The beautiful countryside surrounding Ballater is bursting with opportunities for adventure and scenic walks. Our skyline is filled with mountain scenes, including the stunning Lochnagar, giving you plenty to tick off your walking list. It doesn’t stop up high; there are plenty of paths and trails waiting for you! The high mountains are set back behind rolling foothills clad luxuriantly in Scots pine, and the mighty river sweeps past Balmoral Castle en route to Ballater. As well as the pinewoods there are stunning lochs. Amongst them is Loch Muick, stern and majestic, whilst Loch Kinord is more intimate, fringed by the beautiful birchwoods of the Muir of Dinnet. To the south is the Mounth, a range of plateaux almost as extensive as the Cairngorms themselves, all presided over by the grand peak of Lochnagar.

You’re guaranteed that, no matter the season, a country walk will be just around the corner. Take a leisurely stroll along meandering river banks, make steps through captivating forests and tread on exposed paths with a hidden incline to challenge, our countryside is packed with routes of escapism and adventure. The 41 mile long Deeside way is a popular route which follows the line of the Old Royal Deeside Railway and takes walkers on a scenic route from Aberdeen to Ballater. You can download a copy of our Ballater Paths Leaflet Here.

Walking links

Deeside Way

The Deeside Way is a 67 km (42 mile) long distance path that follows, in part, the bed of the former Deeside Railway, running from near the centre of Aberdeen, oil capital of Europe, to Ballater, in the Cairngorms National Park.

Cambus O May

Come for endless darting dragonflies on the lochans and in winter for snow-clad views of the surrounding mountains. The woodland here is classic Scots pine with a carpet of heather and blaeberry - ideal habitat for capercaillie and black grouse.

Muir of Dinnet

Walkable from Ballater, the Muir of Dinnet is one of 8 National Nature Reserves in the Cairngorms National Park. It includes Loch Kinord and Loch Davan as well as the famous Burn o’ Vat (or to some MacGregor’s Cave) – a very large barrel measuring 18 metres across and 13 metres high formed by melting ice 14,000 years ago! The Visitor Centre at the Burn o’ Vat is open daily and as a guide there is a network of 4 paths to explore the Reserve.

Hillgoers

Based in Deeside, Hillgoers team of qualified Mountain Leaders offer bespoke guided walks (low and high level), navigation awards, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, corporate events, outdoor learning and much more.
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Loch Muick

Loch Muick is an upland, freshwater loch lying approximately 9 miles south of Ballater, Scotland at the head of Glen Muick and within the boundary of the Balmoral estate.

Ballater Walking Festival

Ballater Walking Festival takes place on the third week of May every year and welcomes over 100 walkers to Ballater. There are up to 4 walks offered every day ranging from easy, medium, strong and special interest. Transport

Tullich Kirkyard

A nationally important Scheduled Monument to the east of Ballater – has been undergoing a sensitive repair and consolidation led by Aberdeenshire Council with support from the North East Preservation Trust (NESPT).

Craigendarroch Hill

Ballater sits at the foot of Craigendarroch Hill – Craigdendarroch may be a small hill, but it has a big place in the affections of Ballater folk. Its oakwood-clad flanks are steep making its ascent an enjoyable but arduous little walk. The views are superb!

Burn O’ Vat

Burn O'Vat, an amazing bowl-shaped geological feature which was carved out by glacial melt at the end of the last Ice Age. The walk is situated in the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve which has many more trail options.   Burn o’ Vat is an example of a pothole, located close to Loch Kinord, near the village of Dinnet in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.