The HighlandsRegions of Scotland

Loch Morlich Visitor Guide

Loch Morlich is a stunning freshwater loch located deep in the heart of the Scottish Highlands near Glenmore Forest. The loch features a sand beach, a sports centre, and a yacht club, while the Glenmore Forest Visitor Centre and the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre are just a 10-minute walk away.

Loch Morlich
PH22 1QU
Opening Hours:24/7
Admission Price:Free
Parking:Paid car park on-site:
£2 for up to 1 hour
£3 for up to 3 hours
£4 for all-day (vehicles up to 7 seats)
£12 for minibus or coach all-day
Blue Badge holders park for free
Contact:Watersports centre:
01479 861 221
Facilities:Cafe, toilets, partial disabled access, picnic area, watersports hire


Craig Neil at Loch Morlich

Loch Morlich is a stunning freshwater loch nestled in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. It offers a distinctive Highland experience amidst lush forests and the snow-capped Cairngorm Mountains, and is well known for its golden sand beach and watersports activities.

Loch Morlich is a picturesque freshwater loch located in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. Surrounded by the magnificent Cairngorm Mountains and ancient Caledonian pine forests, it’s considered one of the most beautiful lochs in the country.

The loch itself is known for its crystal-clear waters, and it’s also the highest beach in the UK, boasting a beautiful sandy shoreline that attracts visitors from far and wide. Loch Morlich offers a range of outdoor activities and recreational opportunities, and water sports enthusiasts can indulge in kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, and open-water swimming during the warmer months.

Hikers and nature lovers can explore the surrounding area which is crisscrossed with scenic trails, and the Cairngorms National Park offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor adventures including hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife spotting.

Loch Morlich is also a popular spot for picnics and family outings as the sandy beach is equipped with picnic tables and barbecue facilities, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy an al-fresco meal while taking in the breathtaking views.

Loch Morlich

The Highlights

1: Loch Morlich is a true gem nestled in the heart of Cairngorms National Park, surrounded by majestic mountains and ancient pine forests. Visitors can bask in the tranquil ambiance, soak in the panoramic views, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty that Loch Morlich offers.

2: The loch is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The loch’s pristine waters provide the perfect playground for a variety of water sports and the surrounding area offers an extensive network of hiking and biking trails.

3: Loch Morlich boasts a stunning sandy beach, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and family-friendly activities. Visitors can bask in the sun, build sandcastles, or take a refreshing dip in the freshwater loch.

Visiting Tips

1: Loch Morlich is a remote area, so it’s advisable to plan ahead and bring any necessary supplies with you. This includes food, water, and basic amenities, as there may not be any facilities open nearby, especially if you visit outside of the tourist season.

2: Combine your visit with a walk into the nearby Cairngorm range. Be aware the funicular is frequently closed but the walking trails are almost always open. See this article: The Cairngorm Funicular for more information.

3: There are a couple of woodland walks you can reach via car parks further up the road towards the Cairngorms ski centre. If you’d like to find more forest walks read this article: Guide to Forest Walks in Scotland.

Loch Morlich

Tourist Information

A visit to this very special part of Scotland has to include a walk through the nearby Cairngorm mountains. There’s possibly no better way to experience the stunning mountain range than by taking a ride on the Cairngorm Funicular Railway which will whisk you to the top of the northern slope in double-quick time. From there, you can head out into the mountain range with its world-class walking trails and sports activities that are available throughout the year.

In winter, there’s a host of snow sports to enjoy, including skiing and snowboarding, and in summer, there’s a network of downhill mountain biking trails to zoom down, while the visitor centre at the top has a restaurant with some of the finest views in the country.

Heading back down the mountain towards Loch Morlich, you’ll find yourself in the expansive Glenmore Forest Park, an ancient fir and pine forest that covers the landscape almost to the horizon in every direction. This forest has been designated a National Nature Reserve and there’s a vast number of wildflowers and birds to see as you make your way through it.

In recent years, the loch has grown in popularity as one of the top locations for water sports in North Scotland. This is in part because there’s dense forest all around the loch, with the exception of its eastern side which has a sizable golden sand beach.

The Loch Morlich Watersports Centre offers a variety of exciting water-based activities and you can either take part in instructor-led lessons if you’re a beginner or hire the equipment if you’re more experienced. If all that exercise works up an appetite, the visitor centre across the road is a good place for snacks and drinks, and there’s also a picnic area nearby if you’d rather take your own packed lunch.

Loch Morlich

Things to Do

Kayaking on Loch Morlich: Experience the serenity of paddling across the calm waters of Loch Morlich, surrounded by the magnificent Cairngorm Mountains. A variety of kayaking options are available from the watersports centre for all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned paddlers.

Sailing Adventures: For those seeking a different activity on the open water, sailing on Loch Morlich is a must. The loch’s open expanse makes it ideal for this sport and lessons are available for beginners, making it a fun experience for all visitors.

Wildlife Watching: Loch Morlich is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Spend a peaceful day birdwatching or looking out for red squirrels and roe deer. If you don’t own a pair of binoculars, check out these reviews.

Winter Sports at Cairngorm Mountain: During the winter months, Loch Morlich offers quick access to the Cairngorm Mountain ski area. With a range of slopes for all abilities, it’s a great place for skiing and snowboarding. Afterwards, warm up with a hot drink at the mountain’s café and bask in the stunning snow-capped scenery.

Hiking the Cairngorms: Loch Morlich is nestled in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park so it’s a perfect base for hiking enthusiasts. Explore the moorlands, forests, and stunning mountain vistas on numerous trails that cater to all abilities.

Loch Morlich

Things to Do Nearby

Cairngorm Mountain. Ski Area, Cairngorm, Aviemore, PH22 1RB. 9-minute drive.
The Cairngorm Mountain range’s main ski and snowboard station. There is a funicular railway that takes visitors up the mountainside to a station that features a gift shop, café, restaurant and an outside seating platform with views across the surrounding mountains.

Glenmore Forest Park Visitor Centre. Glenmore, Aviemore PH22 1QU. 7-minute walk.
One of Scotland’s largest forest areas. The visitor centre is the starting point for most excursions into the forests around Cairngorm whether it’s on foot or mountain bike. There is a café and a visitor information point on-site.

Cairngorm Reindeer Centre. Reindeer House, Glenmore, Aviemore PH22 1QU. 8-minute walk.
This attraction takes visitors on daily guided tours to see Britain’s only free-ranging herd of wild reindeer. There are also a small number of reindeer that can be visited in the centre’s paddocks.

An Lochan Uaine. Aviemore PH22 1QZ. 12-minute drive.
A popular lochan that sits alongside one of the most-used walking trails in Glenmore Forest. The tree-lined body of water has open areas suitable for picnics. It is known as the ‘Green Loch’ due to the unusual green colour of the water caused by the trees reflecting off it.

Strathspey Steam Railway. Station, Dalfaber Rd, Aviemore PH22 1PY. 13-minute drive.
Restored steam train with original carriages that follows a timetabled route from Aviemore to Boat of Garten. The 10-mile track offers stunning views of the Highlands as it passes through woodlands and heather moorland.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the walk around Loch Morlich?

Loch Morlich is a beautiful spot that’s ideal for walking and appreciating nature. The circular walk around the loch’s perimeter is approximately about 3.7 miles long. This trail provides stunning views of the Cairngorm Mountains and the surrounding forest. Depending on your pace and how often you stop to soak in the sights, it can typically take between 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.

Is Loch Morlich a man-made beach?

The beach at Loch Morlich is natural. The scenic beach is officially the highest in the United Kingdom.

Is Loch Morlich deep?

Loch Morlich is a relatively shallow loch with a maximum depth of 49 feet (15 metres).

Can you wild camp at Loch Morlich?

It is possible to wild camp at Loch Morlich, but overnight parking is not allowed in the beach car park. It is also not permitted to have fires and barbecues on Loch Morlich beach.

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.