11 to 12 nights
134 mls (km)
Southern Scotland
Mar to Oct

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

  • 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 in Dunbar
  • An interesting range of scenery, from coastline to national park to the historic capital

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 and villages, coastal expanses and Scotland's first national park (Loch Lomond and The Trossachs).

The expedition will take you from coast to country, from rolling farmland to breathtaking 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 26 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.

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

Path Walkthrough

The route links coast to coast, from the Firth of Clyde to the North Sea and John Muir's childhood home at Dunbar. The route is low-lying with the highest point at Gouk Hill (277 m), 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 canal-side sections.

Our John Muir Way Itineraries

  • Helensburgh to Dunbar
    Distance: 134 miles (215.5km)
    11 Nights, 10 Days
    from £1470 pp
    Helensburgh to Dunbar
        11 nights, 10 days
    Ref: JMW1
    Grade: Classic
    12 Nights, 11 Days
    from £1590 pp
    Helensburgh to Dunbar
        12 nights, 11 days
    Ref: JMW2
    Grade: Classic
    • Good standard accommodation at a mixture of guesthouses, farmhouses, local inns and B&Bs with en-suite or private facilities wherever possible
    • Breakfast
    • Luggage transfers
    • Personal transfer between accommodation and path that form a part of our standard package
    • Route planning
    • Walk pack including Trail Guide and mapping, itinerary, accommodation directions and route notes, lunch and dinner information, restaurant recommendations and holiday planning details

    You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements.

    Our John Muir Way holidays are available to walk March to October.

    We advise walking this route between spring and autumn.  Scottish weather is notoriously changeable, so walkers are advised to pack taking this into consideration.

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

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


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


    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).

    Looking for different mileages or a different number of nights? Please contact us to discuss how our itineraries can be adjusted to meet your specific needs. Call one of our helpful team on +44 (0)1291 689774 or e-mail us here.

    John Muir Way Client Reviews

    4.9/5 based on 16 reviews
    I highly recommend Celtic Trails. Our accommodations were great and the luggage transfers went smoothly.
    - September 2023
    We were very impressed with the responsiveness to our inquiries and the tone of staff to our emails, who all provided a great service.
    - August 2023
    Celtic Trails were reliable. The booked us special accommodations and provided very clear walking information.
    - July 2023
    4th time using Celtic and not a single problem on their end.
    - June 2023
    Celtic Trails are professional; experienced team members, nice accommodations, great experience provided. Feel as though my mental health has been enhanced with time to reflect while walking.
    - August 2022
    From booking to walking and return, Celtic Trails takes care of everything. This was my 4th walk with Celtic Trails and my experience was wonderful.
    - August 2022
    Celtic Trails organises accommodation along the walk and transfers of luggage. They are helpful and flexible with arrangements.
    - June 2022
    Excellent hiking guides and pre-trip information packet. Very thorough. We chose this walk because of the recommendation of a prior customer.
    - April 2022
    It was good to get out and walk - desperately needed a good stretch out. There was a lot of hard surface walking.
    - October 2019
    Celtic Trails were easy to walks with: Great experience, no problems or complaints. This walk made us feel stronger.
    - July 2019
    Nikki did a wonderful job of breaking up the walk into do-able segments and placing us in first rate B&Bs. It really put the focus on the walk and not the logistics of the trip. Walking is an amazing way to see a country and meet the people. Everyone we met was so kind and helpful. Scots gave us directions, offered us food, shared great stories and gave us helpful tips for our journey. Knowing that a wonderful B&B was at the end of each day's walk made it a joy to arrive at our new "home".
    - May 2019
    I would describe Celtic Trails as the only way to go.
    - May 2019
    Love the outdoors, the total experience was wonderful, as were the hosts and people in the towns we stayed. Makes me a very happy person.
    - May 2019
    I have never used another company - you are all awesome!
    - September 2018
    Celtic Trails are far superior to other companies - excellent choice of accommodation, very client focussed. It's nice to deal with a small company.
    - June 2018
    'We enjoyed the variety of the John Muir Way. We walked along a canal through forests & field and countryside & coast.'
    - July 2017
    Leave your own review of your John Muir Way Walking Holiday with us - add review.