Craggy slopes and a dramatic gorge amongst the trees
The picnic spot at the start of the Dunardry trails is a great vantage point above the Crinan Canal. Sit back, enjoy the views and watch the boats negotiating the locks.
You can choose from four enticing trails here, ranging from a challenging gorge trail that straddles Dunardry Burn gorge to a climb up An Cruach Mòr, the summit of which offers a 360 degree view of the Argyll coast.
Green Gate Loop
A gentle wander beneath towering larch and fir trees along the cascades of Dunardry Burn.
Firm gravel surface throughout, with tarmac section, and some slightly loose sections. Moderate slopes. Includes a bridge and a section along the access road.
Allow ¼ hour
An easy way to get a taste of Knapdale Forest – ideal for a quick leg-stretch or a gentle amble for the whole family. Look out for some living sculptures as you explore, including a willow arch and a birch wall, and some unusual stone seats. Be sure to stop on the bridge to enjoy the spectacle of the tumbling Dunardry Burn snaking through the rocky gorge to spill eventually into the Crinal Canal below.
Start this trail at the parking area by the roadside on the hillside above Cairnbaan: see ‘how to get here’ for details.
Walk beneath towering trees in a quiet part of the forest overlooking the scenic Crinan Canal.
Mostly firm, wide gravel track. Uneven grassy section that may occasionally be muddy. Long moderate slopes for up to 600m with some steeper sections.
Allow 1¼ hours
The name comes from the Gaelic for ‘height of the high king’, and there are lovely views down to the Crinan Canal between the trees. Look out for deer amongst the trees, and red squirrels and crossbills in the canopy. You may also hear the distinctive cat-like mewing of buzzards circling overhead.
Near to Nature Trail
A quirky and exhilarating trail around Dunardry Burn gorge, guaranteed to excite all your senses and get your pulse racing.
Firm but uneven gravel surface, with some narrow sections and exposed tree roots. Some steep slopes with long sets of uneven stone steps. Includes a few bridges.
Allow ¾ hour
Switch all your senses to ‘heightened’ and be ready to experience the wonder of this sheer wooded burn. Brush through the trees, twist and turn along the rocky gorge and feel the breeze from the rushing water below.
Climb steadily to reach the summit of An Cruach Mòr (‘the great stack’) for 360 degree views of the Argyll coast and a magnificent bird’s eye view of Mòine Mhór.
Some long steep slopes with uneven stone steps. Generally firm gravel surface, with some uneven and narrow sections. Short grassy section at summit may occasionally be wet.
Allow 2 hours
Dunardry is a popular place to start exploring the forest roads by cycle around Knapdale Forest. The easy option is to potter along the Crinan Canal towpath, part of National Cycle Route 78.
If you're looking for something a bit more adventurous, there's a scenic network of quiet forest roads around the area. Ordnance Survey maps Explorer 358: Lochgilphead & Knapdale North and Landranger 55: Lochgilphead & Loch Awe cover the forest and its surrounding area.
Facilities & access
You'll find refreshments at Cairnbaan and Crinan, and public toilets on the quay at Crinan.
Dunardry car park is on the south side of the B841 between Cairnbaan and Crinan. From Lochgilphead, follow signs for the Argyll Coastal Route, then Crinan.
For easy access to the Green Gate Loop, there’s an off road parking area close to the start of the trail. Driving from Cairnbaan, take the first left after the 'Forestry Commission Cairnbaan Workshops' (a road called Letter Daill) and follow the road uphill for about 1 mile.
PA31 8UE is the nearest postcode for the Dunardry car park.
PA31 8UH is the nearest postcode for the Green Gate Loop parking area.
There are regular buses between Lochgilphead and Achnamara, which stop at nearby Cairnbaan. Find details at Traveline Scotland.
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