The John Muir Way: Dedicated to the Scotsman, Founder and ‘Father’ of the US’s National Parks

John Muir Way is Scotland’s newest and perhaps most diverse walking trail. Named after the 19th-century Scottish-American naturalist John Muir, the walk is a staggering 134 miles and takes you from the West coast of Helensburgh to Muir’s birthplace at Dunbar on the East Coast.

Highlights
  • Walk through The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park
  • Spend one night, or an extra rest day in the Scottish capital
  • Witness the Falkirk Wheel, linking the Union and Forth & Clyde canals together
  • Stay in quaint towns and villages along your walk, including the seaside town of North Berwick
  • Visit the childhood home and birthplace of John Muir at Dunbar
  • An interesting range of scenery, from coastline to national park to the nations historic capital
  • 10 to 11 nights
  • 134 mls (view km)
  • Helensburgh, Southern Scotland
  • Moderate
  • Mar to Oct
  • £885

Walking The John Muir Way

John Muir is a notable figure with many strings to his bow. An avid traveller, talented writer and nature trailblazer, in his lifetime he campaigned for the conservation of wilderness areas and is credited with the creation of 4 National Parks. Scotland is where he spent the first 11 years of his life and where he discovered his love of outdoor pursuits.

John Muir was a staunch campaigner for the preservation of wilderness areas, his nature writing and tireless petitioning of the government helped establish the national parks of America.

However, The John Muir Way is not closely related to the John Muir Trail of California, and those considering stepping out on this path should keep in mind that this path takes in scenery which is markedly different from the vast stretches of Yosemite that John Muir wrote about.

That being said, you'll find stretches of the way remarkably remote as you pass through quaint towns & villages, coastal expanses and Scotland's first National Park (Loch Lomond & The Trossachs).

The expedition which will take you from coast to country, from rolling farmland to breath-taking beaches.

Memorable Long Distance Walks with Celtic Trails

The John Muir Way walk is a terrific option for someone looking at their first long distance walk because it is clearly waymarked and offers few sustained climbs. Trek an impressive distance and immerse yourself in Scotland’s most notable sights with Celtic Trails.

We offer incredible walking holidays and have been in the business for over 20 years. From organising accommodation to arranging transfers, we take the stress out of a holiday -  allowing you to focus on the fresh air, beautiful surroundings and exciting routes ahead of you.

Path Walkthrough

John Muir Way walk map
Our linear John Muir Way Walking Holidays take you on a walk across Scotland from Helensburgh to Dunbar

The route links coast to coast, from the Firth of Clyde to the North Sea and John Muirs childhood home at Dunbar. The route is low-lying with the highest point at Gouk Hill (277m), just outside Helensburgh. Following the route out of Edinburgh, at Musselburgh the way becomes predominantly coastal, with the final section continuing for a long stretch inland over field and farmland.

Considerable sections of the Way are spent following the Union and Forth & Clyde canal path. Along your route, you'll meet the Falkirk Wheel - an incredible feat of engineering designed to re-connect the two canals. The section from Balloch to Strathblane has long road-walking sections and as expected, the walk into and out of Edinburgh is the most urbanised stage of the journey. The trail is frequented by cyclists as well as walkers, especially on road and canalside sections.

Walk Gallery

Our John Muir Way Walking Itineraries

Prices are per person, based on two people sharing, single person supplements apply.

Helensburgh to Dunbar

Length: 134 miles/215km | Difficulty: Moderate

CodeDurationStart Price 
JMW111 nights, 10 days£925 (pp)View Itinerary
JMW212 nights, 11 days£995 (pp)View Itinerary

Helensburgh to Dunbar

Eleven nights, Ten days
Holiday Code: JMW1
DayLocationDistance
Day 1:Arrival day
Day 2:Helensburgh to Balloch9 miles/15km
Day 3:Balloch to Strathblane18.5 miles/29.5km
Day 4:Strathblane to Kilsyth13 miles/21km
Day 5:Kilsyth to Falkirk13 miles/20.5km
Day 6:Falkirk to Linlithgow8.5 miles/14km
Day 7:Linlithgow to South Queensferry14 miles/23km
Day 8:South Queensferry to Edinburgh15.5 miles/25km
Day 9:Edinburgh to Prestonpans10 miles/16km
Day 10:Prestonpans to North Berwick16.5 miles/26km
Day 11:North Berwick to Dunbar15 miles/24km
Day 12:Departure Day

Itinerary Information: Eleven nights accommodation, with ten walking days. Arrive in Helensburgh on day one, start walking from morning of day two and depart from Dunbar on morning of day twelve.

Departure Dates: This itinerary can be walked any time between Mar to Oct. You simply choose which day you would like your holiday to start on.

Rest Days: Should you wish, rest days can be taken at stops along the route, view details.

What's Included: view full details.

Back to all itineraries

Helensburgh to Dunbar

Twelve nights, Eleven days
Holiday Code: JMW2
DayLocationDistance
Day 1:Arrival day
Day 2:Helensburgh to Balloch9 miles/15km
Day 3:Balloch to Killearn11.5 miles/18.5km
Day 4:Killearn to Strathblane7 miles/11km
Day 5:Strathblane to Kilsyth13 miles/21km
Day 6:Kilsyth to Falkirk13 miles/20.5km
Day 7:Falkirk to Linlithgow8.5 miles/14km
Day 8:Linlithgow to South Queensferry14 miles/23km
Day 9:South Queensferry to Edinburgh15.5 miles/25km
Day 10:Edinburgh to Prestonpans10 miles/16km
Day 11:Prestonpans to North Berwick16.5 miles/26km
Day 12:North Berwick to Dunbar15 miles/24km
Day 13:Departure Day

Itinerary Information: Twelve nights accommodation with eleven walking days. Arrive in Helensburgh on day one, start walking from morning of day two and depart from Dunbar on morning of day thirteen,

Departure Dates: This itinerary can be walked any time between Mar to Oct. You simply choose which day you would like your holiday to start on.

Rest Days: Should you wish, rest days can be taken at stops along the route, view details.

What's Included: view full details.

Back to all itineraries

  • What's Included?

    We include:

    • High standard accommodation at a mixture of Guesthouses, Farmhouses, local Inns and B&B’s with en-suite or private facilities wherever possible
    • Breakfast
    • Luggage transfers (one bag per walker, max 18kg per bag)
    • Personal transfer between accommodation and path where necessary
    • Route planning
    • Walk Pack including Trail Guide, itinerary, accommodation directions, local interest leaflets and holiday planning
  • Price Info.

    Rest Days:

    From £45.00 pp per night

    Our recommended locations for a rest day are Balloch, Falkirk, South Queensferry, Edinburgh and North Berwick.

    Single supplements:

    Solo person bookings: £30.00 per night

    Where singles are walking as part of a larger group and are willing to share a Walk Pack: single room occupancy supplements will apply.

    Postage Overseas: £5.00 (Europe), £10.00 (Rest of the World) per walk pack

  • Getting There

    By Rail - Helensburgh (direct service from Glasgow Queen Street – 45 minutes journey. Glasgow Queen Street is a 10 minutes walk from Glasgow Central)

    Dunbar (direct service to Edinburgh – 30 minutes journey).

    www.nationalrail.co.uk

    By Bus – Local bus services to points on or near John Muir Way are available.

    www.traveline.org.uk

    By Air – Glasgow Airport - An airport shuttle bus operates from Glasgow International Airport to Glasgow city centre (journey time 20 minutes).

    Edinburgh Airport - A tram and bus operate between Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh Haymarket Station (journey time 20 minutes) from which you can connect to either Glasgow Central or Glasgow Queen Street (journey time 45 minutes to 1 hour).

  • Best Time to Travel

    Scottish weather is notoriously changeable and walkers are advised to pack appropriately for a restless climate.

    Average Rainfall                                                     Average Sunshine                                                    Average Temperatures

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