Explore the charms of Cambus o'May
Cambus o'May is one of those places you can visit again and again – and find something new each time. Each season has its charms, from wildflowers in spring to crisp winter days.
Choose from trails that cross a lochan on a picturesque bridge, or wind through Scots pine trees where squirrels chatter. If you really want to take it easy, there’s a grand view of Deeside’s mountains just from the car park.
Explore Cambus o’May, or find other places to visit with a guide to all our Aberdeenshire forests.
Dogs and wildlife
Cambus o’May is an important site for ground nesting birds like capercaillie. Please keep your dog under very close control – either at heel or on a lead – to help protect them.
You’ll find a range of places to eat in Dinnet, Ballater and Aboyne. There are accessible public toilets in Ballater and Aboyne.
A short loop around the west lochan, where you may see damselflies and dragonflies dancing over the water.
Firm but uneven gravel surface. Some short steep slopes with single uneven rock steps. Parts may be slightly grassy or muddy.
½ miles / 1.0 km Allow ¼ hour
At the start of this trail you’ll be walking along an esker – a ridge left behind by a huge glacier – with great views south into the Dee valley. On a fine day you'll see Lochnagar in the distance.
Two Lochans Trail
Wander beneath majestic Douglas firs to reach a pair of picture-perfect lochans nestled amid the pines.
Uneven gravel surface with some slightly grassy and muddy parts. Some steep slopes with one flight of wooden steps. Includes three bridges.
1 ½ miles / 2.5 km Allow 1 hour
Both the lochans along this trail are legacies from the Ice Age: they sit in shallow saucers left behind by huge lumps of ice that broke off from the glaciers flowing from the centre of the Cairngorms.
You’ll pass an old quarry too. Stone from here was used for buildings in Ballater as the village grew after Queen Victoria made Deeside fashionable.
Pine Tree Trail
A longer tour through the tranquil pine forest, which is home to red squirrels, capercaillie and black grouse.
Uneven gravel surface with some rocky and muddy parts. Some steep slopes. Includes three bridges and some exposed tree roots.
2 ¾ miles / 4.3 km Allow 1½ hours
Mountain biking trails
For a longer outing on foot or mountain bike, there’s a great route that visits Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, just over the hill from Cambus o’May. Take the forest road north east from the furthest point on the Pine Tree Trail and it will lead you straight onto the reserve. While you’re there, don’t miss the Vat, a spectacular pothole in the granite. Return to Cambus o’May along the Deeside Way, a traffic-free route along an old railway line.
How to get here
Cambus O'May is on the north side of the A93 between Ballater and Dinnet.
From Ballater, take the A93 east towards Aboyne. The car park is sign posted on your left about 2.5 miles / 4 km from the edge of Ballater. There is a bus stop at the forest entrance.
The car park is at grid reference NO 404 981.
AB35 5SD is the nearest postcode.
Buses between Aberdeen and Ballater stop at the car park entrance by request: ask to be let off at Cambus O May. There is an hourly bus service on most days. You’ll find service details at Traveline Scotland.
The Vat, a spectacular granite pothole, is just a few kilometres away on Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve.
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