From Fort William to Inverness, the 77.5-mile (125 km) Great Glen Way follows the Caledonian Canal. Traversing slopes above Loch Oich and the legendary Loch Ness, it also passes Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.

The path gives mainly low-level running on well-constructed paths along canals, an historic railway line, forest tracks, loch shores and open moorland.

Great Glen Way National Trail
© Andrew Clarke

For those looking for a greater challenge, the high level option from Invermoriston has some steep climbs through wooded hills before re-joining the main route, all set against the dramatic Highlands backdrop.

The Great Glen Way is one for those who want decent running paths and great scenery, without severe gradients. Ease of navigation makes it suitable for both experienced trail runners and newcomers.

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Map of the Great Glen Way

Route facts

  • Length 73 miles (117 km)
  • Ascent 7428 ft (2264 m)
  • High point 1253 ft (382 m)
  • Ascent per km 19.5 m
  • Start and Finish
  • Fort William/Inverness
  • Grade
  • Moderate to Strenuous  
  • Season
  • 27th March to 10th October

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  • Urquhart Castle

    Urquhart Castle, taken by Thomas Witzel

  • Looking South along Loch Ness

    Looking South along Loch Ness, taken by John Rose.

  • Urquhart Castle

    Overview of Urquhart Castle.

Trail profile

Great Glen Way Route Profile

Itineraries

3 nights
2 days running

Grade: Strenuous

Fort William

65 km (40.5 miles) and 859 m (2818 ft) ascent

Invermoriston

52 km (32.5 miles) and 1406 m (4613 ft) ascent

Inverness

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Tour code: TGGW-1

Price £260 per person

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4 nights
3 days running

Grade: Challenging

Fort William

50 km (31 miles) and 495 m (1624 ft) ascent

Fort Augustus

37 km (23 miles) and 1152 m (3780 ft) ascent

Drumnadrochit

30 km (19 miles) and 618 m (2028 ft) ascent

Inverness

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Tour code: TGGW-2

Price £315 per person

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5 nights
4 days running

Grade: Moderate

Fort William

36 km (22.5 miles) and 360 m (1181 ft) ascent

South Laggan

30 km (19 miles) and 511 m (1677 ft) ascent

Invermoriston

21 km (13 miles) and 774 m (2539 ft) ascent

Drumnadrochit

30 km (19 miles) and 618 m (2028 ft) ascent

Inverness

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Tour code: TGGW-3

Price £380 per person

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Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are running on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo Runner Supplement: £35 per person / per night
  • Single Supplement: £25 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard): £50 per person / per night

The price you pay includes:

  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, town plans, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Detailed travel information is sent to you on booking, but we have provided a summary below.

Air

The most convenient major cities and international airports are Inverness and Aberdeen. For international flights, the most convenient airports are Glasgow International, Glasgow Prestwick and Edinburgh International Airport.

Rail

There is a railway station at the start of the trail (Fort William). It is located in the centre of town and within walking distance of most accommodations. There is also a railway station at the end of the trail (Inverness), located in the centre of Inverness and within walking distance of most accommodations.

From London – Trains run regularly between Heathrow or Gatwick Airports and Fort William, using several different routes. From Inverness, trains run regularly to Heathrow or Gatwick Airport, using several different routes.

Car

For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit www.theaa.com which has a very useful route planner.

Returning to the start

The easiest and cheapest way of returning to Fort William is by bus. Scottish Citylink coach service 919 departs Inverness bus station for Fort William, Monday to Saturday. On Sunday there is a reduced service.
If you would like to spend a little extra time getting to know the various places along the Great Glen Way, adding an extra night or two into your trail running holiday would give you ample opportunity to explore the marvellous Scottish towns and villages at your own pace.

Many people opt to spend an extra night in Fort William before starting the trail. Dubbed the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ this town is a major resort in the Highlands, with the Nevis Range ski, snowboard and mountain biking centre being one of its biggest attractions. Those seeking dramatic views can visit Glen Nevis a few minutes from Fort William, while the more ambitious athletes can also have a go at climbing Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, with the footpath to the summit starting nearby.

Fort Augustus is a pleasant little village that is also worth exploring. Both the Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre and the Clansmen's Centre can be found here, and you could also take a cruise on Loch Ness in the hopes of spotting the legendary monster said to live in the water. The spectacular Urquhart Castle is also nearby for those interested in its history, while the town itself boasts a range of quaint pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops to explore. Otherwise Fort Augustus is the perfect place in which to unwind and relax in preparation for the next stretch of the trail.

If you fancy somewhere else peaceful for an extra night’s stay, you could consider the attractive village of Invermoriston. There are some lovely places of interest to explore here, including St Columba’s Well, Telfords Bridge and the Falls of Invermoriston, which offers excellent scenery for budding photographers. The village has all the usual amenities available to cater for everyone, giving you peace of mind to explore the local area as you wish.

There is also a lot to see and do in Inverness, where you can extend your trail running holiday with an extra night and celebrate the completion of your run. The castle, cathedral, the Inverness Museum and Balnain House, with its fascinating exhibition of Highland music, are all worth a visit if you are interested in the local history. Inverness also boasts plenty of places to shop, including a Victorian Market and a number of art galleries featuring fantastic local artists, as well as a choice of tempting restaurants and pubs in which to enjoy some delicious food and toast your fantastic achievement.

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