I'm at the very beginning of trip planning, exploring the different regions in Scotland. I've not seen much in the way of recent forum posts about Loch Lomond/The Trossachs. Would that area be compelling enough to deserve consideration as part of an itinerary? In other words, when you think "Scotland trip" is Loch Lomond/Trossachs one of your top destinations? Thanks!
We just got back from Scotland, and having driven through the Trossachs and along Loch Lomond, we are already planning to go back and spend more time there. It’s incredibly beautiful and peaceful. And in my opinion more scenic than Loch Ness. Even if you just drive through and enjoy the scenery it’s worth it.
A lot of people want to and do see Loch Lomond. The main road north from Glasgow goes right past it and it's easy to stop and enjoy it. The Trossachs are beautiful and are a wonderful place to visit particularly if you don't have time to get north. I would say the same thing about Perthshire. It was several trips before I got there, but I have a friend who rented a house nearby for a week family and loved it. They did a hike up Ben Lomond to a great view of the Loch. It's a Munroe so not a stroll, but it's not super challenging for fit people. Alternatively, you can visit Loch Katrine and ride a Steamboat to other side and back. (You can rent a bike and bike back.) This is Rob Roy MacGregor territory. The Loch is beautiful. You can go a bit further north to Balquhidder and see where he was buried. You can then drive up the Glen. At the end of the road is a trail to take you to another Munroe. But there are shorter easier walks nearby. When I wandered out that Glen I stopped for lunch at Monachyle Mhor. The view was great, the food was good and there was a fantastic dog.
Early stages of the West Highland Way travel the eastern shore of Loch Lomand:
Drymen to Rowardennan ...Conic Hill. The dazzlingly beautiful views from here of Loch Lomond
and its islands rank among the great moments of any journey along the
Way. After the village of Balmaha, the route stays close to Loch
Lomond on an undulating but very scenic stretch that leads on to
[Balmaha: Cullen Skink soup at the Oak Tree Inn]
Rowardennan to Inverarnan. The route is very scenic with some
beautiful native woodland as well as short, less attractive forestry
sections - and good views over Loch Lomond for much of the way.
[Rob Roy country, the folk hero, not the drink]
Okay, I am going to be the dissenting voice here. We had heard so much about Loch Lomond and we were so disappointed. We did have a good day hiking along the West Highland Way, but there really wasn't anything so spectacular to make me think that this is a "must see" destination. We wished we had used this time elsewhere on our trip. Maybe it makes a difference if you are not used to lakes and hills as scenery. I just didn't see anything that was so unusual that it deserved the time it took out of the rest of our trip.
Usually, I would be happy to return to most places I visit. Loch Lomond is not one of those places.
When I think about Loch Lomond and the Trossachs I think about it as two places despite the fact that it is one National Park. The Loch in my mind is a big lake. Like Loch Ness it has been romanticized and some people really want to see it. JC is right that Luss can be crowded. It wasn't when I was there. I've not taken one of the many boat rides that are offered, but I expect that they are pleasant--just like the boat rides I've taken in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin are pleasant. :)
The eastern part of the park, though is quite lovely. Its advantage is the proximity to the central belt and ease of access. I've told you my favorite parts and the bits that friends of mine liked. Like most of Scotland, it pays to get off the beaten track.
A highlight for us was a short boat cruise out of Luss on Loch Lomond. We were lucky with the weather -- probably would not have enjoyed it as much if it had been cold & rainy or foggy, but as they say "there's no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing." Cruise Loch Lomond offers a variety of trips of varying lengths, to and from different destinations around the loch. http://www.cruiselochlomond.co.uk/
Somewhat agree with Carol.
We did the Rabbies tour so we could leave the driving to someone else and just focus on sites. Was enjoyable to have someone else lead us around to the pretty parts of park and lake region rather than trying to figure this out on our own.
Was a pretty region but honestly, very similar to part of Vermont where we have a house.
Thus, we think next year we will try a different region.
Loch Lomond is more the jouney than the destination. The section between Rowardennan and Inversnaid reminds me of the "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond" song:
By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
We took the high road, a forest road with modest grades, rather than the low route, reported to be a scenic but rough and steep path closer to the shore.
Thanks to all for your input!