Hiking Isle of Skye, Scotland is an experience you will never forget. An island of prolific green mountains, pouring waterfalls, and natural rock formations reminiscent of art, makes it an ideal hiking destination.
We were a little on the fence about hiking Isle of Skye. After serious debating over whether we should partake in this seemingly “touristy” destination, we thought we’d give it a shot. Especially since everywhere else in the U.K. was being drenched by yet another rainstorm, preventing us from rock climbing or doing any really serious hikes. Within a few minutes of driving through the island, we were pleasantly surprised.
Though we had researched and knew what to expect, it never compares to what it looks like in person. It’s easy to understand why tourists come here. In fact, it was the first place we visited on our Europe trip that reminded us of U.S. National Parks in that there was such a diversity of nationalities all here to experience the powerful words that only nature can speak. The only dilemma with the weather here was not the rain per se, but the fog that hung over the stunning geological formations. However, even if you can’t see it all, the feeling of the mountains is worth it.
Here’s our suggestion of how to hike Isle of Skye.
Check out this map to get your bearings of where each hiking destination is on Isle of Skye:
After enjoying the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, take the Mallaig to Armadale ferry to start the loop around Isle of Skye.
Stop #1: Hike The Fairy Pools
Distance roundtrip: 1.5 mi / 2.5 km
This hike brings you along crystal blue waterfalls cascading over the dark gray rocks with the gorgeous Cullin Mountain range looming in the background. If it’s raining, this would be a recommended hike due to its low elevation however you may lose sight of the mountainous background. This is a great family hike, being less than 2 miles round trip, and takes between forty-five minutes to an hour
Stop #2: Hike Faerie Glen
If you’re seeking a playful exploration, stop here and wander through these unique mound-like hills topped with meadows, ferns, and bogs. It’s a short walk on the traffic free road. You’ll come across this oasis of a glen on the right. There are beautiful photo opportunities and cool little rock designs on the ground. Worth the drive toward Uig to see!
The idyllic rock formations of this route are sure to leave you in awe. If you’ve ever seen images of The Isle of Skye, it’s probably images of this or Old Man of Storr. Take the high route, scrambling along The Cube, then make your way to The Table and the iconic Needle. Hope for a clear day (though rare in Scotland) because the rocks may be hidden from view.
Stop #3: Check out Staffin Bay
Known as the most beautiful beach on the island, this bay is a great place to catch your breath between hikes. Note: If you surf, it can get good here on a decent swell.
Stop #4: See Kilt Rock and Lealt Falls
Kilt rock starkly contrasts with the waterfall that pours into the ocean. The viewpoint is right next to the parking lot, but if you are looking for a hike nearby, I also recommend Lealt Falls. It’s only a mile more down the road.
Stop #5: Hike Old Man of Storr
If you know anything about hiking you’ve probably heard of this. Like The Quirang, Old Man of Storr is a magical area as a result of the astounding rock spires that jut into the air like beacons of nature. Though it may seem overrated, the short 3-mile trek will leave a profound mark on you. Once again, try to hit it on a relatively clear day and you will not be disappointed.
For Extra Adventure: Kayak Raasay Island
Even if you have never kayaked before, I urge you to try it out on the beautiful island of Raasay which lies next to Rona. There are plenty of tours that ferry you over and guide you through a kayaking the coves.