Thursday, 28 September 2023
Classic Deeside scenery of pine, heather and blaeberry
Choose from trails that cross a lochan on a picturesque bridge, or wind through Scots pine trees where squirrels chatter. If you really want to take it easy, there’s a grand view of Deeside’s mountains just from the car park.
Cambus o'May is one of those places you can visit again and again – and find something new each time. Each season has its charms, from wildflowers in spring to crisp, frosty days in winter.
Lochside Trail (diverted)
A short loop around the west lochan, where you may see damselflies and dragonflies dancing over the water.
Firm but uneven gravel surface. Some short steep slopes with single uneven rock steps. Parts may be slightly grassy or muddy.
Allow ¼ hour
At the start of this trail you’ll be walking along an esker – a ridge left behind by a huge glacier – with great views south into the Dee valley. On a fine day you'll see Lochnagar in the distance.
Two Lochans Trail
Wander beneath majestic Douglas firs to reach a pair of picture-perfect lochans nestled amid the pines.
Uneven gravel surface with some slightly grassy and muddy parts. Some steep slopes with one flight of wooden steps. Includes three bridges.
Allow 1 hour
Both the lochans along this trail are legacies from the Ice Age: they sit in shallow saucers left behind by huge lumps of ice that broke off from the glaciers flowing from the centre of the Cairngorms.
You’ll pass an old quarry too. Stone from here was used for buildings in Ballater as the village grew after Queen Victoria made Deeside fashionable.
Pine Tree Trail
A longer tour through the tranquil pine forest, which is home to red squirrels, capercaillie and black grouse.
Uneven gravel surface with some rocky and muddy parts. Some steep slopes. Includes three bridges and some exposed tree roots.
Allow 1½ hours
For a longer outing on foot or mountain bike, there’s a great route that visits Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, just over the hill from Cambus o’May. Take the forest road north east from the furthest point on the Pine Tree Trail and it will lead you straight onto the reserve. While you’re there, don’t miss the Burn o'Vat, a spectacular pothole in the granite. Return to Cambus o’May along the Deeside Way, a traffic-free route along an old railway line.
Facilities and access
There nearest public toilets are in Ballater and Aboyne. You’ll find a range of places to eat in Dinnet, Ballater and Aboyne.
Cambus o’May is an important site for ground nesting birds like capercaillie. Please keep your dog under very close control – either at heel or on a lead – to help protect them.
Car parking information
The charges to park at this forest car park are:
- £1 for up to 1 hour - all vehicles
- £2 for up to 3 hours - car (up to 7 seats)
- £3 for all day - car (up to 7 seats)
- £10 for all day - coach and minibus
- Blue badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.
Payment can be made using RingGo.
Please park with care and consideration. In particular, please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates. Nearby car parks with free parking can be found in our Forest Search, marked as a 'P' without the £ symbol.
Annual parking pass available:
Available in advance by downloading the application form and emailing to the Regional Office. Please read our Annual Pass terms and conditions (PDF) before applying.
Valid at all Forestry and Land Scotland car parks except Tentsmuir.
The entrance and car park for Cambus O'May is easy to spot on the north side of the A93 between Ballater and Dinnet.
AB35 5SD is the nearest postcode.
Buses between Aberdeen and Ballater stop at the entrance to Cambus o'May. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.
Quiet woodland below a general’s monument
Walking and mountain biking across granite hilltop trails