Helensburgh to Balloch

Helensburgh to Balloch

Helensburgh to Balloch
The start/finish of the route is marked by a seat made from Scottish oak and a circular stone plinth with engraved footprints and a John Muir quote. Starting out from this seaside holiday town is a treat. There are more than enough cafes and eateries to choose from in this west coast holiday town before you set off up the hill on your trip. Take time out to look seawards and imagine sailing off to America from those waters like John Muir did well over a century ago. If you’ve time, why not visit the National Trust for Scotland's Hill House and enjoy some arts and crafts splendour. Once up onto the hill you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Loch Lomond against the National Park mountain backdrop. With that tremendous view, the route winds its way down to Balloch, where your first set of home comforts lie.


Key things to note about this route section.

9 miles, 15 km
Average time to complete
4 hours' walking, 1.5 hours' cycling

Path Quality

The Way uses pavements, gravel & grassy paths and quiet roads. Walkers and cyclists share the route for some of the way until just outside Helensburgh where the walkers route heads up over Gouk Hill. 



Forestry operations at Bannachra Muir

From June 2018 until spring 2019, Scottish Woodlands will be carrying out felling, extraction and restocking works at Bannachra Muir on the John Muir Way walkers’ route between Helensburgh and Balloch. 

The John Muir Way will remain open, but users are asked to take extra care and follow any on-site signage and instructions from the contractor. The forest road will have forestry traffic during extraction and may become muddy during wet weather.

The works can be avoided by following the John Muir Way signed alternative via the Three Lochs Way – as shown on the map here

The John Muir Way cyclist route is unaffected.

Railway Stations

Helensburgh Central Railway Station

Helensburgh Upper Railway Station

Visit this station if only for the wildflower displays. Planted by local volunteers, the flower collections are designed to attract the maximum number of wildlife species, making a good contribution to creating biodiversity in the area. Helensburgh Upper is part of the West Highland Line.

Craigendoran Railway Station, Helensburgh

Station south of Helensburgh travelling from Glasgow.

Balloch Railway Station

Alexandria Railway Station

Points of interest

VisitScotland Information Centre

Scotland's national tourism operator centre. 

The Waverley Paddle Steamer

The Waverley is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. Magnificently restored with towering funnels, timber decks, gleaming varnish and brass. 

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The Hill House

Managed by the National Trust for Scotland, the finest of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's domestic creations, The Hill House sits high above the Clyde, commanding fine views over the river estuary.

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Sweeney's Cruises

Luxury cruise options for exploring Loch Lomond.

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The route starts or finishes by the engraved circular stone plinth and seat at the entrance to Helensburgh Pier at the start of the West esplanade.

Maid of the Loch 

Loch Lomond's own steam ship experience.

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Loch Lomond Shores Retail and Leisure Centre

Retail and leisure centre by Loch Lomond.

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Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre

Dive in and let us take you on a fascinating journey from the coastline to the depths of the ocean. Discover a magical underwater world filled with a dazzling array of amazing creatures. 

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Helensburgh Town Centre

Helensburgh owes its creation to Sir James Colquhoun of Luss; in 1776 he built spa baths on the site of Ardencaple Castle, and as the town took shape, modelled on the Georgian sensibilities of Edinburgh's New Town, he named it after his wife Helen.

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Helensburgh Heroes Centre

The Heroes Centre celebrates the achievements of over 100 local figures from John Logie Baird to UK Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law. It houses a 50′s themed Cafe, Visitor Centre and Exhibition Space. Completed the route? Claim your John Muir Way certificate here.

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Helensburgh Golf Club

With stunning panoramic views across the Clyde Estuary towards Arran and over Loch Lomond to the Trossachs, our exciting moorland course is a 'Must Play' experience.

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Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve

Often known as Bluebell wood, Duchess Wood is a rich and diverse woodland with a variety of different plant and animal species.

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Cameron House Hotel

Luxury hotel, leisure complex with golf course and restaurants for visitors.

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John Muir Way Baggage Transfer Services
Let someone else share your load and transport your luggage. Tel: 01324 879172
Helensburgh's selection of restaurants, cafes and take-away food.
Helensburgh Cycles
Gemini Walks Tour Operators
Provide guiding services along several long distance routes.
Balloch's selection of restaurants, cafes and take-away food.


Helensburgh's Hotel and B&B Accommodation
Balloch's Hotel and B&B Accommodation