Be prepared to be blown away by the views during your hike to Lost Valley in Glencoe! This hike was one of my favorite activities during our UK trip and it might be my favorite hike ever. Glencoe is a must visit destination in Scotland and in this guide I will provide you with my recommendations for this area (hiking and non-hiking).
Glencoe – Three Sisters Viewpoint
Glencoe is one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland, incredibly lush and green, exactly what you’d expect Scotland to look like. We loved driving around in this area. If you don’t want to do hiking, but still want to experience Glencoe I would recommend to bring a visit to the Three Sisters Viewpoint. There is a small parking lot at the viewpoint, which fills up quickly during summer time. During the day people start parking in the road, which creates dangerous situations. From the parking spot you can do a little walk admiring the Three Sisters (the mountains).
The hike to Lost Valley
We chose to do the Lost Valley hike after researching the internet thoroughly. The hike is classified as an intermediate hike, you have to do quite some rock climbing, but you can get to Lost Valley and back within 4 hours. The hike is 3,5 kms one way. Seemed doable with a toddler on Hielke’s back! Not only is the view of Lost Valley spectacular, but for the largest part of the hike, you will do rock climbing next to a waterfall. Every now and then the waterfall peeps through the trees and you can hear the water flowing the whole time. The landscape changes dramatically from grasslands, to forests to rocks in a short time period, there is no boring part. You even need to cross the waterfall which is quite a fun adventure and there are some steep parts to the hike. I am not super fit, but I do like to climb and I loved every part of this hike! To be completely honest… this hike had a higher fun factor than the hikes that we did in Patagonia.
Lost Valley derives his name from the 1692 massacre, during which the Clan MacDonald used the valley to hide their cattle. Not the most charming part of history… and it is in stark contrast with the sereneness you will experience while being here. During your hike you will definitely encounter other hikers, though this hike is not overly crowded. Most hikers don’t hike down to the Lost Valley itself which is why you will find it incredibly empty. We had the Lost Valley to ourselves while eating our sandwich lunch… and let Hugo play around for a bit until we were ready to hike down again.
Practical information: To start the hike you can park in the parking lot of the Three Sisters viewpoint (make sure to arrive before 10AM to find a parking spot). Surprisingly, the hike is not indicated at all. We parked in the first parking spot driving from Corran and when you look at the Three Sisters from the parking lot you can see a small gorge/gap between the mountains at your left side. That is the direction that you have to walk in and you will ascend this gorge on your hike. Between the mountains you will find the Lost Valley.
Where to stay & midges in Glencoe
For our visit to Glencoe and Glenfinnan we stayed in The Pods by The Shack at Inchtree in Corran. Corran is a 40 minute drive from Glenfinnan and a 20 minute drive from the Three Sisters of Glencoe, so it was the perfect location for both visits. Even though we were traveling with our campervan we still decided to rent a little pod, because Glencoe is also famous for its midges, which are small flies that bite generously. We visited in July during very sunny days and during the day we hardly saw any midges. At night they did come out en masse. We wanted Hugo to have an opportunity to play and that was easier in the pod than in our small campervan. We found lodging in Scotland very expensive and we were happy we didn’t have to pay these prices each night. The pod cost € 165 per night and it came fully equiped with a little kitchen, coffee machine, shower and a Netflix tv. You cannot see it in the pictures but the landscaping was very pretty, but we didn’t make use out of this because we were hiking during the day and inside at night.
If you would prefer to stay in a bigger town I would recommend staying in Fort William. Fort William is a nice town to stay for tourists, you will find many restaurants, super markets, shops and even some beer gardens there. During summer time lodging gets booked pretty quickly, so make reservations in advance.