Scotland’s majestic wilderness, pristine lochs, and plentiful wildlife make it a perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, while its historically rich cities offer astounding cultural experiences.
There is truly something for every type of traveler to enjoy when visiting Scotland, especially when it comes to waterfalls.
The rugged landscapes of Scotland house some of the world’s most beautiful naturally-made waterfalls.
These majestic waterfalls have inspired artists, writers, and nature lovers for ages.
So, as you plan your adventure, make sure to incorporate these natural wonders that you won’t want to miss.
12 Top-Rated Waterfalls in Scotland
1. Eas a’ Chual Aluinn
Britain’s highest waterfall is also one of the most challenging waterfalls in Scotland to reach, but it is well worth it if you’re up for the journey.
The challenging hike meant for thrill-seekers winds through the heart of Assynt. Hikers will pass through the craggy landscape, past lochs and streams to the top of Eas a’ Chual Aluinn, which plummets a shocking 658 feet.
With this sort of drop, it’s more than three times higher than Niagara Falls.
To start the 6-mile hike, you have to begin at the parking area off of A894 between Kylesku and Lochinver. This waterfall walk takes about five hours round trip in summer.
2. Wailing Widow Falls
For an incredible view cloaked in local legend, check out the Wailing Widow Falls. Located in the Scottish Highlands, you can view this waterfall from above or below.
Fed from the Loch na Gainmhich, Wailing Widow Falls spill out of a dramatic 50 ft cliff into the canyon below.
But, the beauty isn’t the only reason to visit the falls. There is also a story behind the name.
As the legend goes, long ago, the falls surprised a deer hunter, and he plummeted to his death during a hunt. His grief-stricken mother, devastated by her son’s death, leaped from the falls the very next day.
3. Linn of Quoich
One of the best Scotland waterfalls according to Queen Victoria, the Linn of Quoich, makes for a tranquil place to spend an afternoon in nature.
Formed by the Water of Quoich, the waterfall’s gorge has created a large hole in the rocks called the Earl of Mar’s Punch Bowl. And people have even used the hole as a true punch bowl at the end of deer hunts in the surrounding forest.
Massive old pine trees surround the entire area, adding to the relaxation of this special spot. Plus, of course, due to its royal history and picturesque location, this is a favorite stopping point for tourists.
4. Falls of Glomach
One of the tallest waterfalls in Britain, the Falls of Glomach drop an astounding 370 feet. Located in the remote countryside of the North West Highlands, these falls border Kintail, the mountainous region that is part of the National Trust of Scotland.
Getting to these falls requires a bit of effort, but the adventure is well worth the view. To reach the falls, you must hike 12 miles through the pristine Highland countryside.
The name of this fall comes from the Gaelic word ‘glomach,’ which means hazy. The title originates from the mist that rises from the menacing rocky drop below.
5. Plodda Falls
Another epic waterfall, Plodda Falls, is near the Victorian village of Tomich in Inverness-shire. The waterfall is on the south side of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve.
Emerging from a thick forest of fir trees, Plodda Falls plunge 151 feet. And those who wish to see it will enjoy a walk through the pristine reserve on a pleasant downhill hike alongside the Abhainn Deabhag River.
6. Mealt Falls
If the enchanting Isle of Skye is on your travel agenda, be sure to stop at the Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock.
This epic waterfall drops 180 feet over rocky cliffs and spills directly into the Atlantic Ocean below. But, in the winter, the water is sometimes blown straight back up the cliffs.
The sea cliff waterfall is a part of the beautiful Loch Mealt, and you can view both from an established lookout area that sits away from the falls. Here, you can get the best view of the waterfall and the surrounding coastline.
7. Fairy Glen
Another favorite tourist destination, the Fairy Glen is a truly magical place to view two waterfalls.
Located near the village of Rosemarkie, on the south coast of the Black Isle, you can access this glen through a delightful woodland hike. The easy walk up a well-traveled path is perfect for all fitness levels, and there is a large car park located at the start of the trail for easy access.
The Fairy Glen gained its name from a centuries-old well-dressing ceremony. During this yearly ritual, the village children would decorate fairy pools with flowers so the fairies would bless the water and keep it clean for the villagers to drink.
The Scottish writer and geologist Hugh Miller increased the popularity of the waterfalls through his writings of geological formations specific to the glen.
8. Grey Mare’s Tail
Grey Mare’s Tail is a 200 feet hanging valley waterfall fed by the waters of Loch Skeen and emptying into the Moffat Water Valley. A gem among Scotland’s waterfalls, Grey Mare’s natural beauty is astounding.
It is the fifth tallest waterfall in Britain and a part of the Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve. The falls’ dramatic landscape came about from glacial erosion over millions of years.
Plus, the peaks of Lochcraig Head, Mid Craig, and White Comb surround the area.
This protected land is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and botanists as it houses many rare flower species and other upland plants. You might even be lucky enough to see peregrine falcons and ospreys sweeping across the sky.
The area is rich with ancient human history as well, and researchers believe it to be a settling place during the Iron Age. Plus, in the 17th century, Covenanters used the area to keep an eye out for government troops.
Noted as a Special Area of Conservation, the European Union and the UK government recognize Grey Mare’s as a place of significant natural and botanical importance. There is also a famous poem by Sir Walter Scott about the falls.
It is a challenging hike over a rough path and a steep climb to reach the falls, so not everyone can access it. But, if you are up to it, you can begin the hike at the Grey Mare’s car park.
9. Dollar Glen
East of Stirling in Clackmannanshire, the Dollar Glen falls from where two streams known as the Burns of Care and Sorrow come together.
You can reach the falls as part of a series of woodland hiking trails through the Ochil Hills. The hike also accesses the ruins of Castle Campbell, which was the 15th-century stronghold of the storied Clan Campbell.
Noted as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the many wildlife habitats, the glen houses 190 species of lichen and over 100 species of moss.
10. The Falls of Measach
Another waterfall formed by glacial melt, the Falls of Measach in Corrieshalloch Gorge, features rock formations from 2.5 million years ago during the Quaternary Ice Age.
The name of the falls in Gaelic is the ugly hollow. However, the name certainly does not fit the beautiful waterfalls and surrounding lush woodland.
Furthermore, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature named the falls a Category II protected area. But, despite their protected status, you can still view the falls from a huge Victorian suspension bridge that crosses the gorge.
To reach the cantilevered viewing platform, you need to start at the parking lot on road A832. You can get to the suspension bridge viewing platform via a series of switchbacks from the trailhead in just under 10 minutes.
11. Falls of Foyers
Located in Loch Ness, travelers who want to try their luck at spotting Nessy can make a lovely day trip to the Falls of Foyers.
This impressive Scottish waterfall is a historical treasure in Scotland. It has inspired the likes of the famous painter and conservationist Mary Rose Hill as well as Robert Addams, who wrote a paper on the falls in the 19th century.
The Gaelic name of the falls means ‘smoking waters’ because of the mists rising from their thundering plunge into the famous Loch Ness.
12. Steall Falls
The second highest waterfall in Scotland, Steall Falls, rises 390 feet and runs through the Nevis Gorge. The entire area, owned by the John Muir Trust, is stunning and offers views of Ben Nevis – the tallest mountain in Britain.
The waterfall was once called An Steal Ban, Gaelic for ‘the white spout.’ And for all the Harry Potter fans, this waterfall made an appearance in two of the films.
The Steall Falls are accessible via a short hike through the Nevis Gorge, but for those looking for some more excitement, you can get to the base by a three-wire bridge.
In the summer, the bus service will take you right to the trailhead so that you can see one of the most stunning waterfalls in Scotland.
Since there are so many breathtaking Scottish waterfalls, here are a few more majestic falls you should think about visiting.
- Glenashdale Falls (Isle of Arran over Whiting Bay) – Also has an iron age fort, a circular walk around the falls, and a visitor center.
- The lower falls and upper falls of the Falls of Clyde (New Lanark) – Near the World Heritage Site of New Lanark.
- Black Linn Falls (The Hermitage, Dunkeld) – Tucked deep away in the woods
- Falls of Bruar (short walk from Pitlochry) – Became famous when Robert Burns asked the Duke of Atholl to plant trees around it. Also, you can see salmon leaping out of the water here.
- Dog Falls (Glen Affric)
- The lower falls of Eas Fors (Mull)
- Inchree Falls (Onich) – Also has an excellent forest walk
- Inversnaid Falls (Loch Lomond in Stirling) – Located on the West Highland Way
- Falls of Feugh (River Dee)
- Reekie Linn (Alyth on the River Isla) – A double leap within a bewitching woodland
- Divach Falls (Inverness)
- Loup of Fintry (Stirling) – Has an easy signposted footpath.
- Wolfcleuch Waterfall (Hawick) – Sits along the Scottish Borders
So, if you ever visit Scotland or happen to live in this gorgeous land, do yourself a favor and visit some of its best falls.
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