Ben A’an is our favourite viewpoint in Scotland, and quite rightly. It’s beautifully located overlooking Loch Katrine Trossachs; with farther views to nearby hills, Ben Venue and Ben Ledi. On a nice day, view from Ben A’an summit stretches as far as Ben Lomond and Arrochar Alps!
Sometimes Ben Aan is described as a mountain in miniature: it’s not very high, in fact it is not even a separate mountain, but a part of Meall Reamhar massif. Nonetheless it’s full of character and view it offers in exchange of a 1.5-2 hours climb is amazing. We have visited Ben A’an on numerous occasions, different times of day, all seasons and it never disappoints! So if you’re in the area and have couple of hours to spare don’t hesitate to hike Ben A’an and see some of Scotland’s best views.
Ben A’an adventure can be extended by visiting nearby Loch Katrine. Depending on individual preferences, one can enjoy a short steam ship trip, explore nearby trails by foot, or alternatively rent a bike and cycle along Loch Katrine shores. Please see bottom of page to find out how to make the most of visiting Ben A’an and Loch Katrine.
Ben Aan hike fact sheet
- Height: 454 masl
- Total time: 3 hours
- Total distance: 2.5 km
- Parking: dedicated car park at the top of Loch Achray (charge applies, no facilities). Click here for directions.
- Level of difficulty: 2-easy hillwalk, good path.
- Ben Aan weather: click here to check weather forecast for Ben A’an (Aberfoyle)
- Which map: Ordnance Survey OL 46 The Trossachs
- Height: 454 masl
Ben A’an trail
Ben A’an trail starts just across the road from car park and is signposted. It has greatly changed over the years; from a small rugged path, flooded most of the year to a well made track. In the past we used to joke that the greatest challenge of hiking Ben A’an was keeping the feet dry! Therefore, someone who has hiked Ben Aan few years ago, would find it a totally different experience now.
Trail follows a small stream and gently climbs in old woodland. After about 40 minutes, it comes to a clearing and Ben A’an summit is finally seen.
Summit of Ben Aan seemed to be towering high above us, a very steep cone. But don’t let this feeling dishearten you, you have now hiked more than half way up, the remaining part is much easier than it seems.
From the clearing, path is constructed of large boulders, they’re make great steps and the height is gained very quickly. It is also less steep than it seemed. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re short (like me) you may find this section strenuous, but it’s only 15-20 minutes climb and then you’re almost at the top!
Stone steps ended suddenly and we were on a high ground, just below the summit. It’s almost flat and great opportunity to catch breath before continuing further to the very summit. Soon we lost breath again, only this time due to amazing views in front of us! Loch Katrine stretched below, as far as the horizon; surrounding mountains in green, brown, yellow or purple (depends on the season) looked astonishing.
We were simply stunned! There is only one downside to higher parts of Ben A’an trail – being in the open space usually means being battered by the wind! Therefore to improve the experience, we recommend visiting Ben A’an geared in windproof jacket and a hat.
From the plateau it’s just a matter of minutes, final push up the rugged bump and we made it to the summit! The views were spectacular: 360 degrees of beauty. We looked across to Ben Venue with its ever brown-ish slopes, further to Arrochar Alps and Ben Lomond at the far end of Loch Katrine; to Loch Achray and Ben Ledi.
We could stay forever at the summit of Ben A’an. It’s such an amazing viewpoint, we took our time admiring the ever changing light over the loch and nearby hills. Many visitors spend less than 15 minutes at the summit- take a photo and rush back, we could never understand that. Ben A’an is one of these viewpoints which, given a bit of time, provide countless opportunities for photography, surprises with dynamics of light.
We retraced our steps to the car park, taking our time to enjoy the forest walk; happy to have spent couple of hours in such beautiful scenery.
Ben A’an trail map
How to extend Ben A’an adventure
Hiking Ben A’an takes only about 3 hours. Surrounding scenery is astonishing, hence we’re never in a hurry to leave it behind. Many times we extended our visit to this hidden corner of Scotland by exploring the shores of beautiful Loch Katrine. There is a Loch Katrine visitor centre with large car park (charge applies) and a cafe, so why not check it out after your Ben A’an hike?
Below we listed ideas on how to enjoy Ben A’an and Loch Katrine area for a little bit longer.
Explore Loch Katrine by steam ship
Sir Walter Scott steam ship is well over 100 years old, but still serves well. Cruises on Loch Katrin have been increasingly popular, therefore a second vessel, Lady of the Lake, was brought in. We enjoyed a Loch Katrine cruise a couple years ago. It was only a 1.5 hrs journey, but we loved exploring clear waters and little islands on the loch.
There are several sailings available daily. Cruises on Loch Katrin can be booked in advance – click here to find available cruises and booking options.
Have a walk along Loch Katrine shores, finish it with cake and coffee
There is a good track along Loch Katrine shores, perfect for a walk. The track is paved, suitable for disabled and families with small children. Several smaller, education trails for kids are also marked from car park. So why not have a little walk along shores of the loch and enjoy freshly brewed coffee and a cake afterwards?
Hire a bike (or bring your own!) to cycle along Loch Katrine
Paved trail along Loch Katrine shores is perfect for cycling! It’s virtually traffic free, only used as access track to nearby houses. OK, it gets busy with walkers at times, however from our experience, most walkers turn back after only a mile or two.
Bike hire is available at Loch Katrine car park, near visitors centre. For a short cycling trip we recommend hiring a bike as it’s hassle free. The easiest cycling route is following loch’s shores on paved track.
Full day cycling adventure near Loch Katrine
If planning a longer cycling trip, we recommend bringing your own bike.
Last summer we had an amazing adventure exploring Loch Katrine and surrounding areas by bikes. Our route, as per map below, was a 53 km / 35 miles circle. We have, however, chosen a different starting point, free large visitors car park in Aberfoyle. Why from Aberfoyle? Due to two reasons – free parking and also the fact that we wanted to cycle over challenging Duke’s Pass first, while we were still fresh and full of beans. Duke’s Pass is the hardest part of the route.
The route is very picturesque, it climbs high at first, and although challenging, it’s rewarded with overview over scenic lochs- Loch Venechar and Loch Achray, as well as to Ben Ledi and Ben A’an. Farther, views across Loch Katrine are spectacular, and since it’s the most remote section of the route, one can enjoy peace and tranquillity brought by calm waters shaded by beautiful mountains. We highly recommend exploring Loch Katrine area by bike!
Check the cycling route below and be inspired!
Quick route description
From Aberfoyle we cycled on forest tracks to Duke’s Pass and down to Loch Achray. We continued to Loch Katrine and followed paved track along loch’s shores. All the way along Loch Katrine visitors centre till Kinlochard is virtually traffic free. Later, we encountered very little traffic on last section between Kinlochard to Aberfoyle.
The route is challenging; hardest part is steep climb to Duke’s Pass, also it’s pretty much up and down along northern shores of Loch Katrine. Luckily, section from Loch Arklet to Aberfoyle it’s mostly down the hill.
What we loved about Ben A’an
Ben A’an is a short, but very rewarding hike with breathtaking summit views. It’s a perfect little mountain to get the feel of Scottish wild lands. What we also like about visiting Ben A’an is the fact that, after the hike, we can continue adventures at nearby Loch Katrine, whether walking or cycling. Or simply have a coffee and cake at nearby visitors centre.
Wild Camping near Ben A’an and nearest campsites
Although Scotland’s access legislation (the Land Reform Scotland Act 2003), allows wild camping on most unenclosed land, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park area are excluded. This region has been extremely popular with campers for many years which led to degradation in many areas of the park. Park’s management, therefore, decided to introduce ban for wild camping, it is forbidden by law from April to October.
*Level of difficulty explained: 1– easy walk, mostly flat 2-easy hillwalk, good path 3-moderate, possible some steep sections 4-long hillwalk, possibly some scrambling involved, possibly pathless 5-difficult, possibly pathless, long, requires technical skills