Doing the route

Doing the route

This is a long distance route with a difference!

The John Muir Way is designed for everyone to use, passing through countryside, coastal towns, cities and villages. It offers a window on Scotland's ancient landscape, its industrial heritage and present day urban life. It is well-serviced by both bus and train. If you want to take in shorter loops and day trips or complete the route in sections this is possible too. 

The John Muir Way is 134 miles or 215Km long over easy to moderate terrain and can be completed end-to-end on foot, taking 9-11 days and by bike over 4-5 days. Some sections are also suitable for horseriding.

Most people prefer the prevailing winds behind them, so the map and guidebook describe the route from west to east.

Visit the individual pages on Walking, Cycling, Horseriding and Accessibility for more detailed advice.


Following the waymarkers

The John Muir Way is signed for walkers and cyclists in both directions but we strongly recommend that you also carry a map. As the route is not yet available on Ordnance Survey maps we have created our own PDF versions. Click on the link at the side of the page to go to the map library.


Be aware that signs can go missing or be vandalised, so it's best to have a good understanding of where you are heading before you set out.



A waymarker with a walker and an E will show the direction for a walker heading east.  Similarly, a waymarker with a bicycle and an E will be for a cyclist heading east.

In other places the JMW logo is incorporated into other signs such as the blue National Cycle Network sign.  These can be a bit harder to spot especially if you are travelling at speed on a bike! 



Missing signs

If you think a sign is missing, or has been interfered with we'd love to know - a quick text or email might save someone a long journey in the wrong direction!  Please use the 'Contact' tab at the top of the page to get in touch.

Download the maps

Maps are now available on the individual section pages and by clicking on the link at the side of the page.

Walking the Route

The John Muir Way is a 9 to 11 day walk across the best of central Scotland with many places of natural, historical and industrial heritage along the way. It's worth allowing time to savour them all - as John Muir put it, "It is a good thing, to make short excursions now and then", and to "saunter rather than hike". Visit the main Walking the Route page for more detailed advice.

Cycling the Route

The John Muir Way is a fantastic cycle route. It will usually take about 4 - 5 days depending on your temptation to linger and explore. We suggest using mountain, hybrid or sturdy touring bikes to tackle some of the steeper and bumpier sections, though a few parallel lines ("braids") give you smoother and flatter options. Visit the main Cycling the Route page for more detailed advice.
Bike Hire

Access for All

We are managing the route on the 'least restrictive' principle to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Much of the route is on good quality paths – disused railways, canal towpaths and cycleways, but some sections are steeper, narrower and rougher and may present obstacles, as might busy roads and junctions. The braided sections for cyclists are flatter and smoother, offering greater accessibility. The route section descriptions may provide more information. We will be auditing the route to identify barriers and path conditions so that we can offer more in-depth descriptions soon. Visit the main Accessibility on the Route page for more detailed advice.


There are many opportunities for exploring the John Muir Way on horseback. We know that horse riders face specific challenges on some routes, such as canal towpaths, so we will work with partners such as the British Horse Society Scotland to develop information on each route section. Visit the main Horse-riding the Route page for more detailed advice.

The Interactive map

The interactive map is another tool to help you plan your journey. Use the tabs to switch layers on and off to see the separate routes for different modes of use. The maps on the route section pages have extra tabs for Points of interest, Facilities, Accommodation and Alerts. Click on the pins on the map for additional information.