The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre
Enjoy a day at The Lodge
Whether you want to do a little or do a lot, The Lodge is made for you. Relax and enjoy the spectacular views, stroll to the waterfall, visit the Red Squirrel Hide or swing through the trees with Go Ape – the choice is yours. There's also a cafe with panoramic views, a well-stocked shop full of Scottish goodies, clothing and souvenirs, and all the information you need to explore the Forest Park.
Find out more about the Lodge and the rest of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
Please note, from 27-31st March Stirling Council are carrying out road maintenance works on the A821, which will affect access to The Lodge.
The road will close each day from 9am-6pm, opening briefly from 12.30-1pm at lunchtime. A longer route via Callander and Kilmahog (PDF 585KB) can be used to access The Lodge.
Grab a bite to eat
Spend some time relaxing in the comfortable cafe at The Lodge - it has one of the best views in Scotland and provides delicious light meals, snacks, cakes, ice creams and drinks whenever The Lodge Visitor Centre is open. It's the perfect place to recharge your batteries after a long walk or Go Ape session.
Pick up a memento
The shop at The Lodge has a great range of Scottish goodies, clothing, wildlife items and souvenirs, so you're sure to find the perfect reminder of your day out or the ideal gift for someone special.
You’ll find plenty of information at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre to help you plan your visit. The Lodge is open most days. Times as follows:
- January to February: 10am – 3pm
- March to April: 10am – 4pm (Easter weekend: 14-17th April, and Easter holidays: 1st-17th April – open until 5pm)
- May to June: 10am – 5pm
- July to August: 10am – 6pm
- September: 10am – 5pm
- October: 10am – 4pm
- November and December: 10am – 4pm
There are toilets, including easy-access facilities, at The Lodge.
Please note, parking charges are as follows:
- £1 for up to 1 hour
- £3 for all day
- £12 for minibus and coach all day
Season passes are also available. For more information please contact us.
A pleasant stroll through the trees to a dramatic waterfall that appears as if by magic. Plenty of places to sit or play along the way.
Wide, firm gravel surface throughout, with some loose stones. Long gentle slope for 400m with some short moderate sections. Short section of uneven wooden boardwalk.
1 miles / 1.8 km Allow ½ hour
Look out for reflective artworks and feel the breeze beside the tumbling waterfall. Wind back up to The Lodge from here or continue through towering Norway spruce and over an arched wooden bridge to reach the Red Squirrel Hide.
Oak Coppice Trail
A scenic walk through ancient oak woodland that is cloaked in velvety green lichens – a sure sign of the clean air up here.
Largely firm gravel surface, with a few uneven sections. Several short steep slopes and one short flight of steps.
1 ¾ miles / 2.9 km Allow 1 hour
This is an atmospheric meander amongst ancient oak trees that were once coppiced every 15 years or so, stimulating new growth from the stumps. The new stems could be used for building, fuel and to make charcoal for iron smelting.
Follow in the footsteps of the Duke of Montrose, climbing above Duke’s Pass for great views before passing through Achray Forest’s stately spruce woods.
Varied surface, with some long fairly steep sections. Narrow and uneven rocky path with some muddy parts.
4 miles / 6.5 km Allow 2½ hours
This longer trail follows an old drovers’ road to The Duke’s Pass, named after the Duke of Montrose who had this scenic road built through his estate in the 19th century. Cool off at the waterfall or visit the Red Squirrel Hide at the end of the trail.
Lime Craig Trail
A fair climb through the forest to Lime Craig for magnificent views over the Carse of Stirling and along the Highland Boundary Fault.
Sustained steep slope for 700m up to Lime Craig, but largely firm gravel surface. Rough rocky section for further 250m up to viewpoint which can be avoided. Includes two bridges.
4 miles / 6.6 km Allow 2½ hours
Part of this trail follows the route of the old gravity railway that was used to transport limestone extracted from the quarry on Lime Craig. The best views are from the summit of the craig. On a fine day, you’ll see Ben Lomond, Ben Venue and Ben Ledi as well as getting a bird’s eye view south over the low-lying Flanders Moss and Carse of Stirling to the Campsie Fells beyond.
Mountain biking trails
Catch a glimpse of nature
This is a great place to watch wildlife – there’s the easy-to-reach Red Squirrel Hide as well as live CCTV footage in the Visitor Centre, featuring ospreys, red squirrels, water voles and other amazing animals found in the Forest Park. Take a look at the live feed on our red squirrel page.
Have a tree top adventure
The Lodge is also home to the award winning Go Ape. If you want a bird’s eye view of the forest or to leap through the canopy like a red squirrel, then this is the place to be. The team here are 2016/17 regional winners of a Scottish Thistle Award for best outdoor/adventure experience so you know you're guaranteed a good visit!
Stretch your legs
There are scenic waymarked trails from The Lodge too, including gentle rambles suitable for everyone and some more strenuous routes that reward your effort with stunning high level views.
Fun in the forest
Navigate your way through a brushwood maze, dip your toes in the water play feature or gaze at the tree canopy from the comfort of a hammock, as you explore the nature play features speckled around the Waterfall trail.
Work on the warden's house
Redevelopment is now complete on the former warden’s house at the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, creating a new activity base. The project was part funded by sportscotland under the 2014 Legacy Active Places Fund. The facility will be available to community groups, education providers and businesses to use as an activity centre and events hub to support outdoor activities around the Lodge and surrounding Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. If you are interested in using this space please get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0300 067 6615.
A remarkable building
The Lodge is an unusual and impressive building, perched high on a hill above Aberfoyle. It offers some of the most spectacular views in the area, including a stunning view across Loch Ard Forest to Ben Lomond. The building was gifted to the Forestry Commission by the charitable organisation The Carnegie Trust in 1960. It was originally named the David Marshall Lodge in honour of the Chairman of the Carnegie Trust at the time.
The Duke’s Pass
The public road that winds out of Aberfoyle, past The Lodge, to Loch Katrine is known as The Duke's Pass. This popular route, regarded as one of Britain's best drives, leads you through some of the most scenic parts of the iconic Trossachs landscape. The road was originally built by the Duke of Montrose in the 19th century to improve access to his estate, and was later upgraded to accommodate the Victorian tourists drawn to the area after the publication of Sir Walter Scott's epic poem 'The Lady of the Lake', celebrating the beauty of Loch Katrine.
The Women's Timber Corps - affectionately known as the Lumberjills - stepped up to the mark to manage the country's forests during World War Two. A life sized bronze sculpture stands in the grounds of The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre as a lasting commemoration to their efforts.
How to get here
The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre is near Aberfoyle.
- From Glasgow follow the A81 north to Aberfoyle.
- From Stirling follow the A84(T), A873 then A81 west to Aberfoyle.
- From Callander follow the A81 south to Aberfoyle or, for a more scenic route, take the A821 – known as The Duke’s Pass – via The Trossachs.
The Lodge is a mile (1.8km) north of Aberfoyle on the A821.
The car park is at grid reference NN 520 014.
FK8 3SX is the nearest postcode.
There are regular buses from Stirling (the nearest railway station) to Aberfoyle. You’ll find details at Traveline Scotland.
National Cycle Route 7 also passes through the Forest Park.
Forest Park highlights close to The Lodge include:
Three Lochs Forest Drive – the perfect way to reach the heart of Loch Achray Forest and enjoy stunning Trossachs views without needing to walk very far. The route follows a quiet forest road and is suitable for most vehicles. There are car parks, toilets, play features and scenic trails along the way (open Easter to October).
Loch Katrine – discover the legendary loch that inspired poets and artists. You can enjoy the spectacular Highland scenery by taking a steamship ride along the loch, cycling along the shore or following some picturesque trails. A highlight is the Art & Literature Trail along the shore.
Loch Ard – The Great Forest of Loch Ard stretches from Aberfoyle to the foothills of Ben Lomond. One of the best ways to enjoy this forest is to cycle the shore of picturesque Loch Ard – the trails are ideal for families and there’s lots of fun things to see and do along the way.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.