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Whit/purple with walking man and directional arrowJohn Muir Way

216 km / 134 miles

Argyll and Bute, E Dunbarton, E Lothian, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Midlothian, N Lanark, Stirling, W Dunbarton, W Lothian
Launched on 21st April 2014 to coincide with the Muir centenary, with a new guide book and accompanying folded map published by Rucksack Readers in April 2014, also available as a package.

The new John Muir Way runs for 134 miles (215 km) coast-to-coast across Scotland's centre, from Helensburgh on the Clyde to Dunbar on the North Sea. The route is as suitable for cyclists as for walkers, and it can be tackled as a coast-to-coast expedition or in sections - ten for walkers or five for cyclists. It was developed by Scottish Natural Heritage and is due to be launched by Scotland's First Minister as part of the John Muir Festival in April 2014.

Its appeal ranges from the domestic architecture of Helensburgh (passing Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Hill House) through the scenic grandeur of Loch Lomond, along two famous canals and past the amazing Falkirk Wheel, beside the Roman Antonine Wall, passing Linlithgow Palace, Blackness Castle and the Forth Bridges to the glories of Edinburgh. It finishes on the wide coastal expanses of East Lothian, at Dunbar with its ruined castle and John Muir’s birthplace cottage.

It is not to be confused with the John Muir Trail in California, which is a very different matter. While hardly itself a wilderness experience, the John Muir Way honours one of the County’s most famous sons born in Dunbar, the iconic writer on the natural world and later American conservation campaigner and founder of the Sierra Club who was a prime-mover in the establishment of the USA's National Park system. After emigrating Muir lived through a seminal period in the USA to which his ideas made a major contribution. In a country of pioneers intent on taming and exploiting the wilderness and displacing its indigenous peoples, the initial radical ideas of conservation were alien to many. These gave way to a more complex debate between the purist view of conservation and a utilitarian view that saw a need to balance economic use and preservation. In 1890, in large part due to Muir's efforts, Yosemite, Sequoia and General Grant in California were declared as Parks under President Benjamin Harrison. Muir's words and deeds helped inspire the designation of many more wilderness areas under the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt, himself a lover of the outdoors and a champion of wilderness, but Muir's final lengthy campaigns to save the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite from drowning with a dam construction on the Tuolumne river ended in failure when Congress sanctioned the project in 1913 in Roosevelt's term of office, and Muir died in the following year, though his ideas live on.

The John Muir Way offers generally easy walking and part of it passes through the John Muir Country Park (1,760 acres managed by East Lothian Council on the western side of Dunbar). In Dunbar is a memorial to Muir, East Lothian's 'Man of the Millennium' and an exhibition and visitor centre at his birthplace, with pages on the Lothian website. The Way includes much of East Lothian's varied coastline, with beaches, cliffs, sandstone arches and dunes, and the lowland below the Lammermuir Hills, with rivers, waterfalls and woods. There is ruined Dunbar castle, salt pans at Prestonpans, and many harbours and fishing ports. Seabirds, hare and deer are among the wildlife to be seen.

The new John Muir Way builds on the original shorter route of the same name that was a coastal path developed by East Lothian Council stretching south from Musselburgh (close to Edinburgh) to the East Lothian border near Cocksburnpath, so essentially linking the capital with the Southern Upland Way, Scotland's longest official LDP. From Dundar to Cockburnspath the previous path is now named the John Muir Link.

Strider News - August 2015 (Path Update)

A new section of the John Muir Way is due to open in June 2015. It takes a more demanding route across the Kilpatrick Hills from Balloch to Carbeth. As soon as details of the route are known they will be published on the John Muir Way website and linked from the LDWA LDP pages for this route.


Path Type: Scotland's Great Trails
Waymark: Whit/purple with walking man and directional arrow Waymark: Whit/purple with walking man and directional arrow
Attributes: Former Railway; Cycle Route; Horse Ride (Multi User); Canal; Coastal; Coast-to-Coast; Lake/Reservoir/Loch; Urban; Heritage
NS296823 - Dunbar, E Lothian
View on StreetMap
NT679789 - Helensburgh, Argyll & Bute
View on StreetMap
Open Date: 2014
Web Sites: John Muir Way - Coast to Coast Route
  John Muir Way - SNH

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

Guidebook + Map Flap: John Muir Way (Rucksack Readers - 2014)
Package: John Muir Way (Rucksack Readers - 2014)
Hardback: Muir and More (Millrace Books - 2008)


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Scotland's Great Trails
Paths Marked on OS mapping
Significant un-waymarked paths
Other Paths

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Hostel Accommodation

  Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011.
  At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger: 56576364656667
OS Landranger Active: 56576364656667
OS Explorer: 342347348349350351367
OS Explorer Active: 342347348349350351367
Other Paper Maps:
Map (Other): John Muir Way (folded map) (Rucksack Readers - 2014)

Walking Support Providers:

Support Providers: Self-Guided Walking Holidays (Macs Adventure)

Accommodation within 5 Km of this Path:

From Path Along Path
Hostel Accommodation: Globetrotter Inn Edinburgh, Marine Drive, Edinburgh 1 Km 136 Km
Hostel Accommodation: Westend Hostel, Clifton Terrace, Edinburgh < 1 Km 148 Km
Hostel Accommodation: Castle Rock Hostel, Edinburgh 1 Km 150 Km
Hostel Accommodation: Haggis Hostels 1 Km 150 Km
Hostel Accommodation: High Street Hostel, Edinburgh 1 Km 150 Km
Hostel Accommodation: Smartcityhostels Edinburgh, Blackfriars St, Edinburgh 1 Km 150 Km
Hostel Accommodation: Royal Mile Backpackers. Edinburgh 1 Km 150 Km
Hostel Accommodation: Edinburgh Metro YHA, 11/2 Robertson's Close Cowgate 1 Km 150 Km
Hostel Accommodation: Edinburgh Central YHA, 9 Haddington Place, Edinburgh 2 Km 151 Km

Click to show 6 more Accommodations

Additional Images:

Connected Paths:

Scotland's Great Trails: Edinburgh to Glasgow Canals Walk (Forth & Clyde, and Union); Three Lochs Way; West Highland Way
Paths Marked on OS mapping: John Muir Link
Significant un-waymarked paths: Central Scottish Way
Other Paths: Antonine Trail; St. Wilfrid's Way; Thomas Muir Heritage Trail


GPS Exchange Format Route File: John Muir Trail GPX Exchange Format Route File Login to Download
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MemoryMap Route file: John Muir Trail Memory Map Route File Login to Download
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Tracklogs Route file: John Muir Trail Tracklogs Route File Login to Download
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Route Profile:

211.1 Km (131.2 miles)
2,578 m (8,458 ft) ascent
268 m (879 ft)  maximum height