Burncrooks Reservoir Visitor Guide

By Craig Neil. This post includes affiliate links.

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.

Burncrooks Reservoir



The John Muir Way is one of Scotland’s greatest walking trails, running across the country from Helensburgh on the west coast to Dunbar on the east.

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.

Burncrooks Reservoir

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 attractive 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.

Still, if you’re mildly fit and fancy a scenic country walk I reckon Burncrooks Reservoir is hard to beat.

Burncrooks Reservoir

The highlights

1: 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.

2: 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 those other attractions in a day trip.

Visiting tips

1: 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.

2: The farm shop café is very reasonably priced and the steak pies from the butchers are delicious. If you haven’t eaten, a visit is well worth it. The address is: Stockiemuir Road, Blanefield, Glasgow G63 9AX.

3: 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.

Burncrooks Reservoir

Tourist information

There’s no car park at Burncrooks Reservoir so 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 butcher.

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.

Burncrooks Reservoir

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 of Loch Lomond. You’ll find the car park to it on the A809 a few miles north of the turning to the Edenmill Farm shop.

Burncrooks Reservoir

Walking directions

Burncrooks Reservoir walk 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 an amazing view over Burncrooks Reservoir and 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 the Queen Elizabeth Angling 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.

Burncrooks Reservoir

Things to do

Bird Watching: Burncrooks Reservoir is a paradise for bird enthusiasts thanks to its populations of waterfowl, songbirds, and birds of prey. You can spend hours watching and photographing these birds in their natural habitat, but don’t forget your binoculars (link to binocular reviews) for the best views.

Hiking: Experience the beauty of West Dunbartonshire by embarking on a hiking trip around the reservoir. The trail offers panoramic views of the reservoir and the surrounding Kilpatrick Hills on paths that are suitable for all fitness levels. Be aware that it’s quite a popular destination at the weekend, so you might consider looking elsewhere for walks in solitude.

Picnicking: Pack a picnic and enjoy an outdoor lunch by the serene waters of the reservoir. The area is dotted with spots that are ideal for a leisurely lunch but if you’d rather enjoy a sit-down meal I recommend heading to the Edenmill Farm Shop (address: Stockiemuir Road, Blanefield, Glasgow, G63 9AX).

Fishing: Burncrooks Reservoir is a popular location for fishing enthusiasts. Just remember to check the current rules and obtain any necessary permits before casting your line.

Photography: With its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, Burncrooks Reservoir provides abundant opportunities for photography. Capture the play of light on the water, the atmospheric morning mist, or the vibrant hues of sunset. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur with a phone, you’ll find plenty of inspiration to practice your skills at this reservoir.

Things to do nearby

The Devil’s Pulpit. Glasgow, G63 9QJ. 5.7-mile drive.
This is a natural curiosity that is believed to have been the site of magical rituals and sermons by the devil. The Devil’s Pulpit is a red sandstone outcrop in the middle of a deep gorge that is surrounded by woodland. Due to the colour of the underlying bedrock the water that flows through the gorge has a unique blood-red colour.

Devils Pulpit

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.

Frequently asked questions

How long is Burncrooks Reservoir walk?

The return walking loop around Burncrooks Reservoir from the Edenmill farm shop car park is six miles.

How tall is the Whangie?

The Whangie is a rock outcrop near Burncrooks Reservoir that has an elevation of 984 feet. The path through the Whangie is bordered by sheer sides of rock that are 33 feet high.

What are Burncrooks Reservoir opening times?

Burncrooks Reservoir is accessible all day, 365 days a year. Edenmill farm shop is open 7 days from 9 am to 5 pm.

What visitor facilities are there at Burncrooks Reservoir?

There are no visitor facilities at Burncrooks Reservoir.

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By Craig Neil

Craig Neil is a travel writer from Edinburgh with a passion for visiting Scotland's tourist attractions. Over the last 15 years he has explored Scotland from the Shetland Islands to the Scottish Borders, and he shares his travel experiences in Out About Scotland.