Walking in Scotland: Walks from Glencoe

Submitted by George Farquhar on Mon, 2011-01-17

Coire Gabhail

  • Height: 650 ft
  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Total Time: The walk will only take about 90 minutes, but allow more time if you want to take photographs or have a picnic.
  • Navigation: The path is clear.
  • Starting Point: One of the parking areas near the top of the Glen.
  • Public Transport: None that I know of.

A walk through stunning scenery to a valley hidden high among the mountains of Glencoe. Coire Gabhail, or the Hidden Valley, was reputedly used by the MacDonalds of Glencoe in times of trouble and for hiding stolen cattle.

The photograph shows a view up between Beinn Fhada and Gearr Aonach to Coire Gabhail.

Drive to Glencoe on the A82, and park in one of the large parking areas near the top of the Glen. Here you have fine views of the mountains known as the Three Sisters, and of the path which will take you up between two of them. Head down and left from the car park to a path running along the base of Gearr Aonach, following this path as it leads to steep wooden steps and a wooden bridge high above the river. The rocky path now leads steeply upwards, crossing a stile at the deer fence, and continuing up the narrow path between Gearr Aonach and Beinn Fhada with a deep gully on your left-hand side.

Map of walk to Coire Gabhail.

The path levels out for a while, continuing upwards besides a series of delightful waterfalls and clear, deep rock pools, then crosses the river. This part of the walk can be extremely wet if there has been a lot of rain and the river is in spate. Cross the river and climb up the steep rocky path to reach the edge of the valley. From here the views of Coire Gabhail are stunning. A large valley with steep, snow-capped mountains on three sides – Beinn Fhada on your left, Gearr Aonach on your right, and Bidean nam Bian at the far end of the valley. The bottom of the valley is remarkably flat and grassy, the path leading down to the valley floor and continuing onwards to the back of the valley and Bidean nam Bian. This is an ideal place for a picnic and rest before heading back to the car. Return by the same route.

Map Required:

  • OS Landranger 41: Ben Nevis, Fort William and Surrounding area

Further Information

  • West Highland Walks Volume Three: Arran to Ben Lui by Hamish MacInnes, published by Hodder & Stoughton.
  • The Munros by the Scottish Mountaineering Club.
  • The Corbetts and Lesser Hills by the Scottish Mountaineering Club.
  • The Scottish Peaks by W. A. Poucher, published by Constable.
  • 100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains by Ralph Storer, published by Sphere
  • Walk Oban, Mull and Lochaber, including Fort William and the Lands of Lorn by Richard Hallewell, published by Bartholemew.
  • Fort William Tourist Information Office: Cameron Square, Fort William, PH33 6AJ (01397 703781)


  • B&B at Woodside, Fort William
  • Ballachulish Hotel, Ballachulish, Argyll, PA39 4JY. Tel: 01855 821 582 Fax: 01855 821 463
  • Mansfield House Guest House, Corpach, Fort William, Inverness-shire. PH33 7LT. Tel/Fax: 01397-772262
  • Nevis View Self Catering, Fort William
  • The Isles of Glencoe Hotel and Leisure Centre, Ballachulish, Argyll, PA39 4HL. Tel: 01855 821 582 Fax: 01855 821 463
  • The Lodge On The Loch Hotel, Onich, Inverness-shire PH33 6RY. Tel: 01855 821 582 Fax: 01855 821 463

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