Loch Morlich Circuit: A family walk or bike ride

Loch Morlich is one of the most popular spots in the Cairngorms National Park. Explore the area around the Loch on a circular walk or bike ride. The route is also suitable for off-road pushchairs.

One thing I would say is that there aren’t that many views of the Loch, as it is surrounded by trees almost all the way round. If you are hoping for unimpeded views, the best spots are along the northern (road) side of the loch, and on the western side.

Distance: 3.5 miles / 5.8 km

Parking: There are several Forestry Commission car parks along the side of Loch Morlich. We chose to start and finish our walk at the Beach car park. In peak season the car parks do full up here, but there are several in the immediate vicinity. There is a charge for parking – information about the car parks and charge is available on the Forestry Commission Scotland website.

Amenities: There are toilets and a cafe at Loch Morlich beach.

Buggy/bike friendly? This walk is suitable for off-road pushchairs (some bumpy patches) and lots of people do the circuit on mountain bikes.

Loch Morlich Circuit: the route

The road runs along one side of the loch, so you could start at any of the car parks along the road. We started at the beach (north-east corner) and decided to walk clockwise.

Loch Morlich Circuit map; note that this map is oriented with south at the top!

1. The whole route is marked by red trail marker posts. Follow these posts from the car park, keeping the shore of the loch on your right. It is worth stepping through the trees here to admire the views of the Loch and the mountains.

2. The path now moves away from the shore, and passes through woodland, including crossing the picturesque burn the Abhainn Ruigh-eunachan.

3. At the south-east corner, there is a short, steep uphill section to join a broader forestry track. It was a bit of a challenge for the pushchair and children on bikes, but it was very short. The route continues on this forestry track for some time before splitting away in the south-west corner of the loch (continue to follow the red marker posts).

4. After a narrower and occasionally rocky section, the route joins up with the Rothiemurchus Lodge track, and there are views up into the mountains on your left. Turn right along the track. Very soon you will see Loch Morlich again on your right.

5. Cross over a bridge to reach the main Loch Morlich road. It is worth pausing on the bridge to enjoy the view down to the loch.

6. Stay on the loch side of the main road, and wind around the shore (following the red marker posts). There is a smaller beach area here with some gorgeous views across the loch. The path now crosses the main road (rather than continuing along the beach shore).

7. The final section of the route runs up above the road, with views (through the trees) of the loch. The path is fine, but walking near a road is never particularly fun. Watch out for the red marker posts at the loch’s end, and cross over the road to return to the beach.

Loch Morlich Circuit: the terrain

The route is mostly wide and level forestry tracks of good quality. There are some stretches that are bumpy with tree routes or with rougher stones.

There is one short but steep uphill section to join the forestry track in the south-east corner of the loch. It was hard work but doable to get the pushchair up this slope.

There is another tricky slope at the ‘Loch Morlich Car Park’ (see map) but this can be avoided by using the vehicle exit.

The suggested red-route exit from Loch Morlich car park. If you have a pushchair, just use the vehicle exit 20 yards to the left, and walk along the verge.

The route does cross the main Loch Morlich road twice, which is something to be aware of if you are travelling with small children on bikes who might get ahead of you.

Things to look for

Look out for raspberries, blaeberries and blackberries in season. There are lots of pine cones to play with, and we saw some interesting mushrooms.

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