The John Muir Way

One of Scotland’s Great Trails, the John Muir Way offers a unique coast to coast bikepacking journey through Scotland’s landscapes, history and heritage, linking Helensburgh in the west with Dunbar, the birthplace of John Muir, in the east. The route symbolically passes through Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, and offers a journey of contrasts and the chance to connect with nature, taking advantage of the green spaces that link coasts, villages, towns and even the capital city, Edinburgh.

For first-time bikepackers the John Muir Way offers good transport links and plentiful accommodation. It can be completed either in one or various journeys. On gravel paths, small roads, cycling paths and walking tracks the John Muir Way offers the unique opportunity to discover Scotland’s ancient Roman history, engineering heritage and several UNESCO World Heritage sites by bike, to provide a perspective of country like no other bikepacking route.

Watch ‘Unhurried’ – A feature film about a bikepacking journey on the John Muir Way

As guidance for your own adventure planning we have divided the route into three stages, which are described in detail below.

Stage 1 – Helensburgh to Auchinstarry
Stage 2 – Auchinstarry to Edinburgh
Stage 3 – Edinburgh to Dunbar

Download the GPX file here for free (as ZIP)

Distance: 212 km
Ascent: 1,820 m
Terrain: A mixture of forest tracks, singletrack, canal towpaths, walking paths, cycling paths, landrover tracks and sections on roads (some busy)
Difficulty: Straightforward. The route requires to carry your bike up a few sets of steps at times. It is well served by trains along the route, which make it easier to end the journey or cut it short if needed. Some busier road sections require care.

Find out more what to pack and which bike to take on a bikepacking trip along the John Muir Way

Highlights along the route

Important links:

John Muir Way official website

John Muir Way Facebook page

Campsites along the route

Selected John Muir Way Press Coverage

Cycling UKGreat Rides: John Muir Way

UK HillwalkingUnhurried

Kinesis BlogUnhurried

CyclingtipsUnhurried: The joy of slowing down

Bike BildSchottland: Ohne Eile auf dem John Muir Way

RennradnewsBikepacking auf dem John Muir Weg

Bikepacking.comUnhurried: Scotland Coast to Coast on the John Muir Way

ADVNTR.CCShort Film: Unhurried – The John Muir Way

GravelcyclistUnhurried – A film celebrating the experience of bikepacking Scotland coast to coast on the John Muir Way


Schwalbe UK BlogUnhurried – A new film by Markus Stitz

Singletrack/Grit.cxUnhurried | The John Muir Way with Markus Stitz

Thüringer AllgemeineDie Langsamkeit des Reisens

Red Bull10 of the best bikepacking routes in Scotland

The RadavistUnhurried: Scotland Coast to Coast

Yellow Jersey The DraftStaycation: 5 cycling routes around Scotland

Racefietsblog.nlUnhurried: The John Muir Way – video

AlpkitTop 10 UK Bikepacking Adventures