Spectacular autumn destinations
We're spoilt for choice here in Scotland when we're looking for great places to enjoy the spectacular range of hues that autumn has to offer. We asked staff from all across the country to tell us their favourite places to visit to see autumn's nature in action. Read on to find out what they came up with.
1. Uath Lochans, Inverness, Ross and Skye
Recommended trail: Uath Lochans Trail
Getting here involves a little adventure up a narrow, winding road – but it's worth it! Uath Lochans is one of the prettiest woodlands in the area with superb views of the small lochans and across to Strathspey. Even the drive from Rothiemurchus through Feshiebridge gives you an introduction to the wonderful autumn colours.
The Uath Lochans Trail is a magical mixture of sparkling lochans and woodland, which turn golden hues of red and orange throughout the autumn months. Look out for frogs beside the paths, and for dragonflies darting over the wetlands.
2. The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, Cowal and Trossachs
Recommended trail: Waterfall Trail
Situated in the stunning Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre has something for everyone. There’s wildlife everywhere, treetop adventures with Go Ape, walking trails and a chance to fill up on cake and coffee before you explore the Forest Park.
The Lodge café looks out over an amazing panoramic backdrop of mixed conifer, larch and broadleaf woodland landscape. The Achray woods provide a stunning mixture of orange, gold and green.
3. Lael Forest Garden, North Highland
Recommended trail: Gorge trail
In the 19th century tree hunters travelled the world collecting rare seed and planting them in arboreta – specialist tree collections – like this one. You'll come across rare and common trees and shrubs from nearly every country of the world, with a range of colours mirroring the huge range of tree species.
The Gorge Trail allows you to explore the forest surrounding the garden and past the spectacular Allt na h-Ighine gorge, before returning through the forest garden.
4. Faskally, Tay
Recommended trail: Dunmore Trail
The owners of Faskally House created this 'model woodland' in the 19th century and the house later became a school for young foresters. Explore the tranquil Loch on the Dunmore Trail, where you’ll see a spectacular show of autumn colours, as well as an array of wildlife including kingfishers and herons.
Throughout October the forest is even more colourful, as the Enchanted Forest returns for it’s annual lightshow extravaganza.
5. Glenbranter, Cowal and Trossachs
Recommended trail: Waterfall Trail
One of the jewels of Argyll Forest Park, Glenbranter is home to spectacular waterfalls and towering broadleaved and conifer trees, which showcase all the wonderful colours autumn has to offer. The forest is full of wildlife, from roe deer and buzzards to red squirrels, out stocking up on plenty of food for the cold winter months.
The wet autumn weather makes the spectacular waterfalls even more impressive after a spot of rain, making the Waterfall Trail one of the highlights of the area.
6. Sibster, North Highland
Recommended trail: Rowan Trail
Take the train to Sibster this autumn and experience the peaceful trails and endless views across the vast Caithness landscape of this old farm site. Sibster is the perfect place to spot graceful geese as they return to the Caithness Lochs Special Protection Area for autumn.
The Rowan trail is brimming with rich red berries over the autumn months, attracting all sorts of insects and birds. You’ll also find a lovely picnic spot beside a small waterfall where you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
7. Glentrool Visitor Centre, Galloway
Recommended trail: Loch Trool Loop
Glentrool Visitor Centre is set in a tranquil spot at the heart of the forest, with some fantastic walks, views and tasty treats at the café.
The Loch Trool Loop takes you through scenic oakwoods, showcasing some of the spectacular colours Scotland has to offer throughout autumn. There are great views over the loch to the foothills of Merrick, as well as history to discover on the Steps of Trool, where a bitter battle was fought for Scottish Independence 700 years ago.
Glentrool is also one of the 7stanes mounting biking trail centres, with some fantastic views across Loch Trool reachable by bike.
8. Dog Falls, Inverness, Ross and Skye
(c) Colin Leslie
Recommended trail: Dog Falls Trail
You’ll find Dog Falls at Glen Affric, one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. It’s a classic landscape of perfectly-placed lochs, mountains and a wonderful mix of pine, birch and oak trees. It’s also an important haven for wildlife, so the whole glen is protected as a National Nature Reserve.
Dog Falls is the first car park you’ll reach as you enter the Glen, and is a perfect place to explore the mixed forest of gnarled old Scots pine, shining silver birch and lichen-covered oaks. The Dog Falls Trail leads you through the golden colours to the spectacular waterfall, with it’s whisky-coloured water rushing through the canyon.
9. Queen’s View Visitor Centre, Tay
Recommended trail: Viewpoint
Length: 400m (there and back)
Queen's View lies at the heart of Highland Perthshire, and it's the area's most popular visitor attraction. Just one look is enough to tell you why. The viewpoint is just 200 metres from the car park along a tarmac path, and the stunning views over golden trees and sparkling loch make it well worth the trip.
For those looking to explore further, Allean forest is only ½ mile away, and has two waymarked trails.
10. Barnluasgan, West Argyll
Recommended trail: Barnluasgan Oakwood Trail
Barnluasgan is the ideal place to start your discovery of Knapdale’s many highlights. Follow scenic trails to the peaceful lochs of Barnluasgan, Coille-Bharr and Dubh, where you might be lucky enough to spot the shy beavers – or at least see evidence of their work.
The Oakwood trail explores the ancient Atlantic oakwoods between Loch Barnluasgan and Loch Linne. As well as a range of native broadleaves, there are great views over Knapdale Forest, which is a blaze of red and orange leaves throughout autumn.