Helensburgh to Balloch

Helensburgh to Balloch

Helensburgh to Balloch
The start/finish of the route is marked by a seat made from Scottish oak and a circular stone plinth with engraved footprints and a John Muir quote. Starting out from this seaside holiday town is a treat. There are more than enough cafes and eateries to choose from in this west coast holiday town before you set off up the hill on your trip. Take time out to look seawards and imagine sailing off to America from those waters like John Muir did well over a century ago. If you’ve time, why not visit the National Trust for Scotland's Hill House and enjoy some arts and crafts splendour. Once up onto the hill you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Loch Lomond against the National Park mountain backdrop. With that tremendous view, the route winds its way down to Balloch, where your first set of home comforts lie.

Path Quality

The Way uses pavements, gravel & grassy paths and quiet roads. Walkers and cyclists share the route for some of the way until just outside Helensburgh where the walkers route heads up over Gouk Hill. 



Key things to note about this route section.

9 miles, 15 km
Average time to complete
4 hours' walking, 1.5 hours' cycling

Forestry operations at Bannachra Muir

From June 2018 until spring 2019, Scottish Woodlands will be carrying out felling, extraction and restocking works at Bannachra Muir on the John Muir Way walkers’ route between Helensburgh and Balloch. 

The John Muir Way will remain open, but users are asked to take extra care and follow any on-site signage and instructions from the contractor. The forest road will have forestry traffic during extraction and may become muddy during wet weather.

The works can be avoided by following the John Muir Way signed alternative via the Three Lochs Way – as shown on the map here

The John Muir Way cyclist route is unaffected.

Points of interest

VisitScotland iCentre, Balloch
Tourist information centre located in the old station building near Balloch train station.
The Hill House
Managed by the National Trust for Scotland, the finest of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's domestic creations, The Hill House sits high above the Clyde, commanding fine views over the river estuary.
Sweeney's Cruises
Luxury cruise options for exploring Loch Lomond.
Scottish Submarine Centre
Scotland only submarine museum has a Stickleback sub on show & audio/visual displays.
The route starts or finishes by the engraved circular stone plinth and seat at the entrance to Helensburgh Pier at the start of the West esplanade.
Maid of the Loch
Loch Lomond's own steam ship experience.
Loch Lomond Shores Retail and Leisure Centre
Retail and leisure centre by Loch Lomond.
Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre
Dive in and let us take you on a fascinating journey from the coastline to the depths of the ocean. Discover a magical underwater world filled with a dazzling array of amazing creatures.
In Your Element TreeZone
A fun way to get a view of Loch Lomond - from the treetops & 65m zip line. Plus other activities available in the national park.
Helensburgh Upper Railway Station
Visit this station if only for the wildflower displays. Planted by local volunteers, the flower collections are designed to attract the maximum number of wildlife species, making a good contribution to creating biodiversity in the area. Helensburgh Upper is part of the West Highland Line.
Helensburgh Town Centre
Modelled on Edinburgh's New Town, Helensburgh owes its creation to Sir James Colquhoun of Luss and is named after his wife Helen.
Helensburgh Heroes Centre
(CURRENTLY CLOSED - we will update on re-opening) The Heroes Centre celebrates over 100 local figures from John Logie Baird to actress Deborah Kerr and houses a 50's themed cafe. John Muir Way certificates, maps & guidebooks are available here.
Helensburgh Golf Club
With stunning panoramic views across the Clyde Estuary towards Arran and over Loch Lomond to the Trossachs, our exciting moorland course is a 'Must Play' experience.
Helensburgh Central Railway Station
Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve
Often known as Bluebell wood, Duchess Wood is a rich and diverse woodland with a variety of different plant and animal species.
Craigendoran Railway Station, Helensburgh
Station south-east of Helensburgh travelling from Glasgow.
Balloch Railway Station
Alexandria Railway Station


Helensburgh's selection of restaurants, cafes and take-away food.
Helensburgh Swimming Pool
You can claim your completer certificate from the swimming pool, located beside the route terminus in Helensburgh. Open 7 days until 8.45pm weekdays/3.45pm at weekends.
Helensburgh Cycles
Bike shop & servicing 50 yards from the route start/finish. Route maps & guidebooks are available here.
Balloch's selection of restaurants, cafes and take-away food.



01389 752 771


01389 752 459/07711 317966

Helensburgh's Hotel and B&B Accommodation
Farmstay Loch Lomond

01389 850231

Eastbank B&B


Cameron Lodges

Self-catering lodges for longer stays

Balmillig B&B

07738 701948

Balloch's Hotel and B&B Accommodation
Arbor Travel Lodge

01389 756233