Today I want to share my guide to the famous Pap of Glencoe walk in Scotland with you. This hike in the Scottish Highlands is a great way to take in the spectacular scenery in Glen Coe and get some exercise while you’re at it. From Loch Leven to the mountains on the Aonach Eagach Ridge, you’ll enjoy great views along the way.

Pap of Glencoe Walk

Pap of Glencoe Walk

The Pap of Glencoe walk is a popular hike in the Scottish Highlands. This is partly because the mountain is such an unusual feature on the landscape, and partly because it’s a relatively short walk compared to some of the others in the area.

Loch Leven, Scotland

The unique cone-shaped mountain on the north side of Glen Coe is situated at the western end of the Aonach Eagach Ridge. It lies above the meeting point of the River Coe and Loch Leven.

The Pap of Glencoe (Sgorr na Ciche) reaches a height of 2,434 feet (742 meters). It can be seen from all over Glencoe, and it’s an iconic feature of the landscape in the Highlands of Scotland.

Pap of Glencoe

Walking the Pap of Glencoe trail is a popular half-day activity in the area. The 4-mile (6-kilometer) route takes around 3 to 5 hours to complete, depending on weather conditions, fitness levels, and how many rest stops you take.

It’s a challenging hike, but it’s worth the effort. I’ll show you why.

Pap of Glencoe Walkers

Where to Stay in Glencoe

I’m here with a friend on a 4-day Scotland itinerary, and we’re excited to hit the trail.

We arrive in the area and check into our accommodation, The Isles of Glencoe Hotel. We love that our waterfront room has stunning views of the Pap of Glencoe across Loch Leven. The hotel has a swimming pool, sauna, and hot tub, too.

Glencoe Restaurant

Pap of Glencoe Parking

It’s a 5-minute drive from The Isles of Glencoe Hotel to the start of the Pap of Glencoe walk. There’s a small area for parking just down the road from the trailhead (map here), and we manage to snag one of the few spaces.

Pap of Glencoe Signpost

Pap of Glencoe Walking Route

From where we park, it’s a short walk along a flat path to get to the Pap of Glencoe trailhead (map here). It’s clearly marked and easy to follow, and we catch glimpses of the peak as we go.

Pap of Glencoe Sign

Soon we’re passing through a kissing gate to get to the official start of the Pap of Glencoe walk.

Pap of Glencoe Gate

It begins with a short uphill climb along a relatively smooth path. When we arrive at a junction, we turn right to cross over a footbridge and start the next leg of the hike.

Pap of Glencoe Bridge

From here the path throws a few surprises at us. First, it’s rocky. There’s not a bit of smooth ground here, and it takes some concentration to avoid missteps. It’s also raining and there’s a lot of water on the trail.

Pap of Glencoe Trail

The views of the mountains in front of us and Loch Leven behind us grow more majestic with each step, though, so we’re not daunted by the uneven terrain.

View of Loch Leven from the Pap of Glencoe Walk

We hopscotch across rocks in a mountain stream and soon reach a steep vertical section with little forgiving ground. We pick our way up it and find ourselves in front of a wide, rocky area.

Then comes the next surprise: there’s no real path. We head in what we think is the right direction, using the people ahead of us as a guide to where we should be going. It’s not too difficult, but we weren’t expecting it.

Pap of Glencoe Path in Scotland

As the way leads higher, the views get better. We can see why the Pap of Glencoe walk is so popular. Even on a rainy March day the scenery is breathtaking.

Pap of Glencoe Hike

Eventually we reach the base of the cone-shaped summit. It’s hard to pick out the trail from here, and it becomes a bit of a scramble. But we team up with a couple of others and follow the rocky path to the right as it winds up to the top.

Glen Coe View

Just before the summit, the trail disappears. It’s easy to see where we need to go, though, and we make our way to the peak.

Loch Leven View

As we reach the highest point, we can hardly believe the views. There are 360-degree panoramas of the loch and mountains all around us. It’s breathtaking.

View from the top of the Pap of Glencoe, Scotland

After absorbing the scenery and snapping a few photos, we start our descent. That’s when the next surprise comes: the sun. Just as we begin, it bursts out from behind the clouds and shines down for the rest of our Pap of Glencoe walk.

Mountains in Glen Coe, Scotland

The scenery looks so different we almost feel like we’re hiking a separate mountain than the one we came up. It’s great to see the comparison, and to have an easier time going down without all the water on the rocks.

Loch Leven Sunset in Scotland

We even spot a couple of plump white ptarmigans and a flock of woolly sheep as we descend.

We make it back to the car just as the sun is setting, and we’re happy to have finished the Pap of Glencoe walk as the day comes to an end.

Pap of Glencoe at Sunset

The Reward

That evening we reward ourselves for our hiking efforts with a seafood exravaganza at the Fish Restaurant in The Ballachulish Hotel.

The Hot Shells Platter is a 2-person feast. We tuck into everything from lobster to langoustines, oysters, mussels, scampi, and scallops. It’s the perfect way to celebrate a successful hike.

Seafood Platter in Glencoe, Scotland

Pap of Glencoe Walk

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the Pap of Glencoe walk. It’s a great way to get into nature in the Scottish Highlands and enjoy amazing views as you go.

If you want more inspiration, take a look at my country walks blog post. It has a lot more walking routes you can do in the UK. Happy hiking!

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Pap of Glencoe Walk

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