The John Muir Way

This new long distance path stretches from coast to coast across Scotland, passing through the varied landscapes of the central belt. The route is named after the Dunbar-born conservationist John Muir, who emigrated to America whilst still a boy and became the father of the American National Parks and a key figure in the conservation movement; it opened in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Muir's death.

The route reverses Muir's steps from Helensburgh on the west coast - from where he boarded ship and set sail for America - back to his birthplace, Dunbar in East Lothian. It begins with a walk over the hills to reach the fabulous landscapes of Loch Lomond. It then follows old minor roads and disused railway lines to traverse the rural, farming landscapes in the shadow of the Campsie Fells. Eventually it picks up the route of the Forth and Clyde canal, following the towpath through the mix of industrial and urban landscapes at heart of Scotland with occasional diversions from the water to visit significant sites along the Antonine Wall. After the ancient town of Linlithgow it strikes north to reach the Forth at Bo'ness, and then follows this along the coast beneath the Forth Bridge and on to Edinburgh. It passes through the fringes of Scotland's capital before returning to the coastline as it heads into the more rural landscapes of East Lothian, before finally ending at Muir's birthplace, Dunbar.

Note that the new John Muir Way replaces - and incorporates most of - the former route of the same name which traversed East Lothian. We've included an extension to the easternmost extremity of East Lothian to enable a link to be made with the Berwickshire Coastal Path and the Southern Upland Way.

Stage descriptions Length Time Done
1: Helensburgh to Balloch 14.5km 4-4½ hours
2: Balloch to Strathblane 29km 7-9 hours
3: Strathblane to Croy 20.75km 5-6 hours
4: Croy to Falkirk 20km 5-6 hours
5: Falkirk to Linlithgow 15km 4-5 hours
6: Linlithgow to South Queensferry 24km 6-7½ hours
7: South Queensferry to Edinburgh 25km 6.5-7½ hours
8: Edinburgh to Prestonpans 15.75km 4-4½ hours
9: Prestonpans to North Berwick 25km 6-7½ hours
10: North Berwick to Dunbar 23km 5-5½ hours
John Muir Link:
Dunbar to Cocksburnpath
16km 4½-5 hours


The route is waymarked and offers fairly straightforward walking throughout, with some steeper sections.


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Click to find organised John Muir Way walking holiday packages and baggage transfer providers.


As it runs through the central belt, much of the John Muir Way passes through a series of towns and villages, with services and accommodation available.

Helensburgh and Balloch both offer a choice of hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation, as well as shops for supplies.

Late in the second stage the route runs through Auchineden Estate, where there is hostel accommodation and a cafe at Edenmill. Strathblane, Lennoxtown and Milton of Campsie offer shops as well as places to stay and eat.

There is limited accommodation near Croy, with links to Kilsyth. The route then links up a series of towns, all of which provide full facilities - Falkirk, Linlithgow, Bo'ness and South Queensferry.

The route runs through much of Edinburgh although it avoids the central area; a short detour from the Meadows leads to plentiful hotels and all services.

Musselburgh, an ancient town though now so close to the fringe of Edinburgh. As would be expected, it offers shopping and a range of accommodation; it's also easy to reach from Edinburgh or Leith.

Accommodation in Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton is more limited, but there is bed and breakfast available - as well as good public transport links back to Edinburgh.

Aberlady has both a hotel and inn, whilst Gullane has a further choice.

North Berwick is a town with all services, including a choice of B&B and hotels.

The next stage is a long one, though East Linton offers both accommodation and shops and offers a chance to break the journey.

Journey's end is reached at the town of Dunbar, again offering a choice of both hotels and guest houses as well as shops for supplies.



The John Muir Way is generally well served by public transport links.

Helensburgh and Balloch both have train as well as bus links to Glasgow. Strathblane, Lennoxtown, Milton of Campsie and Kirkintilloch all have bus services; there is a railway station at Croy.

Bonnybridge is well served by buses, and more rail stations is passed at Falkirk High and Polmont.

Linlithgow has regular rail services as well as buses, whilst Bo'ness is well served by bus. South Queensferry is served by Dalmeny Station with regular trains between Edinburgh and Glenrothes.

Edinburgh obviously has excellent public transport. Musselburgh, Prestonpans, Longniddry, North Berwick, East Linton and Dunbar are all served by rail from Edinburgh.

There is also a FirstGroup service that runs from Edinburgh via Musselburgh, Prestonpans, Longniddry, Aberlady and Gullane to North Berwick. A second service links Edinburgh to Dunbar, via East Linton.

Timetables for all the routes can be found on Traveline Scotland.

Users' walk reports for the John Muir Way

There are 323 Walkhighlanders who have completed the John Muir Way. To record if you have completed the route, you must register and be logged in. Our users have contributed 16 public walk reports for the route. These are ordered below with the most popular ones first.

Title AuthorDate walked Likes
John Muir Way - Might be Better by Bike  Gordie12 06/05/2017  7
John Muir Way: Dunbar - North Berwick  Ettrick Shepherd 18/05/2019  5
John Muir Way  nigheandonn 13/06/2012  5
John Muir Way Stage 1  tomyboy73 12/04/2014  4
Duddingston and the Innocent Railway  nigheandonn 19/11/2020  3
John Muir Way: Falkirk to Croy  Ettrick Shepherd 07/01/2022  2
Return to the John Muir Way (North Berwick - Falkirk)  Ettrick Shepherd 14/09/2020  2
John Muir Way east to west: A work in progress  nitamiriam 14/07/2019  2
February Review  jschon 09/02/2014  2
Another scrap of the John Muir Way  nigheandonn 06/06/2020  1
New John Muir Way - Bonnybridge to Lennoxtown  nigheandonn 11/02/2024  0
Part 9a  POSR 12/06/2023  0
John Muir way by bike  SnoopyG 09/10/2021  0
First leg of John Muir Way  iancgcampbell 27/01/2014  0
Blackness to Bo'ness on the John Muir Way  lizintransit 29/03/2014  0
North Berwick to Dunbar  buttermere4 13/04/2013  0

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