Most of our visitor centres, car parks and mountain bike trails are now open. Check what’s open near you before you travel and enjoy your visit safely.

Skip to main content

Achnabreac

Where we are

Achnabreac Forest Notices

COVID-19 has changed lots of things we do. And as we re-open the majority of our facilities and welcome more of you back in Phase 3, we need your help to do it safely. Please check what’s open before you travel; enjoy your visit safely by following NHS and Scottish Government guidance; take your litter home with you; and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

At this location:

  • The car park is open and normal charges (if any) now apply.
  • All mountain biking trails are closed. Before they can reopen, we need to check they are safe, carry out any necessary repairs, clear fallen trees and branches and remove fly tipping and litter.

Please bear with us and check back regularly for updates. You can also find more information by visiting our COVID-19 page and our FAQs.

Step back in time and discover 4,000 year-old rock art

There’s plenty to see in the attractive open woodland here, including one of the finest set of cup and ring marked rocks in Britain. Follow the Cup and Ring Trail to marvel at these mysterious ancient symbols, take a gentle stroll around a fascinating wetland area or simply bring a picnic and relax in the peaceful forest.

Achnabreac is part of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, the birthplace of the Scottish nation. It was centred on Dunadd, a rocky crag just to the north of Achnabreac, which was the crowning place of its kings. Explore the area to find remains of thousands of years of human occupation

Kilmartin House Museum is a great place to find out more about this area’s fascinating history. Along the Dalriada Heritage Trail you can discover more amazing cup and ring marked rocks as well as other evocative archaeological sites.

If you’re looking for something more energetic and exhilarating, this is also home to the Firetower Trail, a single track mountain bike route through the forest with exciting options for the more experienced mountain biker.

Guide map to the forests of Mid Argyll and Kintyre (PDF 9.5MB)

Guide to the Firetower Trails (PDF 1.6 MB)

Walking trails

Walking

Rock Art Trail

This trail cuts through the forest to visit one of Achnabreac’s enigmatic cup and ring marked rocks. There are also great views over Loch Gilp to the hills of Arran.

Wide, firm and smooth gravel surface throughout. Some moderate slopes, but plenty of resting places along the way.

Easy (all abilities)
½ miles / 0.8 km

Allow
¼ hour

More information

A gentle zig zag slope through the trees leading to a viewing board and interpretation panel giving information about the area’s archaeology.

Walking

Dragonfly Trail

A gentle meander around the low-lying wetlands, where you can look for waterbirds and colourful dragonflies.

Firm gravel surface throughout with some loose sections. Mostly flat with some moderate slopes. Includes one section of boardwalk and areas that may be wet after rain.

Easy
½ miles / 0.8 km

Allow
¼ hour

More information

This short circular trail around low-lying wetlands, dotted with broadleaved trees and fringed with conifers, is ideal for families. There are lovely open views of the forest and surrounding area as you stroll along.

Walking

Cup and Ring Trail

Discover some of Scotland’s most extensive prehistoric rock art. On the edge of the forest are a series of stones carved with cups and rings over 4,000 years ago.

Uneven gravel path, with some narrow, grassy and potentially muddy sections. Some steep slopes. Includes sections of boardwalk with steps. Look out for vehicles along the forest road.

Moderate
1 ¼ miles / 2.0 km

Allow
¾ hour

More information

Marvel at these mysterious symbols, carved by a lost culture over 4,000 years ago. The trail climbs gently uphill through old oak woodland, which is a riot of colour in autumn, and there are good views over Lochgilphead, Knapdale and Loch Fyne as you reach higher ground.

Mountain biking trails

Mountain Biking

Firetower Trails (closed)

A trail notice is in effect

The Fire Tower Trail is currently closed due to major construction works. However these are coming to a close and the aim is to have it open before December.

From the site of an old fire tower, this trail has it all: flowing single track, technical features, stunning views and all within minutes of Lochgilphead.

Red: Difficult
8 ¾ miles / 14.0 km

More information

Five sections of single track, linked by forest road. Jink through the trees, burn rubber on the Twisted Fire Starter, bust a lung on Murder Hill, cool off in the Water Splash, then Rock and Roll back to the car park.

Activities

Cycling for everyone

Achnabreac and Kilmichael Forest offer a range of cycling experiences suitable for everyone. The towpath beside the Crinan Canal, part of the National Cycle Route 78, is perfect for families looking for a gentle, scenic ride. There are also plenty of forest roads criss-crossing the woodland that you can explore at your leisure.

Wildlife watching

Kilmichael Forest is a precious remnant of the Atlantic oakwoods that began spreading when the Ice Age ended and once stretched along the whole Atlantic seaboard from Norway to the south of Spain. The old oakwoods and the more recent conifers are home to a whole host of creatures that you might spot as you explore. Watch out for red squirrels, red and roe deer, crossbills, tiny goldcrests and hunting sparrowhawks.

Facilities & access

Parking
Parking
Picnic area
Picnic area
Campervan parking
Campervan parking

Life’s essentials

You’ll find public toilets and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop at nearby Lochgilphead.

Stay the Night

Motorhomes and campervans will be allowed to park overnight at this car park.

This is part of a short-term national trial that will run until later in the year, open to self-contained vehicles only. Motorhomes and campervans can stay for one night only at a time between 6pm and 10am. Camping and overnight parking of cars is not allowed.

Before you visit, please read our Stay the Night guidance, terms and conditions:

Stay the Night

Getting here

Achnabreac is about 2½ miles (4km) north of Lochgilphead on the A816. Look for a turning onto a forest road, with a green sign to ‘Achnabreac’. Follow this for about ¼ mile (500 metres) to reach the turning into the car park.

Using SatNav?

PA31 8RE is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

There are regular buses running between Lochgilphead and Tayvallich, which stop at Bridgend and Cairnbaan, both close to Achnabreac. Find details at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6650 (option 2)
More contact information

Share your experience

Our website uses cookies.
By continuing, we assume your permission to deploy cookies, as detailed in our Privacy and Cookies policies.