Five of the Best Hikes in Skye

The Isle of Skye which is located on the North West coast of Scotland is a mysterious and fascinating place.  For many years it has topped my list of must see destinations. Not only because of its beauty and dramatic landscapes but because of its fabulous hikes and walks.

I love spending time outdoors and Skye is the perfect outdoor playground for anyone with adventure in their soul. So if like me, you have limited time on the Island and want to experience in that short time some of the best hikes and walks, then read on so you do not miss out on what I would consider five of the best hikes in Skye.

Fairy pools

1. The Fairy Pools

The hike starts at the foot of the Black Cullins near Glenbrittle. It is not a difficult hike to do if you have good weather conditions.  However, rain can make crossing some of the rivers quite difficult. I have even been told by the locals that some people have been stuck because the water can build pretty quickly. So just proceed with caution if weather conditions are not favorable.

Fairy Pool in Skye

As you walk stop often and take a look around, you might get the feeling that you have walked into a fairies secret garden. As you follow the path towards the mountains you will find clear blue pools of water. These pools are fed by stunning waterfalls and surrounded by rocky cliffs and green foliage. And if you are brave enough you can even go for a wee swim, but be warned the water is cold even on hot days.

Fairy pools

Level of Difficulty – Easy and appropriate for the entire family.

Distance and time needed – The route back to the car park is the same as going to the pools and the total distance is about 2.5 km.  The hike can be completed in 40 min to 1 hr. although I would recommend at least 1 ½ hrs so you can make some stops to enjoy the scenery and take some pictures.

TIP – Arrive early as the car park is small and fills up quickly.

 

Old Man Storr - Skye Old Man Storr

2. Old Man Storr

The Storr is one of the most photographed landscapes in Scotland and I would venture to say that this is probably one of the busiest hikes on Skye.  It is a popular spot for good reason and you should not miss the opportunity to see this beautiful landscape for yourself.

Old Man Storr

This is one place where I experienced Scotland’s ever-changing weather.  When we started our ascent we could not see but a few feet in front of us as the entire place was covered in very thick fog.  However by the time we were on our way down the sun had come out, the fog had lifted, and we could see the Storr standing proud and tall right above us. And when we looked back I was surprised to see the beautiful lake that was previously hidden by the fog.  It was quite incredible to witness this rapid change in climate.

View from Old Man StorrThe view on our way down once the fog cleared from Old Man Storr

Level of difficulty – Medium and appropriate for anyone who is relatively fit. This hike has some pretty steep climbs and if it is raining it can get quite muddy but both my children had no issues and they were 8 and 11 at the time we climbed.

Distance and time needed – The round trip rout is about 4.5km and can take anywhere between 1 and 2 hrs to complete.

 

Naist Point - Skye

 

3. Neist Point Lighthouse

Neist Point Lighthouse is a pretty easy hike. You will find that most of the way is paved ground and steps. However be warned this does not mean the entire hike is easy.  On the contrary certain parts are very steep with handrails to assist you in your descent or ascent.   Also beware that the wind can be quite fierce at times so be prepared with a wind breaker or rain jacket and layers of clothing.

Views from Neist Point

Neist Point

The lighthouse was built in the 1900’s and it is not open for visitors to go inside.  But don’t worry even without going up into the lighthouse you will still enjoy beautiful views of the outer Hebrides as well as many sheep roaming along the green grass. So bring a drink and maybe a blanket to sit on and enjoy the sunset and the views provided from the westernmost point on Skye.

image

Level of difficulty – Easy to moderate because it has steep incline but should be appropriate for all family members.

Distance and time needed – The hike is only about 3km and should take 45 min to 1 1/2 to complete.  I would recommend coming right before sunset and enjoy some beautiful views as the sun sets over the horizon.

 

 

4. The Quiraing

The Quiraing has in my opinion some of the most outstanding views in all of Skye.  Here you can really appreciate the varied landscape with its dips and peaks with rugged cliffs and sparkling pools of water.  It is simply magnificent and we were blessed with a clear day to take it all in.

As far as the hiking conditions go, I consider this a medium difficulty hike and it will not be suitable for everyone.  There is definitely some challenging areas to cross and the path can get very narrow. I must confess that at times I was nervous about my 2 girls (8 and 11). I found myself constantly reminding them to watch their footing on the narrow paths and had to assist them in crossing some of the more difficult areas. Luckily we had no issues but the young ones did get tired and we did not complete the full circuit.

image

Level of difficulty – Moderate not because it is very steep but because it is narrow and has some difficult areas to cross especially for young family members.

Distance and time needed – The full circuit is about 6.8 km and should take between 3 hrs and 4 hrs to complete.

 

Fairy Glen

 

5. The Fairy Glen

A little forewarning – finding this magical place is not very easy, you would think the fairies were using their powers to keep their mounds hidden. But in reality the only issue is there are no signs to follow.  Armed with local knowledge and directions we drove towards Uig on A87 and right before the Uig Hotel we took the road up and into the magical Fairy Glen. We then parked by other cars along the road and walked into the fairy glen.

Fairy Glen

The fairy glen is a perfect spot for easy hiking as very little effort is needed to enjoy the magnificent views.  It only gets a bit difficult if you climb up to the rocky tower (also known as Castle Ewen). To get to the top of the tower you need to walk a narrow path and then push your way up a gap between the rock to get to the top.

The glen itself is a magical place with grassy mounds and strange stone circles designed on the ground. And while seeing fairies is not guaranteed the fairy glen still is on of the most enchanting and memorable places to see in Skye.

Level of difficulty – Easy and appropriate for the entire family with the exception of climbing up the rocky tower.

Distance and time needed – I would allow about 1 hr to explore the glen.

And if you want to know how to do Skye in one day read all about it here – Skye in One Day

 

Pin now for future travel inspiration

Best hikes in Skye

If you love the outdoors then I suggest you put Scotland and the Isle of Skye on your list of places to visit.  And if these beautiful hikes on Skye are not reason enough to visit Scotland then you can read about my top 10 reasons to visit Scotland here and find out more about the best Scotland has to offer.

For a full itinerary and more ideas and inspiration check out my Epic Scotland Road trip part one and part two.

For more great hikes in Skye I highly recommend the Walkinghighlands as a resource to plan your hikes.

What hikes have you done in Skye?  Did I miss any of your favorites?  I would love to hear from you so leave me a comment below or get social with me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

You may also like

31 Comments

  1. Awesome hiking suggestions! My last visit to Scotland was spring, with PERFECT weather and I would have loved to go on any of these hikes! Saving for next time.

    1. Hi Jen -You were so lucky to get perfect weather in Scotland. We were lucky to have one day in skye with sun and then a few other days here and there. Would love to hear where you went in Scotland and what were your favorite places to visit. Hope you get to go back and enjoy the hikes in Skye it is well worth it. Happy Roving!!!

  2. Scotland has such stunning landscapes and you have captured their majesty wonderfully Joella. I was so glad you mentioned that the Fairy Glen was an easy walk. My children are not yet three but my little girl would love to see it when we visit Scotland next year

    1. Katy – Your little ones should have no problems at the fairy glen they just wont be able to climb to the top of the tower because you have to lift yourself up between the stones and that could be a bit dangerous for them but walking around will be great and easily done. You can certainly go with them to the fairy pools as well. And no hiking involved to view Kilt Rock. I stayed at a lovely B&B that is very family friendly they even allowed my girls to feed the chickens each day and to use the playground they had on site. If you need recommendations of a place to stay I would highly recommend them – Garalapin House http://www.garalapinhouse.co.uk/. Hope you enjoy your time in Scotland I know it will not disappoint. Happy Roving!!!

  3. I’ve long-dreamt about visiting Scotland, particularly the Isle of Skye and OH MY GOSH your photos make it seem even more magical than I’d previously imagined. I have to go now! And hopefully I’m as blessed with the weather as you were. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    1. I really hope you can go and that you get the perfect weather to explore. I promise that Skye and Scotland will not disappoint. If you ever get to planning your trip feel free to reach out I will be happy to help and answer any questions. Happy Roving!!!

    1. The hike up to Old Man Storr is great and the views from the top are fantastic. Hope you can make the trip one day. Happy Roving!!!

    1. Noemi – yes a few people were brave enough to swim in it I was cold just looking at them. All of Scotland is just amazing but Skye is truly special and magical.

    1. How many days will you be there? There is so much you can see and do but I know that no mater what you choose it will be a fantastic experience. Enjoy and happy roving!!!

  4. Wow! Those fairy pools are beautiful. I love all the photos! It’s so green there, and looks like you could have the perfect picnic at any of those places.

    1. Yes it is green because it rains so much – to me this is part of the beauty of Scotland and I love it rain and all. Picnics depend on the weather and even on a sunny day the ground can be muddy so it may take a bit to find the perfect spot. But you can still find beautiful spots to sit and enjoy a nice picnic. Happy Roving!!!

  5. Sold! I HAVE to get here! Old Man Storr and the Fairy Glen would definitely be the two I would do if I only had time for two – they look EXTRA-incredible! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Oh this is perfect, we’re looking to try to get up to Skye for the August long! I only hope we get weather as lovely as it looks like you had!!

    1. I am so happy this was helpful for you. Skye is simply beautiful. Do you know where you are going to stay? I stayed at a really nice B&B if you need any recommendations let me know. Happy Roving!!!

  7. Omg this post is perfect for me! I’m planning on going to Scotland this fall and am looking for some good hikes. And I LOVE waterfalls!! 😀 Bookmarking this, thank you!

  8. Wow Joella this trip and pics look so amazing!!! I love the beautiful rugged views, the fogginess and greenery all around!
    This place is def on my list and you captured it so well:)
    Next month we will be visiting the north east of England but unfortunately no time to go here, but hope we can find similar views though…really looks unreal, thanx for sharing!

    xx Naomi

    1. Hey girl – glad you enjoyed and I do hope you get to go one day. I have heard wonderful things of the north east of England as well and I will look forward to hear all about your trip. Happy Roving!!!

    1. Thank you Julie we had one day of magnificent weather in Skye and we took full advantage of it. I recommend Scotland to everyone it is by far my favorite country I have visited. Happy Roving!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *