highlights include Puck’s Glen (see photo above), a beautiful ravine brimming with moss and ancient woodlands, as well as Benmore Botanic Gardens, one of the most impressive collections of plants in Scotland. A comprehensive description and route map are available here

The route can be modified if you are travelling by public transport by starting and ending at the ferry terminal at Dunoon, approximately six miles from the southern tip of Loch Eck.

The Three Lochs Way

Bike with the Arrochar Alps in the distance (Darren Cowie/Unsplash)

Route Description

  • Starting Point: Balloch

  • Ending Point: Inveruglas

  • Distance: 50 km (31 miles)

  • Terrain: mixed, with mostly good trails and some challenging climbs

Connecting the coastal lochs of Gare Loch and Loch Long to Scotland’s largest body of freshwater at Loch Lomond, this scenic route can be done over one or several days and is popular with walkers and cyclists alike. Starting off at Balloch on Loch Lomond, you’ll head west over hilly terrain towards Helensburgh, with fantastic views over the Firth of Clyde and Isle of Arran as you descend. The route then continues northwards, skirting Gare Loch and Loch Long before reaching Loch Lomond again at Tarbet. 

Balloch, Helensburgh, Garelochhead, Arrochar/Tarbet and Ardlui are all accessible by train, making this a great route to complete using public transport. The section between Helensburgh and just before Arrochar is also outside of the national park’s camping management zone (where wild camping is not allowed without a permit for most of the year), so backpacking is a possibility too. 

Trossachs Loop from Aberfoyle

Dramatic colours at Loch Ard (Jackal/Unsplash)

Route Description

  • Start/end point: Aberfoyle

  • Distance: 50 km (31 miles)

  • Terrain: Mix of tarmac and good off-road trails, with several challenging climbs

This intense full-day route is an exhilarating tour of the Trossachs, a hilly and heavily forested area to the east of Loch Lomond. Starting in Aberfoyle (where there are plenty of bike shops and places to pick up refreshments), the route climbs up the famous Duke’s Pass, widely held to be one of the most scenic roads in Scotland (this section is mostly uphill). After passing Loch Achray on your right you’ll soon see the much larger Loch Katrine on your left. After riding on a flat, traffic-free road along the water’s edge for 13 kilometres, loop back to Aberfoyle, taking in views over lochs Arklet, Chon and Ard along the way.

Bonus – bike and boat itineraries

Boats at Tarbet (Eilis Garvey/Unsplash)

 With bike-friendly boats running from Luss and Tarbet on the west bank of Loch Lomond across the water to Rowardennan and Balmaha in the east, you can mix and match many of the bike routes shown on this page with stunning boat trips. For more information about bringing your bike on the Loch Lomond Waterbus, check out the national park’s website.

Cycle hire at Trossachs Pier, Loch Katrine

With so many routes to choose from, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is a top destination for cyclists of all ages and abilities – including those interested in mountain biking. If you’re ready to start planning your next tour on two wheels, take a look at our wide range of campsites, glampsites and caravan parks in the national park – some of them even have on-site bike hire or direct access to the trails listed above.