We want to ensure your visit is an enjoyable and safe one.
Make sure you follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS advice – helping to protect yourself, your family and your local community, and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code helping to keep Scotland beautiful.
Ongoing Tree Felling
Please be aware that from Monday 3 May, there will be some roads maintenance taking place along the asphalt road from the car park into the forest.
The small parking area in the forest at Coilessan is currently closed to allow tree felling work to take place safely. Please park in the car park at the toilets or across the bridge in the climbers car park.
The Coilessan shore and Ardgartan peninsula circuits remain open, but may be subject to delays and diversions, please follow all safety signage and instructions.
Endless trails through an area of vast natural beauty
Ardgartan (meaning the High Garden in Gaelic) is at the heart of an area of vast natural beauty. The forest of Sitka and Norway spruce is an ideal habitat for red squirrel, roe deer, buzzards and owls. Mixed woodland along the many small rivers and burns is home to otters, kingfishers and bats.
The trails offer great views for cyclists, walkers or horse riders. If you don’t feel like following the waymarked trails, just wander wherever you fancy... through the forest, across the hills or along the secluded loch shore. Live edit test!
Riverside Trail (diverted)
A delightful stroll through the beech and oak woodland alongside the sparkling Croe Water.
Firm gravel surface with some grassy and uneven sections. Includes some exposed tree roots and very muddy sections. Two short steep slopes, a bridge and some broad steps.
Allow 1 hour
Watch for red squirrels scampering among the trees and listen for the many species of birds that live in the forest. Otters live here too: you might see their footprints or tail marks on the sandy shore, or if you're very lucky catch sight of one in the river’s large pools.
Loch Shore Trail
A great combination of river bank and loch shore with views across Loch Long.
Uneven gravel surface, with some narrow, grassy and rough, rocky sections. Includes some short steep slopes and one bridge. Some very muddy parts. Look out for vehicles along access road.
Allow 1½ hours
This great little trail crams a lot into a short space! The trail follows the bubbling Croe Water and passes the Forest Holidays cabins before reaching Loch Long. There’s plenty of wildlife to watch for along the way: red squirrels live in the forest, and on the loch shore you might see orange-beaked oyster catchers or even grey seals.
Ardgartan shore and Coilessan Glen
A trail notice is in effect
Please be aware of tree felling taking place near the small car park at Coilessan Glen, which is closed. While the route remains open, it may be subject to short delays.
Please also be aware of road maintenance taking place along the asphalt section of the trail.
Forest rides, loch shore and a fun descent back to the start.
Mostly forest road with sections on tarmac. Long, moderate climbs and descents.
Allow 2 hours
Start by following the trail south towards the farm at Coilessan and round by the loch shore – you might just glimpse otters here. Then it’s a climb through red and roe deer’s territory in the shadow of Cnoc Coinnich before heading back down Coilessan Glen. Take a breather on the way to admire the view over Loch Long towards the Clyde!
The network of trails here is very popular with bikers looking for fun cross-country rides. They're good to walk along too. For an interesting route between two forests, try the link route between here and Arrochar forest.
Facilities & access
There are public toilets at Ardgartan. There are shops and cafes in Arrochar village, a few miles to the east.
If you’d like more time here, why not book a holiday cabin with Forest Holidays.
Stay The Night
Motorhomes and campervans that are self-contained and have their own toilet facilities will be able to stay overnight at the Ardgartan car park from 26 April – 31 October 2021. This does not include overnight tent camping or car parking.
To help plan your stay, please see the details below:
- Height barrier – No
- Motorhome capacity of car park – 3
- Suitable for large vehicles/caravans – No
- Access notes – Beware of forest harvesting machinery at this site.
- Parking notes – Please leave a 4m gap between other motorhomes.
Please visit our Stay the Night page for full details, participating locations, best practice, and terms and conditions of use.
Ardgartan car park lies on the south side of the A83 between Loch Long and the Rest and Be Thankful, 3 miles west of Arrochar.
If coming from the direction of Arrochar, ignore the 'Forest Holidays' turning; Ardgartan is ½ mile beyond this.
G83 7AS is the nearest postcode, about 1 mile along the road towards Inveraray.
Buses heading from Glasgow to Inveraray and beyond can stop next to the entrance to Ardgartan. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.
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