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Updated June 2024

Wanting To Walk Up Conic Hill Soon? This Blog Post Contains All The Need-To-Know Information To Help You Plan A Great Day Out.

If you're looking for a short hill walk, not far from both Glasgow and Stirling with stunning panoramic views over Loch Lomond, then Conic Hill is your answer!

Once you're done with your walk up Conic Hill, treat yourself to a well-deserved glass of wine or beer, some delicious food or refreshing ice cream from the restaurant and cafe across the road from the car park.

Conic Hill and a visit to Balmaha is a great day out for all the family and the perfect option for getting out the city and into nature.

This post is all about a guide to Conic Hill.

Where Is Conic Hill?

Conic Hill is located on the eastern side of Loch Lomond, in the popular village of Balmaha.

It takes approximately 35 minutes to get to Balmaha from Stirling, 50 minutes from Glasgow and 90 minutes from Edinburgh.

Conic Hill View
Conic Hill View

What Is The Height Of Conic Hill?

Conic Hill is 361-metres tall, which allows it to provide you with magnificent views over Loch Lomond.

It's a relatively short and easy walk, which makes it very popular. It can be walked solely as an individual hike or as part of the West Highland Way, which is a 154km walk going from Milngavie to Fort William and takes roughly 6-8 days to complete.

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Where Is The Conic Hill Car Park?

There are two car parks; the Conic Hill car park and an overflow car park.

The Conic Hill car park is in the best condition and I'd recommend trying to get a space there. The overflow car park is made from gravel and is a tad bumpy.

Both car parks are pretty big with enough space for roughly 200 cars. However, Balmaha is an extremely popular place especially in the summer, so these spaces tend to fill up very quickly.

When I visited, I got to the car park at 1pm and had to wait a considerate amount of time for a space in the overflow car park. To avoid this situation, try to get to Balmaha really early!

How Much Does It Cost To Park In The Conic Hill Car Park?

The parking prices for Conic Hill car park as of 2024 is as follows:

  • Up to 1 hour parking is free. However, you will still need to get a ticket from the machine for the free hour.
  • Up to 2 hours parking costs £2.50.
  • Up to 4 hours parking costs £3.00.
  • 24 hours parking is £4.00

You can pay for parking by cash at the machines or download the 'RingGo' app to pay by card.

Parking charges for the car park are between the hours of 8.45am-5.30pm, Monday to Sunday.

Where Do I Start The Walk Up Conic Hill?

The walk starts at the back of the main Conic Hill car park. There is a path leading into the forest next to an information board.

For the first 10-15 minutes of this climb, you will be walking through the forest. You might want to put on some midge spray, especially during the summer.

You'll then reach a small gate, which leads you out of the forest to steep wooden stairs. There is then an obvious footpath for you to follow all the way up to the summit.

Conic Hill is a relatively easy walk. The only slightly difficult part is on the last stretch to the summit, where it can get a wee bit rocky.

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How Long Does It Take To Walk Conic Hill?

Conic Hill can take 2-3 hours to get up and back down, depending on your speed and is around 4.5 km (2.8miles) in total.

When I climbed Conic Hill, it took us about 2 hours, but that involved taking a lot of breaks! Make sure you factor in time to stop and enjoy the views from the top.

What Is The View Like From The Top Of Conic Hill?

From the top of Conic Hill, you'll be able to spot all the 22 islands in Loch Lomond and all the way over to Ben Lomond, which towers above the rest of the hills and is Scotland's most southerly munro.

It's also an excellent place to see the Highland Boundary Fault. This geological fault occurred over 400-500 million years ago and has created two distinct regions in Scotland, the highlands and the lowlands.

At the summit of Conic Hill looking over Loch Lomond, you'll see the lowlands on your left has much flatter ground whereas the highlands on your right is much more mountainous.

I climbed Conic Hill in March and we were lucky to get beautiful blue clear skies
I climbed Conic Hill in March and we were lucky to get beautiful blue clear skies

When Is The Best Time To Climb Conic Hill?

You can climb Conic Hill all year round and at any time during the day. A good option might be for sunrise or sunset!

The best time to climb Conic Hill is in spring and autumn. During these seasons, there's a good chance of getting a nice clear day and it won't be too hot either.

It will still be very busy in Spring or Autumn but no where near as busy as it is during summer time, so you'll have more of a chance of getting a car park space.

It's a lot quieter to climb Conic Hill during the winter months (except for New Year's, where it's became a tradition for many to climb).

If you are choosing to climb it in Winter, you will have to be careful with snow and ice, which could make for a more difficult walk. However, you will be rewarded with beautiful views over the snow-capped mountains.

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Nearby Restaurants And Cafes To Visit Before Or After Conic Hill

Is there anything better than getting a pint or ice-cream after a hike? Here's a couple of options of places to grab that much-deserved treat.

  • Oak Tree Inn - This pub and restaurant is the perfect place to grab a drink and a bite to eat. I highly recommend the steak pie - it's delicious! They also have 38 bedrooms, so you could turn your visit into an overnight stay too!
  • St Mocha Coffee Shop - Serving up their own Loch Lomond Coffee, which is roasted on site, and delicious homemade ice cream. When I visited, I went for the Kinder Bueno ice cream, which was super tasty!

These are both located directly across from the Conic Hill car park so you won't need to walk far either.

Other Things To Do Around Balmaha

Take A Boat To Inchcailloch

Inchcailloch is one of the largest islands on Loch Lomond. You can take a ferry from Balmaha Boatyard to Inchcailloch island everyday during the summer months from 9.25am until 5pm.

The ferry usually runs every 30 minutes or so depending on how busy it is. You don't need to prebook, simply show up at the boatyard.

The current price to Inchcailloch is £7.50 return for an adult and £4.00 return for a child. You can pay either by cash or contactless.

There's also a small campsite on the island, open from March to September, if you wanted to stay overnight.

Relax On The Beach

There are glorious sandy bays on the banks of Loch Lomond, perfect for a picnic or BBQ in good weather.

To get to one of the bays, you need to walk from the Conic Hill car park to Balmaha pier. From here, there is a footpath to the right which also happens to be a section of the West Highland Way.

Walk along this footpath until you reach a beach that you like the look of or until you get to Milarrochy Bay, which will only take about 15-20 minutes. If you don't want to walk, you can drive your car to Milarrochy Bay.

Beach Near Balmaha
Beach Near Balmaha
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This post is all about Conic Hill.

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Kirsty x

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