Soak in the scenery at Dunardry
The picnic spot at the start of the Dunardry trails is a great vantage point above the Crinan Canal. Sit back, enjoy the views and watch the boats negotiating the locks.
You can choose from four enticing trails here – meander through tall conifers to a viewpoint, scramble to the summit of An Cruach Mor or take the exhilarating Near to Nature trail beside the Dunardry Burn. If you’re looking for something much easier but equally scenic, choose the easy Great Gate Loop that also bridges the gorge. You can find all the details in our leaflet guide to Dunardry.
Find somewhere to eat and drink
You’ll find refreshments at Cairnbaan and Crinan, and there are public toilets on the quay at Crinan. Head to nearby Lochgilphead for a selection of shops and places to eat and drink.
Green Gate Loop
A gentle wander beneath towering larch and fir trees along the cascades of Dunardry Burn.
Firm gravel and tarmac surface throughout, with some slightly loose sections. Moderate slopes. Includes a bridge and a section along the access road.
¼ miles / 0.4 km Allow ¼ hour
An easy way to get a taste of Knapdale Forest – ideal for a quick leg-stretch or a gentle amble for the whole family. Look out for some living sculptures as you explore, including a willow arch and a birch wall, and some unusual stone seats. Be sure to stop on the bridge to enjoy the spectacle of the tumbling Dunardry Burn snaking through the rocky gorge to spill eventually into the Crinal Canal below.
Start this trail at the parking area by the roadside on the hillside above Cairnbaan: see ‘how to get here’ for details.
Walk beneath towering trees in a quiet part of the forest overlooking the scenic Crinan Canal.
Mostly firm, wide gravel track. Uneven grassy section that may occasionally be muddy. Long moderate slopes for up to 600m with some steeper sections.
2 ¼ miles / 3.7 km Allow 1¼ hours
The name comes from the Gaelic for ‘height of the high king’, and there are lovely views down to the Crinan Canal between the trees. Look out for deer amongst the trees, and red squirrels and crossbills in the canopy. You may also hear the distinctive cat-like mewing of buzzards circling overhead.
Near to Nature Trail
A quirky and exhilarating trail around Dunardry Burn gorge, guaranteed to excite all your senses and get your pulse racing.
Firm but uneven gravel surface, with some narrow sections and exposed tree roots. Some steep slopes with long sets of uneven stone steps. Includes a few bridges.
1 ¼ miles / 1.9 km Allow ¾ hour
Switch all your senses to ‘heightened’ and be ready to experience the wonder of this sheer wooded burn. Brush through the trees, twist and turn along the rocky gorge and feel the breeze from the rushing water below.
Climb steadily to reach the summit of An Cruach Mòr (‘the great stack’) for 360 degree views of the Argyll coast and a magnificent bird’s eye view of Mòine Mhór.
Some long steep slopes with uneven stone steps. Generally firm gravel surface, with some uneven and narrow sections. Short grassy section at summit may occasionally be wet.
3 miles / 4.8 km Allow 2 hours
Mountain biking trails
Knapdale for adventure
Dunardry is a popular place to start exploring the forest roads by cycle around Knapdale Forest. The easy option is to potter along the Crinan Canal towpath, part of National Cycle Route 78. If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, there’s a scenic network of quiet forest roads around the area.
Stop off at Barnluasgan for a picnic and see if you can spot the beavers of Knapdale. You might also see dragonflies and dainty goldeneye ducks on Loch Barnluasgan.
An ancient coastal kingdom
Knapdale is part of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, the birthplace of the Scottish nation. It was centred on Dunadd, a rocky crag just north of Lochgilphead, which was the crowning place of its kings. Explore the area to find remains of thousands of years of human occupation, including some remarkable prehistoric rock art. There are fine rock carvings at Achnabreac, and Kilmartin House Museum is a great place to find out more about this area’s remarkable history.
Dunardry's industrial past
How to get here
Dunardry car park is beside the B841 between Lochgilphead and Crinan.
Follow the A816 north out of Lochgilphead. After about 2½ miles (4km), take the B841 towards Crinan. Dunardry car park is on the left after about a mile (1.5km), at grid reference NR 823 908.
For easy access to the Green Gate Loop, there’s another car park close to the start of the trail. About ½ mile (1km) after you join the B841, look out for the Forestry Commission’s ‘Cairnbaan Workshops’ on your left. Take the next left turn after the workshops, onto ‘Letter Daill’. Follow the road uphill between the houses for about a mile (1.5km) to reach a parking area beside the road, at grid reference NR 821 904.
PA31 8UE is the nearest postcode for the Dunardry car park.
PA31 8UH is the nearest postcode for the Green Gate Loop parking area.
There are regular buses between Lochgilphead and Achnamara, which stop at nearby Cairnbaan. Find details at Traveline Scotland.
Barnluasgan is the ideal place to start exploring Knapdale. Find out about its remarkable wildlife and choose from a range of scenic woodland trails. Head a bit farther into Knapdale to find Gleann a Gealbhan. A short trail through the woods leads to the evocative ruins of Arichonan, a village cleared of its residents in 1848. Visit the little harbour at Crinan and then head up through Atlantic oakwoods above the village to some spectacular viewpoints overlooking the Crinan Canal, the Sound of Jura and the Inner Hebrides.
Our leaflet guide to the forests of Mid Argyll & Kintyre will help you explore more wonderful woodlands.
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