Learn the history behind Scotland's ancient castles and buildings
This 9-mile section of the John Muir Way takes around 4 hours to walk for someone of average fitness.
Easy-medium. This first section of the John Muir Way uses pavements, gravel & grassy paths and quiet roads. The section that runs through the national park can be muddy in places, especially in winter.
The 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. The walk takes a little while to get going as it heads through the town, but at least you will get the chance to view the impressive Hill House, built in 1904 and managed today by the National Trust for Scotland. After following the A818 you finally get to immerse yourself in the beauty of The Trossachs, with the majority of the route giving superb views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding mountains. Your final destination at Balloch is equally rewarding with the pier at Loch Lomond allowing you to view the famous Maid of The Loch, the steamship that has sailed the loch since 1953.
From the route marker on the sea-front at Helensburgh, head north along the roadside paths until you reach the junction of Kennedy Drive. You can head a little way further north if you like to take a look at The Hill House, before heading back to Kennedy Drive and on to the A818. As you approach the signs for The Trossachs National Park, turn east onto the John Muir Way and follow the track all the way to Balloch. The trail finishes in Balloch centre, but since you’re so close to Loch Lomond you can take the time to view the Loch Lomond Sea Life centre and Balloch Pier.
Note: This map is interactive, so scroll around and zoom in and out as much as you like.