Butterflies, waterfalls and a truly remote Highland loch
Loch Arkaig is a hidden gem, fringed with woodland and open hills and tucked away off the beaten track between Fort William and Inverness. You can enjoy a picnic beside the waterfall at Chia-aig, at the east end of the loch, then look for butterflies at the more remote Allt Mhuic reserve.
A short stroll to a picnic and viewing area by the Witches Cauldron, into which the impressive Chia-aig waterfall pours.
Firm, largely smooth gravel surface, with some slightly grassed over sections. Generally flat with short moderate ramps.
Allow ¼ hour
Allt Mhuic Butterfly Reserve
Climb up onto the open hillside to see the rare chequered skipper butterfly against the amazing backdrop of Loch Arkaig.
Rough grassy surface with some rocky and very wet sections. Long steep slopes for up to 500m. Includes a narrow gate and sections of boardwalk.
Allow ¾ hour
This is a beautiful place even if there are no butterflies about. Listen for wood warblers singing among the birch trees, and look for grey wagtails and dippers along the burn.
Bring your bikes
The road alongside the shore at Loch Arkaig is narrow but quiet. On a pleasant day it may be more pleasant to park the car and continue on bike.
Facilities & access
The nearest public facilities, shops and cafés are in Spean Bridge.
From the Commando Memorial on the A82 at Spean Bridge, follow signs towards Gairlochy. At a fork in the road just after a bridge over the Caledonian Canal, veer right following the sign for 'Loch Arkaig (B8005)'. It's a rough and narrow road after this point, but worth the journey.
You'll reach Chia-aig waterfall first, 5 miles along the road. Allt Mhuic butterfly reserve is a further 4 miles along the road.
PH34 4EJ is the nearest postcode.
Get in touch
Have a question or suggestion for improvement?