The Complete Guide to Visiting Loch Morlich in the Highlands

Last updated on September 25th, 2020


Loch Morlich in the Highlands

Loch Morlich is a stunning freshwater loch deep in the heart of the Cairngorms and Glenmore forest with a sand beach, a sports centre and a yacht club.

Category: Beach, Forest or woodland, Loch, Mountain

Suitable for ages: 0 to 10 years, 11 to 18 years, 18+ years, 65+ years

Ideal for: Couples, Families, Groups, Solo travellers

I rate it: 8 out of 10

Craig Smith

About Loch Morlich

Located deep in the heart of Scotland’s beautiful Strathspey area is Loch Morlich, a natural freshwater loch that’s considered to be one of the finest in the Highlands. It’s not difficult to understand why this particular loch is so highly regarded either.

There’s so much do here that I can safely say it’s impossible not to have a great time, and yet Loch Morlich is almost criminally unknown about by many of Scotland’s visitors.

First off there’s the location of the loch, which lies at the bottom of the Cairngorm mountain range just a few miles from Aviemore, and secondly there’s the lovely Glenmore Forest which surrounds it on all sides.

So not only have you got mountain sports and hill walking trails within easy reach, but you’ve also got fantastic walking and cycling trails running through the nearby forest as well. And all that’s before you’ve even ventured out into the loch to enjoy the wide variety of watersports on offer.

Loch Morlich

It’s the view that first hits you though, and you’ll probably have trouble taking it all in as you walk out of the adjoining car park and set foot onto a glorious expanse of a natural sandy beach with the waves of the crystal clear loch gently lapping at the shoreline.

If you close your eyes you could momentarily be forgiven for thinking that you’re on some remote exotic beach in another country, but opening your eyes again only confirms that you’re still in Scotland, with the immense snow-capped peaks of the Cairngorms rising high into the clouds on one side and the deep-green Scottish pines of Glenmore Forest sweeping away into the distance in every other direction.

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If you’re a tourist in search of the best outdoor experiences that Scotland has to offer you could do a lot worse than take a trip to Loch Morlich.

Loch Morlich

Things to do at Loch Morlich

A visit to this very special part of Scotland has to include a walk through the nearby Cairngorm mountains, and there’s possibly no better way to experience these majestic peaks than by taking a ride in the Cairngorm Funicular Railway which will whisk you up to the top of the northern slope in double-quick time.

From there you can head on 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 whole network of downhill mountain biking trails to get your adrenaline rush on, while the top station of the railway has a restaurant with some of the finest views in Scotland.

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 as a National Nature Reserve and there’s a vast number of wildflowers and birds to see as you make your way through it on one of the many paths that have been laid throughout the area.

Loch Morlich

And you won’t ever have to feel like you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere when hungry bellies start growling either as there’s a really good cafe in the centrally located Glenmore Visitor Centre, while just across the road is the highlight of the forest – Loch Morlich.

The loch is surrounded by the impossibly thick forest in all directions and it’s fringed by golden-sand beaches most of the way around, all of which goes some way to explaining why in recent years it’s become one of northern Scotland’s most popular sites for watersports.

The Loch Morlich Watersports centre offers a variety of exciting water-based activities including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and paddleboarding, and you can either take part in instructor-led lessons if you’re a beginner or hire the equipment if you’re more of a seasoned watersports enthusiast, but whatever your reason for visiting the centre I can safely say you’ll have a great time.

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If you’re not feeling quite so energetic you can simply sit on the sand and soak up some of the suns rays (in summer at least) or paddle out into the loch for a bit of seaside fun (interesting fact –  Loch Morlich is officially the UK’s highest beach).

The visitor centre back across the road has plenty of snacks and ice creams but there’s also a picnic area on the site if you want to bring your own packed lunch. The only thing you’re not allowed to do is camp in the recreational areas, which is fair enough I think.

All-in-all you really owe it to yourself to visit this amazing beach resort located deep in the heart of Scotland’s most impressive mountain range.

If you’d like more ideas for sightseeing in the Highlands take a look at my Scottish Highlands articles.

The highlights

  • The beach and loch are very clean. No problem letting the kids go wild here.
  • The views are incredible – mountains to one side, forest to the other.
  • The watersports on offer are excellent and the equipment rental is pretty reasonable.

Visiting tips

  • Take a pair of flip-flops so you can potter about in the loch after walking through the woodland.
  • Combine your visit with a walk up the nearby Cairngorms.
  • There are a couple of woodland walks you can reach via cap parks further up the road towards the Cairngorms ski centre.

Photos and video

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Streetview

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Address and map

Loch Morlich,
near Glenmore village,
PH22 1QU

Click map for directionsGoogle Map of loch morlich


Tickets and opening times

Pre-book Loch Morlich tour tickets here.

Loch Morlich is free to visit. Car parking charges apply.

Loch Morlich is open 24 hours, all year.


Contact details


Facilities

Getting there: Car park on-site

Getting around: Uneven paths

On-site conveniences: Picnic area,Toilets