Garelochhead to Balloch, The Three Lochs Way

This walk is part of the trek The Three Lochs Way.

This part of The Three Lochs Way is much flatter than the first half and definitely the easier of the two days. It passes through the pretty town of Helensburgh. Despite the walk’s name, you leave the lochs behind for much of the way, meeting back up with Loch Lomond in the final stages. This is The Three Lochs Way Day 2.

Technical sheet No. 26498370

A Argyll and Bute walk posted on 06/09/22 by Gillian's Walks. Last update : 29/09/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 9h45[?]
Distance Distance : 28.71 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 542 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 552 m
Highest point Highest point : 267 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 6 m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : Argyll and Bute
Starting point Starting point : N 56.080849° / W 4.827179°
Ending point Ending point : N 56.003391° / W 4.583095°
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Start: Station Road, Garelochhead. (G84 0DB) Grid ref. NS 24166 91158

(D) From Station Road, Garelochhead follow the surfaced cycle path North-East to the A814 near a roundabout.

(1) Cross over carefully and pick up a grassy track on the other side of the road. Look out for a tall wooden finger post "American Road 0.8kms".

Follow a faint footpath through a small woodland area then uphill beside a dry stone wall.

(2) The path continues along a fence to a gate (you need to climb over it), leading to the official Three Lochs Way route.

Turn right (South-East) to walk along the track.

(3) After approx 1.5km cross over the A817. The track continues at the other side of the road.

(4) Turn left (East) and walk along Glen Fruin Road for 6.5km to a fork.

(5) Turn right (South-West) onto Drumfad Road.

(6) After approx 250m, turn right (South-West) onto a way-marked track heading up the hillside.

Continue in a South-West direction for approx 2.5km.

(7) Shortly after passing beneath some overhead pylons, turn left (East) at a fork to enter a pleasant woodland.

(8) When you reach a small car park turn right (South-West) onto Upper Colquhoun Street, passing Hill House, a National Trust for Scotland property.

At the end of Upper Colquhoun Street turn left (East) onto Munro Drive West.

(9) At the end of Munro Drive West turn right (South-West) onto A818/Sinclair Street which continues for approx 1km down to the A814/East Clyde Street by the water’s edge.

Turn left (East) to walk along the busy A814/East Clyde Street.

(10) After 1.8km move over to quieter Cardross Road on the left.

(11) Towards the end of Cardross Road the way markers direct you left (North-East) onto Drumfork Road, a minor road leading into a woodland area.

(12) Continue in a general North-East direction uphill for 1.4km to a crossroads. Continue ahead (East) towards a forest.

(13) Keep left (East) at a fork 300m along.

(14) A further 70m along keep right (South-East) at another fork.

(15) Follow the track in a general North-East direction for 2.3km to a path junction - turn right (East). At this point the Three Lochs Way joins up with the John Muir Way.

(16) It is worthwhile taking a short detour to a well signposted viewpoint in the forest – beautiful views of Loch Lomond. Turn left (North) off the path when you reach the signpost and follow the trail along to the viewpoint. Return to the main path via the same route.

(17) Keep right (South-East) at a fork a short distance along from the viewpoint. The forestry road bends to the right and starts to head downhill, emerging out onto a wide track at the bottom.

Keep left (East) at two forks along this track (18) and (19) and you will come out onto Stoneymollan Road.

(20) The path starts to head downhill with fabulous views down into Balloch. It leads you through a lovely tree-lined passage and onto Upper Stoneymollan Road.

(21) Close to the bottom of the hill turn left (North-East) to cross a footbridge over A82 and along Lower Stoneymollan Road.

(22) At the end of Lower Stoneymollan Road, turn left (North-West) onto Old Luss Road.

(23) Look out for a path on your right 280m along heading North-East towards Loch Lomond Shores.

(24) Walk along the main path around Loch Lomond Shores, past the shops and towards the pier, turning right (North-East) to cross Ben Lomond Way.

Follow the footpath at the other side of the road which bends to the right and runs parallel to the River Leven. The river should be on your left-hand side.

Balloch Tourist Information office is at the end of the path next to the car park (A)

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 27 m - Station Road, Garelochhead
1 : km 0.88 - alt. 100 m - Grassy path on other side of A814
2 : km 1.61 - alt. 175 m - Gate
3 : km 3.11 - alt. 192 m - A817
4 : km 3.51 - alt. 197 m - Glen Fruin Road
5 : km 10.05 - alt. 109 m - Drumfad Road
6 : km 10.3 - alt. 112 m - Way-marked track
7 : km 12.8 - alt. 119 m - Fork
8 : km 13.8 - alt. 103 m - Small car park
9 : km 14.56 - alt. 62 m - A818/Sinclair Street
10 : km 17.44 - alt. 7 m - Cardross Road
11 : km 17.66 - alt. 6 m - Drumfork Road
12 : km 19.05 - alt. 64 m - Crossroads
13 : km 19.29 - alt. 75 m - Fork
14 : km 19.35 - alt. 82 m - Fork
15 : km 21.57 - alt. 259 m - Path junction
16 : km 21.68 - alt. 263 m - Optional de-tour to viewpoint
17 : km 22.24 - alt. 265 m - Fork
18 : km 23.53 - alt. 204 m - Fork
19 : km 24.31 - alt. 226 m - Fork
20 : km 25.94 - alt. 128 m - Upper Stoneymollan Road
21 : km 26.62 - alt. 55 m - Footbridge over A82
22 : km 27.1 - alt. 17 m - Old Luss Road
23 : km 27.38 - alt. 20 m - Path to Loch Lomond Shores
24 : km 28.03 - alt. 11 m - Fork near pier, leading to Ben Lomond Way
A : km 28.71 - alt. 10 m - Balloch Tourist Information Office

Useful Information

Start: Station Road, Garelochhead. (G84 0DB) Grid ref. NS 24166 91158


  • Car parks at Garelochhead Railway Station and Balloch Tourist Information Office.
  • Train service between Balloch and Garelochhead (via Dumbarton).
  • Citylink bus service from Glasgow stops on A82 at Balloch
  • If walking the full Three Lochs Way and therefore not returning to Loch Sloy at the end of this walk, see transport info here instead.

Minor roads, roadside pavements, clay footpaths, forestry and woodland trails and open hillside. Some steep hills especially towards the end of the walk.

For more information and a walk review, visit Gillian's Walks

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Gare Loch
  • Garelochhead village - places to eat, accommodation, train station
  • Helensburgh town - places to eat, accommodation, Hill House (NTS property), train station
  • The John Muir Way
  • Loch Lomond
  • Loch Lomond Shores - shops, cafes, picnic areas, Sealife Centre, Bird of Prey Centre, Maid of the Loch
  • Balloch town - places to eat, accommodation, tourist information office, train station
  • Balloch Castle Country Park - near by

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.