Stop off to enjoy a picnic and panoramic coastal views from the trail at Ard Hill

Ard Hill

Drink in the sweeping views from Ard Hill

Drink in the fresh sea air and sweeping coastal views as you follow the gentle low-level trail around Ard Hill, near Balmacara Woods. Keep a look out for otters, seals and pods of dolphins in the tranquil waters of Loch Alsh below and buzzards and eagles above.

Find out more in our Forests of Lochalsh (PDF 3.1MB) leaflet.

Parking Walking Viewpoint

Life's essentials

There is a cosy café in the 18th century estate village of Balmacara Square beside the woods. Otherwise, head to nearby Kyle of Lochalsh for public toilets, parking, shopping and a range of places to eat and drink.

Walking trails

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

Gathering the clan

This hill on the very edge of the sea loch has an important place in local clan history. When the MacKenzies needed to be called together (usually in times of trouble), a barrel of tar would be set alight on top of the hill to alert the clan for miles around. The significance of this site is enshrined in clan history and commemorated in the MacKenzie clan crest, which shows a hill covered in flames.

Special stones

Ard Hill is also special for reasons that date back further… millions of years further. There are examples here of the internationally important ‘moine thrust’. It was this unique rock formation that first helped 19th century geologists understand that the earth’s surface wasn’t fixed – rocks collided, lifted and buckled over time to form the landscape.

Contact: Inverness, Ross and Skye Forest District

Address: Tower Road, Smithton, Inverness

Postcode: IV2 7NL

Telephone: 0300 067 6100


How to get here

How to get here

Ard Hill lies beside the A87 between Auchtertyre and Kyle of Lochalsh. Turn off the A87 at the Forestry Commission sign for Ard Hill.

Using SatNav?

IV40 8DH is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

There are regular buses between Inverness and Skye that stop along the A87. You’ll find details at Traveline Scotland.

Nearby places

Head north to nearby Balmacara Woods for a gentle walk through attractive varied woodland or a trail that climbs above the woods for fabulous views over Loch Alsh, the Kintail mountains and Skye.

Cross the elegant span of the Skye Bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh to reach the woods and trails around Kyleakin. These are a great introduction to Skye, with stunning views in all directions.

Alternatively head south to South Strome. This colourful mixed woodland lines the steep craggy slopes above Loch Carron – explore the trail here to enjoy spectacular loch and mountain views.

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