This active 9-day hiking itinerary travels through some of Scotland’s most spectacular landscapes. Starting in the heart of the Highlands, you’ll walk along the West Highland Way, experiencing the wild beauty of Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe. The first leg of your walking journey ends at the adventure capital of Fort William, where you’ll get the chance to scale Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak. After a memorable ride on the historic Jacobite Express Steam Train, board a ferry for the Isle of Skye, where you’ll have three days to explore the rugged mountains, secluded coves, and idyllic villages of the Inner Hebrides.

Highlights

  • Walk a portion of the famous West Highland Way
  • Experience the wild beauty of Rannoch Moor & Glen Coe
  • Climb Ben Nevis, the UK's highest peak
  • Explore the coastal scenery & quaint villages of Skye
  • Discover diverse nature & wildlife including eagle, otter & seal spotting

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive at Bridge of Orchy Bridge of Orchy
Day 2 Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse Glencoe
Day 3 Kinghouse to Kinlochleven Kinlochleven
Day 4 Kinlochleven to Fort William Fort William
Day 5 Fort William & Ben Nevis Fort William
Day 6 The Jacobite Express Steam Train & Isle of Skye Broadford
Day 7 Hike Skye's Southern Coast Broadford
Day 8 Explore the Isle of Skye Broadford
Day 9 Travel to Glasgow & Departure Glasgow

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Bridge of Orchy

The winding paths of the West Highland Way.
The winding paths of the West Highland Way.

Your hiking adventure begins in the heart of the Highlands, at the charming village of Bridge of Orchy. Settle into a local inn and rest up for tomorrow’s first day of walking on the West Highland Way.

Day 2: Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse

Glen Coe's dramatic volcanic landscape.
Glen Coe's dramatic volcanic landscape.

Your first day on the West Highland Way takes you through the beautiful and remote Rannoch Moor before crossing Glen Coe, home to some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the UK. Pass the impressive Buachaille Etive Mor to arrive at Kingshouse, one of Scotland's oldest inns and your base for the night.

Walking distance: 13 miles (21 km)

Day 3: Kinghouse to Kinlochleven

The shores of Loch Leven.
The shores of Loch Leven.

On day three, you’ll hike from Kingshouse over the Devil's Staircase, the highest point on the West Highland Way. A steep ascent climbs 1,797 feet (548 m,) rewarding you with sweeping views over Glen Coe and Ben Nevis. Finish up the day on the pristine shores of Loch Leven, settling in for the night in the secluded village of Kinlochleven.

Walking distance: 10 miles (16 km) 

Day 4: Kinlochleven to Fort William

The trail to Ben Nevis, just outside Fort William.
The trail to Ben Nevis, just outside Fort William.

This final section of the West Highland Way takes you from Lairig Mor to Fort William, crossing the beautiful valley of Glen Nevis and skirting the foot of Ben Nevis. The loch-side town of Fort William welcomes you for the night—known as the “adventure capital of the UK,” its location between crystal clear lakes and snow-capped mountains draws outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world.

 Walking distance: 14 miles (23 km)

Day 5: Fort William & Ben Nevis

Hikers on the ascent to Ben Nevis.
Hikers on the ascent to Ben Nevis.

Today is yours to enjoy your last day in the Highlands before heading to the Isle of Skye tomorrow. Relax and recharge, visit a local distillery, or lace your hiking boots back up and scale the nearby Ben Nevis

The ascent up the UK’s highest mountain is a relatively easy four-hour walk, although it can be made difficult by poor weather. Starting from nearly sea level, you’ll climb 4,500 feet (1,371 m) to the summit for jaw-dropping views across the Highlands and lochs. Learn more about the mountain and its history by arranging for a local mountain guide, who’ll share their knowledge while leading you on a perfectly planned climb.

Day 6: The Jacobite Express Steam Train & Isle of Skye

The Jacobite Express crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct on its way to the coast.
The Jacobite Express crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct on its way to the coast.

Today you’ll travel to the coast in style, embarking on one of the most memorable train journeys in the world. Hop on the historic Jacobite Express Steam Train in Fort William and travel through magnificent scenery to reach the seaside port of Mallaig on Scotland’s west coast. Here you’ll catch the ferry to the Isle of Skye, arriving at Armadale and transferring to the village of Broadford. Serving as your base for the next three nights, this pretty seaside fishing town lies nestled beneath the motherly shape of Ben na Calliach (the hill of the old woman.) 

The Isle of Skye is the largest island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, with a coastline of peninsulas and coves radiating out from a mountainous center. As well as daily walks and hikes, you’ll have plenty of options for excursions, including guided boat trips out of Kyle and Kyleakin, bicycle rentals, kayaking lessons, and seaplane trips.

Day 7: Hike Skye's Southern Coast

Elgol Beach on Skye's south west coast.
Elgol Beach on Skye's south west coast.

Venture deeper into Skye’s remarkable island landscapes today with a choice of walks: 

  • Grab a local bus to Camus Mallaig and walk back via the ruined crofting townships of Boreraig and Suisnish, taking in panoramic coastal views along the way.  
  • Transfer to Elgol and take the small ferry to explore the breathtakingly beautiful Loch Coruisk.
  • Hop on a ferry and explore Rum, Eigg, and the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides for the day.
  • Take a dramatic circular walk from Kilmarie, passing Camasunary and Elgol along rough and narrow coastal paths. Keep an eye out for grey seals popping out of the waves, and a diverse array of sea birds along the clifftops. 

Day 8: Explore the Isle of Skye

Dunvegan Castle standing sentry over Loch Dunvegan.
Dunvegan Castle standing sentry over Loch Dunvegan.

Start your final day on Skye with a tour of the island’s most famous sites. Start at the geological wonder of the Trotternish Peninsula, passing the Old Man of Storr before continuing to the 200-foot Kilt Rock waterfall. From here, you’ll cross into the strange landscape of the Quiraing, a volcanic wonder that’s considered one of the most beautiful places on the island. 

Continue west to discover Skye’s only remaining inhabited castle. Home to Clan Macleod for the last 800 years, Dunvegan Castle and Gardens is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the area's history, boasting the longest continuous habitation of any castle in Scotland. You can also cross the bridge to the mainland to visit the iconic Eilean Donan.

Day 9: Travel to Glasgow & Departure

Sunset over the Isle of Skye's coast.
Sunset over the Isle of Skye's coast.

Today you’ll bid a reluctant farewell to the magic of the Scottish Highlands and islands

After breakfast, take a local bus or transfer to Armadale, then catch a ferry to Mallaig, where you’ll transfer to Glasgow and continue your journey home.

Map

Map of Hike Scotland's Highlands & Islands: Glen Coe, Ben Nevis & the Isle of Skye - 9 Days
Map of Hike Scotland's Highlands & Islands: Glen Coe, Ben Nevis & the Isle of Skye - 9 Days