There is nothing quite like the drama of a thundering waterfall, thousands of gallons of water tumbling over a rocky edge in a marvellous cascade. I love chasing waterfalls and Scotland’s rugged landscape has some of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve ever experienced.
Scotland’s mountainous terrain and abundant rainfall make it a particularly good environment for waterfall formation. It’s no wonder then that there are so many spectacular falls within the highlands, just itching to be marvelled at.
Below I’ve created a list of some of my favourite waterfalls in Scotland!
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Waterfalls don’t come much more dramatic than Eas a’ Chual Aluinn! With a fall of 200 metres, it’s the highest waterfall in Scotland and offers incredible views from the top, making it popular with photographers and hikers alike.
Its name comes from the Gaelic for ‘beautiful back waterfall’.
Eas a’ Chual Aluinn has several unique features, including a series of cascading pools and a sheer drop into a deep gorge.
There is an 11km circular hike to the top of the waterfall which yields some stunning views of the wilderness. It’s a challenging hike and takes 6-9 hours to complete.
Nestled within the heart of Aberfeldy in Perthshire, the Falls of Moness form part of what is known as the Birks of Aberfeldy – a walk made famous by Robert Burns’s folk song of the same name.
Robert Burns is a famous Scottish poet and you are greeted by a life-size statue of the poet as you begin the Birks of Aberfeldy walk.
Although it’s becoming more popular, I’d still class this beautiful waterfall as a fairly hidden gem and the walk never gets particularly crowded.
The walk is one of my favourites in Scotland and involves walking through a thick forest of birch trees whilst giving outstanding views of the cascades of the Falls of Moness.
Despite it’s a relatively short walk, there are lots of steps so it requires a reasonable level of fitness. I’d recommend taking the circular walk in a clockwise direction as it gives the best views of the falls which have an impressive single drop.
The best viewing spot is from a bridge that crosses the river above the falls, providing excellent views of the cascading water.
My tip would be to visit the falls during the winter months, when the surrounding trees are bare and the falls are particularly striking.
The circular hike to the Falls of Moness is 2.4 km and takes around 1-2 hours to complete.
Steall Falls is located near Fort William, on the west coast of Scotland, and is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the United Kingdom, including the mighty Ben Nevis. Its name comes from the Gaelic ‘steall’ meaning ‘spout’ or ‘spurt’.
The waterfall has an incredible cascade of 120 metres and on a visit, you are rewarded with dramatic natural scenery around the falls. This area is also wonderful for spotting some Scottish wildlife, such as red deer and golden eagles.
The waterfall is accessed via a cable bridge that spans a deep gorge, so it’s not for the faint hearted!
The hike to Steall Falls in Glen Nevis is around 6.4 km round trip and takes around 2-4 hours to complete.
Close to the charming town of Kenmore in Perthshire, the Falls of Acharn is a series of picturesque waterfalls and a real hidden gem.
The falls are overlooked by a Hermit’s Cave which was built around 1790 and provides a fantastic viewing platform for the falls. The purpose of the Cave was to add a sense of drama, wonder, and mystery to visitors’ trips to the Falls, and it achieves this goal flawlessly.
The leisurely hike through dense forest to the falls provides some stunning views of not only the falls themselves but of the vast loch Tay and mysterious Hermit’s Cave.
There are two main cascades that you can view here, the largest of which you can witness from the Hermit’s Cave.
There is a second, more secluded waterfall, which you can view by wandering over a wooden bridge, which takes you right over the pool in which this mystical waterfall flows into.
If you have time you can also visit the Falls of Acharn Stone Circle which consists of neolithic stones that are situated just above the Falls of Acharn. They can be easily overlooked if you’re not aware of their location, as reaching them requires taking a detour from the main circular loop around the falls.
My tip would be to visit the falls during the autumn months when the changing colours of the leaves add to the beauty of the area.
The circular hike is around 4 km and takes around 1-3 hours to complete.
Located near Loch Skeen in the Moffat Hills, Grey Mare’s Tail is a towering waterfall that is surrounded by beautiful green countryside. The waterfall is the main focal point in the Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve.
The waterfall’s name comes from the white foamy appearance of the water as it falls. It’s in fact the fifth tallest waterfall in the United Kingdom.
Accessed via a short 5 minute walk from the car park, the area is also home to several rare species of plant, including alpine bearberry and purple saxifrage.
The reserve is a haven for wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot ospreys, ring ouzels, feral goats or nesting peregrine falcons on your adventure.
Perched on the edge of the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, the Falls of Bruar are a series of waterfalls located in a george covered in re-planted forest.
The falls are spectacular and caught the attention of the famous poet Robert Burns, who subsequently wrote a poem which urged the re-planting of countless trees in the then barren area.
The falls have a total drop of around 18 metres and are accessed via a circular trail through the forest. There is ample parking at the House of Bruar which is a locally owned shopping centre at the start of the walk.
There are two main cascades that can be viewed at this location. The first can be viewed from a stone bridge which arches over the falls beside a viewing platform, which looks out over a tantalisingly clear pool beneath the falls. The second point of interest is further upstream, a larger fall that can be viewed from the forest.
My tip would be to visit the falls during the summer months, when the surrounding woodland is in full bloom.
The circular hike to the Falls of Bruar is approximately 4 km round trip and takes around 1-3 hours to complete.
In the heart of Killin, just to the north of Loch Lomond, The Falls of Dochart consists of a vast number of small waterfalls, tumbling over large rocks which are situated within the River Dochart. The falls are especially impressive after heavy rainfall.
The best viewing spot is from the village stone bridge that crosses the river. From here you have an amazing panoramic view of the falls.
There are a number of large, flat rocks beside the river which you can walk upon. This is another popular way to view the falls.
Being right beside the road, you don’t need to walk far to view these falls. Simply park in Killin village and wander over to them.
Nestled in the county of Sutherland in northern Scotland, the Falls of Shin is perhaps best known for its salmon jumping spectacle, in which salmon try to leap over the falls. The surrounding area is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including otters and red squirrels.
Although you can spot fry and parr in the river throughout the year, the optimal time to witness adult salmon leaping is during late summer and autumn. The best time of day is either early in the morning or in the evening, especially following periods of heavy rainfall.
The Falls of Shin is conveniently located right beside the road. There’s a cafe beside the car park known as Shin Falls Cafe, the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after your short walk to the falls.
Located in Glen Affric in the heart of the Highlands, 5 miles outside the tiny village of Tomich, the Plodda Falls have an impressive total drop of 46 metres. Due to their height, the sheer force of the water as it cascades down the rock face is truly breathtaking to witness.
You can access the falls along a well-maintained walking trail, starting at Plodda Falls Carpark, which takes you through ancient Caledonian pine forests and along the banks of the River Affric to the falls.
From the carpark, it only takes around 15 minutes to reach the falls.
Scotland is a country that’s renowned for its incredible natural scenery. There are countless waterfalls within this magical landscape that are just itching to take your breath away.
Have you been to Scotland before? Which was your favourite waterfall?
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Last Updated on 21 June, 2023 by Veronica