Explore unique Kilmun
There's nothing quite like Kilmun anywhere else in Scotland. The arboretum is home to more than 150 tree species from around the world. But what makes Kilmun so extra special is that each species has been planted in a separate grove. So instead of one monkey-puzzle tree, you'll see a small forest of monkey-puzzles!
Our guide to Argyll Forest Park will help you explore Kilmun and other woodlands in this wonderful part of Scotland.
You’ll notice disinfectant mats at the entrance/exit to some of our trails. This helps minimise the spread of tree disease and keeps our forests healthy for the future. Please use them to clean any boots, paws or wheels.
Find food nearby
You can find places to eat in Kilmun village, Dunoon or at the Benmore Garden café.
John Jackson Trail
A brief introduction to the exotic species of the arboretum, taking in ornamental maples, Japanese cedars and Himalayan spruces.
Firm gravel surface throughout with some slightly uneven sections. First section is wide and easy-going, the return includes short steep slopes and one bridge 0.9m wide.
¼ miles / 0.4 km Allow ¼ hour
Named after local forester John Jackson, this gentle stroll is full of colour and interest at any time of the year.
Climb the hillside to encounter redwoods and sequoias from California and monkey puzzles from South America, as well as great views over Holy Loch and the mountains of Cowal.
Firm but uneven gravel surface, with some grassy sections. Some long steep slopes.
¾ miles / 1.3 km Allow ½ hour
Get to know the conifers of Kilmun by sight and smell. These huge varieties of larch, spruce and hemlock all smell differently, so take time to stop and sniff too.
Visit some guests from Down Under on this breathtaking circuit of the arboretum. On a warm day, the wonderful aroma will transport you to the Australian bush.
Uneven gravel paths with some grassy sections. Some long steep slopes and bridges.
1 miles / 1.6 km Allow ¾ hour
Wander through exotic groves of Australian eucalyptus with their peeling bark and characteristic scent. Oil glands cover the leathery leaves and exude their aroma on hot summer days.
Mountain biking trails
An assortment of species
In 1930 the Forestry Commission planted over 260 different tree species here in large trial plots to see how suitable they might be for Scotland. Many of the trees didn't like our climate or soils, but some have done amazingly well, growing faster and larger than they would at home.
Today Kilmun Arboretum is a tree collection of international note and a unique experience for all tree lovers. Meander through its small forests of silver firs, giant sequoia, coastal redwoods, Oregon maple and Chilean southern beech and you'll wonder why it isn't better known.
How to get here
From Glasgow you can either:
- Travel to Gourock and take the car ferry to Dunoon. Turn right (north) out of the terminal onto the A815 and after 5 miles / 8 km turn right onto the A880 towards Ardentinny. Continue for one mile: Kilmun Arboretum car park is on your left.
- Or take the A82 north to Loch Lomond. Turn onto the A83 at Tarbet and continue until the junction with the A815. Turn left and pass the villages of Strachur and Glenbranter. After 13 miles / 21 km, take the A885 left for Ardentinny. Continue for one mile: Kilmun Arboretum car park is on your left.
The car park is at grid reference NS 164 822.
PA23 8SJ is the nearest postcode.
You’ll find details of public transport at Traveline Scotland.
Benmore Botanic Garden is just 2 ½ miles / 4 km along the A815 towards Inverary. It has a wonderful collection of trees and other plants in a spectacular setting.
If you like trees, you’ll find lots more to explore at the National Tree Collections of Scotland. Kilmun supports this project, which lists all Scotland’s wonderful tree collections.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.