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Last updated on March 28th, 2021
Burncrooks reservoir is a man-made body of water that offers a picturesque walk as part of the John Muir Way between Balloch and Strathblane. There is a rough track that circles the reservoir and visitors can easily deviate onto single-track roads that cut through woodland alongside other bodies of water.
Review of Burncrooks Reservoir
The trail is named after John Muir (unsurprisingly) who was born in Dunbar but settled in the US and was instrumental in developing many of America’s greatest national parks including Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park.
It’s fitting then, that a coast-to-coast route is dedicated to him, especially considering the entire length of the 134-mile trail is spectacularly pretty and passes through Scotland’s own first national park at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.
Most walkers choose to do to this route in sections and the John Muir Way website splits it into ten distinct walks, each of which has been chosen to show off the best bits of Central Scotland.
One of these sections – route 2 – starts in the rural settlement of Balloch at the southern foot of Loch Lomond and finishes in Strathblane, giving walkers fantastic views over the Kilpatrick Hills along the way.
But mid-way between these two points is a large body of water that’s worth visiting whether you’re hiking the John Muir Way or just fancy a nice afternoon stroll in an exceptionally peaceful countryside setting.
Burncrooks Reservoir partially supplies the city of Glasgow which lies 5 miles away and it has only recently been developed as a tourist attraction.
The surrounding landscape might seem a bit barren but due to the fact it’s so elevated you’ll get amazing views across the hills to Glasgow and you’ll even be able to see the Campsies and Arrochar Alps from some sections of the path.
This footpath runs in a giant loop on a well-maintained gravel surface (installed as part of a half-million-pound development) that’s mostly level, though there are a few twisting/steep areas so I wouldn’t suggest wheelchair users attempt it, but if you’re mildly fit and fancy a scenic country walk I reckon Burncrooks Reservoir is hard to beat.
Things to do at Burncrooks Reservoir
The best place to start this walk is from the Edenmill Farm shop located west off the A809 near Carbeth. The farm shop is signposted but I suggest you get your sat-nav out as the roads are narrow and fairly non-descript in this part of the country.
Once you get to Edenmill you’ll find a large car park next to the farm shop which is a nice place to stop off for a bite to eat and they’ve gone to great lengths to offer activities to children so if the weather turns grotty at least you’ll have somewhere to take a quick detour.
Inside you’ll find a soft play area, a small go-kart track and a mini-playground as well as a café and a quality butchers and there’s even a dog-friendly outdoor seating area which I thought was a nice touch.
The route around the reservoir and back again is about six miles in total so it shouldn’t take much more than three hours to complete, and thankfully it’s well signposted from the car park so it’s pretty much impossible to get lost.
Along the way you’ll pass through the Auchineden Forest which seems to be a popular destination for both dog walkers and mountain bikers while an equally large reservoir lies to the south that’s partially circled by a road and a rough grass track.
With regards to bikes I personally wouldn’t ride around the reservoir as the path isn’t quite wide enough for walkers and cyclists at the same time, but then there are enough tracks in the area that this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for anyone wanting to get out on two wheels.
Walkers meanwhile are well catered for and the John Muir Way which connects to Burncrooks Reservoir is absolutely stunning in this region of Scotland. If you’re not intending on hiking the route you’ll find lots more trails with an OS map. Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
I’ve included walking directions further down this page and if you follow them you’ll discover that Burncrooks Reservoir opens up as soon as you exit the forest. It’s a surprisingly large body of water and it’s a lovely place to be on a summer day though it’s not quite so nice on a cold and damp morning in February – as you can probably see from my photos.
Still, as a way to escape the city or as part of a walk on the John Muir Way it’s definitely worth a visit, and combined with a trek to The Whangie – yes that’s the name of an actual place in Scotland – you’ll have a very enjoyable jaunt in the Scottish countryside.
FYI – The Whangie is a rock formation in the Kilpatrick Hills that has stunning views towards Loch Lomond. You’ll find the car park to it on the A809 a few miles north of the turn off to the Edenmill Farm shop.
- This walk is just a short drive from Glasgow and there are lots of other trails to discover in the area. An OS map will come into its own for that reason.
- The reservoir is lovely in summer and it’s very quiet mid-week, plus it’s close to Queen’s View and The Whangie so you could easily combine both attractions in one day.
- Got to love the food in that farm shop…
- Take your walk a bit further and follow the path along the John Muir Way to Balloch and Loch Lomond. I detail this walk in my Guide to the Balloch to Strathblane Trail.
- The farm shop café is very reasonably priced and the steak pies from the butchers are delicious.
- Make sure you’re wearing waterproof boots because part of the walk around the reservoir diverts from the John Muir Way so it’s not as well maintained. I bought a pair of Berghaus boots before the walk and my feet have never been comfier.
Things to do near Burncrooks Reservoir
- The Whangie and Auchineden Hill. 45-minute walk. The Whangie is a popular destination for walkers looking for panoramic views of the countryside between Loch Lomond and Glasgow. The hill is best approached from the car park on the B809. The ascent is a fairly gentle incline but the ground gets very boggy after a rainfall.
- Mugdock Country Park and Castle. Milngavie, Mugdock, Glasgow G62 8EL. 20-minute drive. A large country park that is an easy drive from Glasgow. The park features a multitude of paths for walking and cycling as well as areas for sports, children’s play parks and events.
- Balloch Castle and Country Park. Loch Lomond, The Highlands, Drymen Rd, Balloch G83 8LX. 30-minute drive. Balloch Castle is a 19th-century fortified manor house set in large grounds that face Loch Lomond. The grounds are highly-regarded for their ornamental gardens and the nature trails that run through them.
- Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium. Drumkinnon Tower, Ben Lomond Way, Balloch G83 8QL. 31-minute drive. One of the busiest tourist attractions in the area due to its location in the Loch Lomond Shores shopping mall. The aquarium allows visitors to get up close to a collection of animals in large tanks that house fish, sharks, turtles and much more.
- Loch Lomond. Drumkinnon Tower, Ben Lomond Way, Balloch G83 8QL. 30-minute drive. One of the most-visited lochs in Scotland after Loch Ness. The loch covers almost 28 square miles and features well-managed walking and cycling paths around its perimeter. Its position in The Trossachs makes it a popular start and endpoint for walkers.
Address and map
The starting point of the walk:
Click the map for directions
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 3 hours
From the car park go through the gates and follow a tarmac road alongside a hedge, then turn left at an angled T-junction onto a private road.
Follow this road up a gentle incline in a westerly direction to a gate that leads into open countryside. A short way ahead you’ll find a track that leads into the Auchineden Forest which splits into two directions.
Take either one because this track forms part of the Burncrooks Reservoir loop so whichever you take you’ll end up back at the same place.
Once through the forest you’ll find the reservoir opens up in front of you with the newly-laid path ringing the undulating shoreline. This is a great spot to watch the buzzing wildlife at the water’s edge before heading up the incline where you’ll discover those amazing views of the surrounding hills.
At the far end of the reservoir is a signpost that points towards the Balloch section of the John Muir Way, but if you don’t fancy that excursion you can just follow the grassy track around the perimeter of the reservoir.
There’s a water-board building off a small jetty at the far end which is strictly off-limits so skirt around it and you’ll shortly pass a fishing club hut.
From this point it’s a short and easy walk back through the forest after which you’ll follow the exact same route you initially took from the farm shop car park.
Prices and opening times
There is no fee to visit Burncrooks Reservoir.
The reservoir and John Muir Way are open 24/7, 365 days a year.
Website: The John Muir Way
Photos and video
More places to visit in Strathclyde
- Ben Cruachan Dam – Argyll & Bute: Complete Visitor GuideA visit to Ben Cruachan (which isn’t actually a mountain – it’s a Munro) rewards walkers with some of the finest views in the Southern Highlands, especially if they make it to the very top of its summit and gaze down at the multitude of rocky satellites below it.
- St. Conan’s Kirk – Argyll & Bute: Complete Visitor GuideSaint Conan’s Kirk is situated on the banks of the beautiful Loch Awe and it’s widely acknowledged as having some of the best views in the Highlands.
- McCaig’s Tower, Oban – Argyll & Bute: Complete Visitor GuideIf you’re planning on visiting Scotland’s west coast islands by ferry you’ll inevitably travel from the terminal at Oban. While you’re there, take the time to look across the town and up at the hilltops surrounding it.
- Oban Travel Information – Complete GuideOban is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland which is the unofficial capital of the West Highlands. It’s well-known for its ferry services to the Hebrides which has given the town the nickname ‘The gateway to the Isles’.
- The John Muir Way, Helensburgh – Argyll & Bute: Complete Visitor GuideThe start and finish point of the John Muir Way at Helensburgh is indicated by a seat made from Scottish oak and a circular stone plinth with engraved footprints and a John Muir quote, and this route marker is a perfect opportunity to appreciate Helensburgh with its lovely beach and numerous cafes.