Ben Lawers is a prominent mountain in central Scotland that’s renowned for its biological diversity and geological features. It’s the highest mountain in the southern part of the Scottish Highlands and the tenth highest Munro in Scotland, with a summit elevation of 1,214 metres (3,984 feet).

Ben Lawers
Address:Milton Morenish,
FK21 8TY
Opening Hours:Ben Lawers is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.
Admission Price:There is no charge to visit Ben Lawers.
Parking:There is a paid NTS car park midway up Ben Lawers 1 mile below Lochan na Lairige. All day parking is £3.
Contact:National Trust for Scotland
Telephone: 01567 820988
Facilities:There are no visitor facilities at Ben Lawers.
Photos:Virtual Tour
YouTube Video


Craig Neil at Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers is the highest mountain in the southern part of the Scottish Highlands. Known for its rich biodiversity, it’s home to various rare alpine plants and is a part of a national nature reserve, offering spectacular views for hikers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Scotland’s 10th-highest Munro is famous not only for the fantastic walking trail to the summit but also for the incredible amount of wildlife visitors will see along the way. Ben Lawers is just one of seven peaks in the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve, but it boasts the title of being the tallest, with its highest point being an impressive 1,214 metres above sea level.

This nature reserve is an exceptionally scenic place, and it’s one of my favourite areas in Central Scotland as not only do you get to experience the wonders of the Ben Lawers and Tarmachan mountain ranges, but it’s just a stone’s throw from the watery expanse of Loch Tay. As a place to get outside and enjoy nature, the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve sure takes some beating.

It covers a surprisingly large 4,500 hectares and is teeming with wildlife, from shy red deer to territorial black grouses and ptarmigans, but there are also skylarks, buzzards, hares, and golden eagles to keep a watchful eye open for.

Ben Lawers

Walking along Ben Lawer’s many trails provides visitors with unparalleled wildlife spotting opportunities, hence the reason it’s one of Scotland’s top destinations for photographers as well as hill climbers. In addition, the nature reserve is famed for the incredibly varied plant life that thrives on the mountain slopes, and most of the seven Munro’s are covered in a variety of arctic-alpine plants.

Visit in summer, and you’ll be blown away by the dazzling colours of the heather and gorse bushes, with the heather sweeping up the mountainside in great swathes of purple and the gorse bushes blooming with fragrant yellow flowers. With the sun shining, the scent of the gorse all around, and the stunning backdrop of Loch Tay, this has to be one of the most scenic places in the country.

Thankfully, such an idyllic region is cared for by the National Trust for Scotland which maintains a car park halfway up the mountainside as well as a footpath and useful marker posts, making the Ben Lawers range accessible to all.

If you want to plan a route before leaving home, I suggest checking out the NTS website as there’s a collection of downloadable trail guides that are worth saving to your phone. Failing that, I recommend packing an Ordnance Survey map into your backpack as you’ll easily be able to find the best routes to climb the mountain.

Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.

Ben Lawers

The Highlights

1: Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve is a great location for wildlife watching. Take your camera or binoculars (link to my recommended optics) as you might see red deer and ptarmigan on your way up the slopes.

2: This is one of the few mountains in Scotland that has a car park midway up it (postcode FK21 8TY). It’s relatively easygoing for the majority of the walk, so Ben Lawers is an ideal mountain for beginner Munro baggers (link to my guide about Scotland’s Munros).

3: The view from the summit of Ben Lawers is stunning. Beinn Ghlas (a second Munro that is traversed en route) is equally scenic.

Visiting Tips

1: Download a selection of pdf trail guides from the NTS website onto your phone before you leave home. The National Trust for Scotland, which oversees the Ben Lawers reserve, has mapped numerous designated trails as well as the route to the summit of Ben Lawers.

2: The car park is free if you’re a National Trust for Scotland member. Becoming an NTS member allows free use of car parks across hundreds of sites in Scotland.

3: There are no facilities at Ben Lawers, but the village of Killin is just 9 miles to the southwest. Killin has a couple of pubs, restaurants, and shops, and is worth visiting for the Falls of Dochart waterfalls.

Ben Lawers

Tourist Information

The NTS has gone to great lengths to rejuvenate the reserve with several schemes designed to reduce the impact that tourists are having on the landscape, which includes asking that you keep to the paths. There are some paths on Ben Lawers where visitors are asked to only use them to ascend and then use alternative routes for the descent to reduce the effects of erosion.

While some might find it restrictive, it’s an essential part of maintaining the fragile landscape, especially with Scotland’s ever-increasing tourist numbers. The trails on offer from the Ben Lawers car park are categorised as lower and upper, with the lower ones offering easy walks with views over Loch Tay, and the upper trails being more of a challenge but with the best views across the Highland mountainscape.

If you have children I suggest trying the lower routes first as they’re still enjoyable but are short enough that little legs won’t get tired, and the two most popular – the Edramucky and Kiltyrie trails – are just one mile in length.

The Edramucky trail is my favourite as there’s such a wide variety of animal species to discover as you make your way along it. There’s also a ‘caterpillar trail’ that aims to show enthusiastic youngsters all the creepy-crawly insects you’ll find in these parts. Adventurous adults, meanwhile, will most likely prefer to bag all seven Munros in the reserve, but if you just want to reach the summit of Ben Lawers, you can either start at Loch Tay or begin your ascent from the mid-level car park.

The path from the car park is easygoing for the majority of its length and shouldn’t pose any difficulty for moderately experienced walkers, but I’d plan on giving yourself at least 5 hours to complete it. From the car park, the path to the summit of Ben Lawers is signposted, and due to the fact that the path is so well-worn, it’s very easy to navigate.

Ben Lawers

The path initially passes through woodland and heather-covered slopes before the landscape becomes steeper and more barren, though even at this point, the route to the top of Ben Lawers is easy-going. The NTS has done a fine job of maintaining the paths, and there are even steps cut into the mountain slopes in several places, with the remainder of the path comprising bare rock and compacted dirt.

One unusual feature about a climb up Ben Lawers is the fact that to reach the summit you have to cross over a lower Munro, Beinn Ghlas, which is a decent climb in itself at 3,600 feet (1,100 metres). There’s no trig point at the top of this first Munro so it’s quite easy to cross over it without even realising you’ve done so, so you might consider doing what I did and download the route file from the Walk Highlands website into the Google Earth app. Alternatively, the GPS file in GPX format can be loaded into any portable GPS device, and even some smartwatches.

Once over Beinn Ghlas, the path continues its ascent to Ben Lawers, but just before the final scramble you’ll notice the path deviates to the west. This is an alternative route back to the car park, and it’s one that I recommend rather than just retracing your steps as the change in scenery makes the return journey more enjoyable.

Forging ahead to the plateau of Ben Lawers, you’ll find a trig point and a view indicator, after which the path continues onwards to the Munros of An Stuc and Meall Garbh. The terrain for both of those Munros is much more difficult to traverse than Ben Lawers, so if you’re a beginner, I suggest heading back to the car park.

Ben Lawers

Things to Do

Mountain Climbing: Ben Lawers is the highest mountain in the southern part of the Scottish Highlands and offers a challenging and exhilarating climbing experience. From the summit, climbers are rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including Loch Tay and Schiehallion.

Bird Watching: The area is home to a variety of bird species, making it a paradise for bird watchers. From the elusive ptarmigan to skylarks and meadow pipits, a visit to Ben Lawers with a pair of binoculars (link to binocular reviews) is guaranteed to be an enjoyable experience.

Wildflower Walks: Ben Lawers is renowned for its alpine-arctic flora and is home to many rare and endangered species of wildflowers. To date, 13 of the flowering plants that grow on the mountain have been categorised as being extremely rare and threatened.

Photography: The stunning landscapes of Ben Lawers provide countless opportunities for photography. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, you’ll find plenty of inspiration to capture some truly memorable shots.

Hidden Lochan: More adventurous hikers might like to take a detour to sit on the banks of the secluded Lochan nan Cat, a secluded body of water surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

Ben Lawers

Things to Do Nearby

Falls of Dochart. A827, Killin FK21 8SL. 15-minute drive.
Scenic falls in Dochart village on the River Dochart. To the north is the Dochart Viaduct and Kinnell stone circle. There are gift shops, a pub and cafés in Dochart.

Ben Lawers Dam. Aberfeldy FK21 8TU. 20-minute walk.
A scenic body of water in the Ben Lawers nature reserve that is easily walked to from the Ben Lawers car park. The 334-metre hydroelectric dam offers stunning views over the Loch Tay valley.

The Scottish Crannog Centre. Kenmore PH15 2HY. 25-minute drive.
An open-air museum that takes visitors on a journey into Scotland’s pre-history. On display are original artefacts, demonstrations of ancient cooking and crafts and guided log boat rides to a replica roundhouse.

Moirlanich Longhouse. Glen Lochay, Killin FK21 8UA. 13-minute drive.
A 19th-century conserved traditional cottage that offers an insight into rural life in Scotland.

Falls of Acharn. Aberfeldy PH15 2HT. 32-minute drive.
A waterfall on the southern side of Loch Tay near the village of Acharn. The walk to the falls is highly-rated as it passes through a very scenic beech tree woodland.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to walk up and down Ben Lawers?

Ben Lawers is widely regarded as one of the easiest Munros to climb, with the 6.75-mile return route taking approximately 4-6 hours to complete. The mountain is the 10th-highest in Scotland and has a summit of 3,984 feet.

Can you take a dog up Ben Lawers?

Ben Lawers is an accessible peak in the Central Highlands, and the shallow track to the summit is possible for most dog breeds.
Note that there is often livestock on the hills surrounding Ben Lawers so all dogs should be kept under control as advised in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

How much is the car park at Ben Lawers?

The car park at Ben Lawers has an all-day fee of £3 (as of 2022). The car park is located 2 miles north of the A827, postcode FK21 8TY.

How many Munros are in the Lawers range?

There are 7 Munros in the Lawers range; Ben Lawers, Meall a Choire Leith, Meall Corranaich, Beinn Ghlas, An Stuc, Meall Garbh, Meall Greigh.

Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.