Routes:

Try a micro-adventure


Looking for inspiration for your next day off? Explore these day trip routes and discover some of the best walking and cycling days out in central Scotland. Each is based around a part of the main John Muir Way coast to coast, but uses other local paths to create a loop, a return journey, or has public transport to get you back to your starting point. Click on the map icons or browse the list below for details.

DAY TRIPS

Walking Routes

Helensburgh - Ben Bowie Loop

Length: 10 miles, 16 km    Difficulty: High

This half-day walk follows the John Muir Way and Three Lochs Way to create a loop that has a bit of everything, from seaside cafes to remote hilltops.
Helensburgh Highlandman’s Hike

Length: 6.5 miles, 10.4 km    Difficulty: Medium

This short walk is a great way to explore the immediate surroundings of Helensburgh initially along the John Muir Way before joining local footpaths to Rhu.
Edenmill to the Whangie

Length: 8 miles, 12.8 km    Difficulty: Medium

Starting and finishing at Edenmill Farm, this walk provides a taste of the most remote John Muir Way section, without the need to walk all 18 miles of it!

Antonine Wall Trail

Length: 6.5 miles, 10.4 km    Difficulty: Medium

Step back in time to the Roman occupation on this trek over two of the Antonine Wall’s former hill forts. Starting at Auchinstarry Marina on the Forth & Clyde Canal, you’ll have a good flat warm-up before climbing to Bar Hill Roman Fort.
Falkirk Wheel to Callendar

Length: 10.5 miles, 16.8 km    Difficulty: Medium

Starting at the iconic Falkirk Wheel, this loop of the outskirts of Falkirk takes in peaceful forest trails, the Union Canal and the imperious Callendar House. Climbing from the Wheel, follow the John Muir Way walking route, which meanders its way through woodland and down to the Union Canal.
Falkirk - Kelpies Walking Tour

Length: 11.5 miles, 18.4 km    Difficulty: Medium

This tour of Falkirk’s surroundings takes in some of the most iconic landmarks in the area. Starting at Callendar Park, you’ll follow the John Muir Way past the impressive Callendar House before climbing through the huge trees of Callendar Wood to reach the Union Canal.
Explore Linlithgow and Muiravonside

Length: 8 miles, 12.8 km    Difficulty: Low

Explore the historic town of Linlithgow, cross the Avon Aqueduct and connect with nature along the River Avon on this 8-mile walk. Starting and finishing in Linlithgow, you will climb from the train station up to the Union Canal.
Kinneil - Blackness Walk

Length: 6.5 miles, 10.4 km    Difficulty: Low

This trip along the coast will take you from one slice of Scottish history at Kinneil, to another at Blackness, via the local nature reserve on the Firth of Forth.
Fisherrow to Port Seton

Length: 6 miles, 9.6 km    Difficulty: Low

Explore the Firth of Forth coastline just east of Edinburgh on this walk along the John Muir Way. Starting at Musselburgh’s Fisherrow Harbour, hug the coastline past the ash lagoons with their rich birdlife. Look out for the hundreds of swans that patrol the Forth here too.
North Berwick Sand Castle Stroll

Length: 4.5 miles, 7.2 km    Difficulty: Low

Make sure you pack a bucket and spade for this mini-adventure that will take you from the sandcastles of Yellowcraig Beach to the real thing at Dirleton.
North Berwick Law to Tantallon Castle

Length: 6 miles, 9.6 km    Difficulty: Medium

Enjoy some of the best viewpoints in East Lothian on this hill climb and coastal walk that links North Berwick Law with Tantallon Castle.
Dunbar to East Linton

Length: 8 miles, 12.8 km    Difficulty: Medium

This small section of the John Muir Way coast to coast boasts some of the finest views. Leaving from John Muir’s Birthplace, your first treat is the clifftop walk with its many steps and sea stacks.

Cycling Routes

Helensburgh - Glen Fruin Loop

Length: 15 miles, 24 km    Difficulty: Medium

Departing from the western end of the John Muir Way at Helenburgh’s waterfront, this short but hilly road route rewards with views of Glen Fruin, Gare Loch and the Clyde coast. Climb from the waterfront along quiet streets to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s famous Hill House.
Helensburgh - Balloch Loop

Length: 17 miles, 27.2 km    Difficulty: High

This half-day cycle uses both the walking and cycling John Muir Way routes to create a loop connecting Helensburgh to Balloch with stunning views over Loch Lomond. For the section that follows the walking path, a suitable mountain or gravel bike with fat tyres is essential.
Kilpatricks Off-Road Epic

Length: 27 miles, 43.2 km    Difficulty: Expert

The most remote section of the John Muir Way is the venue for this challenging but beautiful mountain/gravel bike loop, using both the walking and cycling waymarked routes.
Strathkelvin Railway Path

Length: 16 miles, 25.6 km    Difficulty: Low

This easy out-and-back ride along the old railway provides a relaxing day’s traffic-free exploration off the main canal towpath, making it an ideal family choice.
Kilsyth & Auchinstarry Loop

Length: 7 miles, 11.2 km    Difficulty: Low

This circular route leads riders through a diverse array of landscapes as it takes in the areas of Auchinstarry, Twechar, Kilsyth, Colzium and Banton Loch.
Wheel to Callendar

Length: 10.5 miles, 16.8 km    Difficulty: Medium

Starting at the iconic Falkirk Wheel, this loop of the outskirts of Falkirk takes in peaceful forest trails, the Union Canal and the imperious Callendar House. Climbing from the Wheel, follow the John Muir Way walking route, which meanders its way through woodland and down to the Union Canal.
Tour of Falkirk & The Kelpies

Length: 11.5 miles, 18.4 km    Difficulty: Low

This tour of Falkirk’s surroundings takes in some of the most iconic landmarks in the area. Starting at Callendar Park, you’ll follow the John Muir Way past the impressive Callendar House before climbing through the huge trees of Callendar Wood to reach the Union Canal.
Helix Around Town Trail (Hartt Route)

Length: 16 miles, 25.6 km    Difficulty: Medium

Beginning at The Helix Park, this circular route travels by cycleway, towpath and woodland trail, linking the Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel and Callendar Park. The route links 16 communities around Falkirk’s perimeter, and takes in many of the area’s lesser known ‘hidden gems’ and attractions.
Linlithgow – Blackness History Tour

Length: 17 miles, 27.2 km    Difficulty: Medium

Take a tour of the history and wildlife of the West Lothian and Falkirk areas on this circular ride. Starting and finishing in Linlithgow, you’ll cycle to some of the most spectacular historic sites on the John Muir Way.
Linlithgow & Blackness Castle (short loop)

Length: 10 miles, 16 km    Difficulty: Medium

Setting off from the historic town of Linlithgow, historically the county town of West Lothian, this loop route gives a true insight into the area’s rich history.
Kinneil - Blackness Cycle

Length: 13 miles, 20.8 km    Difficulty: Low

This trip along the coast will take you from one slice of Scottish history at Kinneil, to another at Blackness, via the local nature reserve on the Firth of Forth. The return trip is 13 miles.
Forth Bridges Loop

Length: 48 miles, 76.8 km    Difficulty: Medium

Starting and finishing at Haymarket Station in Edinburgh, this 48-mile loop can be done as a long day ride but is ideally split in two with an overnight stop in Linlithgow or Bo’ness.
Fisherrow to Aberlady Bay

Length: 25 miles, 40 km    Difficulty: Medium

Explore the Firth of Forth coastline just east of Edinburgh on this cycle along the John Muir Way. Starting at Musselburgh’s Fisherrow Harbour, cross the River Esk and hug the coastline past the ash lagoons with their rich birdlife.
North Berwick - Dirleton Loop

Length: 14 miles, 22.4 km    Difficulty: Medium

This route is a great taster of what East Lothian can offer, with a mix of road and off-road trails, suitable for a mountain or gravel bike or hybrid.
North Berwick - Tantallon Tour

Length: 14 miles, 22.4 km    Difficulty: Medium

Explore the dramatic East Lothian coast and countryside along quiet country lanes. Leaving from North Berwick pier, this route takes in clifftop views, an ancient castle and sandy beaches.
Dunbar - North Berwick Loop

Length: 27 miles, 43.2 km    Difficulty: High

Enjoy quiet roads and sandy footpaths on this tour of the easternmost section of the John Muir Way. Following the waymarked cycle route from Dunbar, you’ll head along the coast to Belhaven before turning north towards Whitekirk and then North Berwick.

Difficulty Grading


To help find the right route for you, we've graded each day trip's difficulty level, from low to expert. 

 

LOW

Expect a relatively short and flat route, with few challenging gradients. These should take under 3 hours to complete.

MEDIUM

These are slightly longer half-day to full-day routes and may have some hills to negotiate.

HIGH

A combination of long distance and steep climbs or a significant amount of rugged terrain. These will test your fitness.

EXPERT

Reserved for the most challenging routes where you'll need a combination of very good fitness and plenty of time.