Photograph by James Barrett, Alamy
Name: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
Date Established: 2002
Size: 720 square miles (1,865 square kilometers)
Did You Know?
• Munro Country The Trossachs are an appealing belt of hills and lochs stretching across the border between Scotland’s Lowlands and Highlands. In these parts, mountains above 3,000 feet (914 meters) are called Munros (named after the man who first listed them)—and the park boasts 20 of them. The high point is Ben More at 3,852 feet (1,174 meters).
• Four-Part Park The national park is divided into four sections: The hills, mountains, and forests of the Trossachs are dubbed the “Highlands in miniature”; Loch Lomond is Great Britain’s biggest freshwater lake; Breadalbane, the “Land of the Giants,” boasts towering mountains and rugged glens; and Britain’s first forest park, Argyll Forest, stretches out along the seacoast.
• Rivers and Lakes In addition to Loch Lomond, the park is home to nearly two dozen large lochs, many smaller lochs, and more than 50 flowing rivers. Water-based activities from sailing to fishing are popular with visitors and locals alike. The park also boasts 39 miles (63 kilometers) of salty sea loch coastline.
• West Highland Way Walkers enjoy countless opportunities in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. One standout stroll is along all or part of the West Highland Way, Scotland’s famed long-distance footpath, which passes through the heart of the national park.
• Fliers and Flowers Birds (and bird-watchers) are very much at home in the Trossachs, where signature species include golden eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons. The park is also home to the capercaillie, the world’s largest grouse. A quarter of Britain’s flowering wild plant species grow inside the park’s borders.
How to Get There
Half of all the people in Scotland live within a one-hour drive of the park. Glasgow makes an excellent jumping-off point for the Loch Lomond area and buses reach Balloch, the park's gateway town, from the city in only about 40 minutes. Trains also run to Balloch, Oban, and Fort William, and from these communities local transport is available to other park locales. Stirling is an excellent public transport hub.
When to Visit
Scottish winters are cold but local hospitality is sure to warm your heart. In truth there is no bad time to visit Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
How to Visit
Cycling is a great way to explore the park. Try the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path, which wanders along the loch’s west shore. Bikes are available for hire at Balloch, as well as in other park communities.
From Loch Ness to the Isle of Skye, explore the waterways of Scotland on a nine-day voyage aboard the intimate Lord of the Glens.
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Show us your best photos of nature, cities, and people from your travels around the world.