Ben A’an is one of the most popular peaks to climb in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. In a land of long distance hikes like the West Highland Way, Ben A’an is a rare short hike in the Trossachs which offers incredible views of two lochs from the summit.
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The Ben A’an walk is reasonably short, but it begins and ends with strenuous uphill sections. The two uphill sections of this hike are through beautiful forests, filled with birdsong and wildflowers; showy purple foxgloves seem to be growing everywhere along the side of the trail.
The flat section in the middle is a nice break from both the hard climb up from the carpark and from the steep descent down from the summit. This portion of the trail offers nice views of the surrounding countryside, mainly due to the fact all the trees have been cut down.
At first we thought the cut trees seemed a bit unsightly, but it turns out that all the trees that were felled were non-native trees in an effort to allow native trees to repopulate the area. So, just ignore the fallen trees for now and enjoy the scenery this little bit of clean-up has made possible.
The final ascent to the top is a bit of a grind. Once the flat section stops, the stairs begin and they don’t stop until near the Ben A’an summit, 461m above sea level. The effort is well worth it though as the views from the summit are incredible.
There are two large rock formations at the top (one is slightly higher than the other, thus being the official summit) and lots of room for hikers to spread out, relax and enjoy the views.
From the summit of Ben A’an you have earned views of not one, but two lochs: Loch Achray (the smaller one by the car park) and the much larger and longer Loch Katrine. The combination of the two lochs, surrounded by the other peaks of the Trossachs is simply spectacular.
Ben A’an Walk Stats
Distance: The total round trip of this hike is 2.8 miles / 4.5km.
Elevation Gain: As mentioned above, there are two extended uphill sections to this hike which are a pretty good workout. In the first 0.6 miles / 1km from the parking lot, you climb 560 feet / 170m. The final 0.4 miles / 0.7km of the hike is the steepest section, where you climb another 490 feet / 150m to the top.
The elevation gain on Ben A’an is actually slightly less than on Conic Hill (another outstanding hike in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park), but you climb it in less distance, making it steeper.
Difficulty: Despite being a short hike, we’d rate Ben A’an as “hard”, due to the amount of effort it takes to climb the uphill sections. That said, our 3 & 5 year old kids hiked to the summit of Ben A’an by themselves, but slower than usual due to the increased effort.
Ben A’an is popular with families and we saw many other kids also hiking to the summit themselves, so it can be done by anyone in reasonable shape and/or a good amount of determination.
Duration: The Ben A’an hike took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete, which is much longer than their typical pace (which would have been around 2h15m). The slower pace is due to the steeper incline and the higher effort level required. Without kids, we could have completed this hike in about an hour.
Ben A’an Location
How to Get There: Ben A’an is close to Aberfoyle in the The Trossachs section of the national park. There is a decent sized parking lot, which was full by midday. Note, there is a £3 fee for this parking lot, payable in coins only – no bills or credit cards.
Ben A’an Trail Map
You can download the Ben A’an trail map on your phone by using the AllTrails hiking app. Once in the app, search the hikes for “Ben A’an“. Select the trail and download the map on your phone before you head out for your hike.
Ben A’an Trail Highlights
- The main highlight of the hike is the incredible views from the summit of Ben A’an. You are treated to views of Loch Achray and Loch Karine lying peacefully side-by-side with a small, dense patch of forest between them. Surrounding the lochs are the beautiful, forested peaks of the Trossachs region. Simply breathtaking!
- Given the hike to the summit is mostly uphill the whole way, you can enjoy a much easier walk down. The views of Loch Achray on the final descent to the carpark are amazing.
- In July, when we did the hike, the sides of the trail were surrounded by wildflowers, including tons of pink foxgloves.
Hiking Ben A’an Trail with Kids
- There are no bathrooms, nor places to fill your hydration packs in the parking lot. Be sure to take care of both before you leave home. If urgent, there are a few paths into the trees from the parking lot to secluded patches in the trees, which seem used often for this purpose. Given the popularity of this trail, you may struggle to find privacy if you need to go.
- The trail is often wide enough for two people, making family conversations much easier.
- The stairs are quite steep so little ones may need help with some of the taller steps on the way up and may feel more comfortable holding a hand on the way down.
- Watch the gravel on the way down; it gets pretty slippery when it’s steep and little kids are prone to fall in these sections.
- The stairs can get congested, so please ensure to move off to the side if the slower members of your party are getting in the way of faster groups.
- Be prepared for any weather as it can and will change often; wear clothing in layers, bring lots of water, sunscreen, rain gear, and something to repel the midges if they are out.
- This trail is not stroller accessible, but many parents throughout Loch Lomond had their little ones on their backs in a baby or toddler carrier.
- Dogs are allowed on Ben A’an; most of them will be offleash.
Where to Stop for Lunch or a Break
There are several spots near the top where you can plop down for a nice break but save your lunch for the top. There are tons of places to sit and enjoy the incredible views you’ve earned.
You see the word “Ben” a lot in Scotland. It’s derived from the Gaelic “beann”, which means “peak”.
What to Bring on Ben A’an
The trail surface on this hike alternates between smooth gravel and steps made of stone. A good pair of shoes is sufficient for this hike, but real hiking shoes would be better.
Other Loch Lomond Resources
- Our full list of the best things to do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park with kids.
- Something for everyone; here are 5 easy walks in Loch Lomond National Park.
- Though not technically in the Loch Lomond National park, the Whangie walk with kids is the perfect day hike for the whole family.
- And add the popular Conic Hill walk to your Scotland itinerary. You won’t regret it!
More Scotland With Kids
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