Benmore Forest Notice
We hope you’ve been enjoying the walking trails at your nearby forests during lockdown. As Scottish Government COVID-19 restrictions ease, we look forward to welcoming you back more fully, and are working hard to reopen our facilities as soon as safely possible.
At this location:
- The car park is open and will be free of charge.
The Black Gates Trail and some other sections of the forest will be closed until further notice due to the felling of trees infected with the disease, Phytophthora ramorum. There will be no access to Puck's Glen - which is fully closed - from Benmore during this time. The Big Tree Trail is open but some diversions are in place.
Please follow our Keep it clean advice before and after a visit to any woodland.
Walk between colourful plants and giant conifers
Benmore boasts some of Scotland's most impressive specimens of really big conifers. The trails take you amongst giant Californian redwoods, Douglas fir and Western hemlock. In spring and early summer Benmore bursts into colour when its remarkable collection of rhododendrons comes into bloom.
Benmore Estate was given to the nation in 1928 by the Youngers, a well-known Edinburgh brewing family. In the 19th century it was planted with many north American conifers, which have now matured into an impressive and beautiful forest. The estate includes Puck's Glen to the south and the beautiful Benmore Botanic Garden.
Big Tree Trail (diverted)
Walk beneath (and indeed over) some towering Douglas firs, cypresses and silver firs planted in the nineteenth century. Some great views from the top.
Uneven gravel and earth paths with exposed tree roots and muddy sections. Some long steep slopes and low trees to duck under.
Allow 1 hour
A great way to see Benmore's colossal conifers. Rest and enjoy the experience on benches along the way: sit quietly and you may see roe deer and red squirrel too.
Black Gates Trail (closed)
A full tour of Benmore Forest that combines the giant conifers of Benmore with the spectacular gorge of Puck’s Glen and provides great views across the valley.
Narrow and rough rocky sections in Puck’s Glen that may be wet. Several steep slopes with long flights of uneven steps. Includes a number of bridges.
Allow 2 hours
From Benmore's Black Gates, climb up through majestic big trees and catch amazing views over Glen Massan and the River Eachaig before dropping into the deliciously atmospheric Puck's Glen, with its twisting path, waterfalls and bridges. A gentle road brings you back to the car park at Benmore.
Loch Eck Loop
A treat for cyclists with a day to spare.
Forest road and paths, with a short section on public road. Some very steep slopes with occasional loose material on the paths.
Allow 6 hours
A rewarding day out for fit and determined cyclists. The circular loop climbs high above beautiful Loch Eck on the east and hugs the shoreline on the west. Most people start and finish at Glenbranter and cycle clockwise to get the main climb out of the way early in the day. Either way you'll have magnificent views over the Clyde and out to west coast and islands.
There is easy access to the 21 Mile Loch Eck Loop cycle trail from Benmore. Download the route card from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Facilities & access
There are public toilets and a café in Benmore Botanic Garden.
The forest trails begin on the opposite side of the main road from the free car park at Benmore Botanic Garden, which is 6 miles north of Dunoon on the A815.
PA23 8QU is the nearest postcode.
Buses between Dunoon and Inveraray stop at Benmore Botanic Gardens. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.
Get in touch
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