Cairn Gorm

  • United Kingdom Scotland Cairngorms, Cairn Gorm , Cairngorm summit , Walkopedia
  • United Kingdom Scotland Cairngorms, Cairn Gorm , Cairn Gorm summit , Walkopedia
  • United Kingdom Scotland Cairngorms, Cairn Gorm , Cairn on Carn Gorm , Walkopedia

Key information: Cairn Gorm

  • Cairn Gorm is often written off as skiing-scarred landscape, but there are fine walks to be had, especially westward above the cliffs of Cairn Lochan

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating85
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating85
  • Note: Neg: ski scarring

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 1,245m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

Cairn Gorm : Cairn Gorm summit  - © Geograph user John S Ross


It is easy to write Cairn Gorm off as skiing-scarred landscape, which those serious about their scenery will want to avoid – and its summit can be overpopulated as a result of high roadheads. But there is a heap of glorious scenery on its high massif, be it the great cliffs of Cairn Lochan to its west, the approach along the northern ridge, the steep climbs from Loch Avon to the east, or a crossing of the high plateau from Ben Macdui.

Cairn Gorm is most often approached from Speyside and a car park at 2,150ft. You can walk it  together with Cairn Lochan above its great cliffs at the western end of the plateau; and you can walk Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui along the high plateau running between them.

Special walks include:

  • The scrambles up the middle of the huge cliffs of the magnificent Coire an t-Sneachda, north-facing above the western ridge to Cairn Lochan, including the Fiacaill Ridge to its west.
  • Walking the length of the Cairn Lochan ridge, with an ascent/descent via Lurcher’s Crag at its far west.

Cairn Gorm walks are hugely variable in length and difficulty, from shortish and easyish but depressing (the direct climb from the car park via Coire Gas) to a Cairn Lochan Full Monty at 19km/8hrs round trip.

This is demanding walking in remote mountains. It can be very dangerous in bad weather, as it has great cliffs and crags at its flanks. Come fully prepared, including to descend quickly if the weather deteriorates.

The Cairngorms: Walks, Trails and Scrambles – Cicerone. As usual, a brilliantly researched book covering 102 fantastic walks of all shapes and sizes, including several approaches to Cairn Gorm. And written by the at times poetic Ronald Turnbull.

Find relevant books on Amazon.

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

For further general and practical information and photos, please go to our Cairngorms page.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Cairn Gorm : Cairn on Carn Gorm  - © Geograph user Alasdair MacDonald

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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