10 things to do at Loch Morlich

Written by Chris Thornton | 4th of October 2023
Loch Morlich area, near Aviemore, Glenmore Forest

Located in the Badenoch and Strathspey area of Highland, Loch Morlich is a beautiful freshwater loch nestled at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountain range.  Surrounded by the ancient Glenmore Forest, it truly is a sight to behold.  It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is well worth a visit if you are in Aviemore or the surrounding areas in the highlands.

The best place for car parking is the dedicated beach car park at the main beach area, but there are smaller car parks all along the edge of the loch at various intervals.  Charges are £2 for up to 1 hour, £3 for up to 3 hours, £4 for all day, and £12 for minibus and coach all day (updated November 2022).

Here are 10 family-friendly activities to try in and around Loch Morlich.

1. Watersports

Loch Morlich has a unique sandy beach at the North East side of the Loch (the highest beach in the UK); this stunning spot a perfect location for watersports and has its own dedicated watersports centre.  Here you can take part in sailing, windsurfing and kayaking.

2 to 3 person Canoe costs £25 for 1 hour, Kayaks - £12 for 1 hour, Paddleboards - £17 for 1 hour, Row Boats - £35 for 1 hour and Sailing Boats for £35 for 2 hours. It is worth it to book in advance for Loch Morlich watersports.

The Boathouse Cafe also exists on the beach; there are changing rooms and toilets here and great views from the Cafe itself.  The Cafe also has a useful webcam for viewing current conditions: Boathouse Cafe Webcam.

If you own a kayak you can enjoy restriction-free access to the loch.  I have done this myself with a friend, and we had a great time kayaking up the small river that flows into the loch just south of the beach zone. The water is still and calm; it is very relaxing.

Read more here: Loch Morlich Watersports

You can also join Loch Morlich Sailing Club.  Racing takes place from May through September on the 2nd Sunday of each month.

Read more here: Loch Morlich Sailing Club Facebook

Please see my article about kayaking on Loch An Eilein too.

Can you swim in Loch Morlich?

Yes, this is a great swimming location with shallow waters near the beach. It is family-friendly but can become deep very quickly in places, so caution is advised. It will be very cold so bring a towel and warm clothes. A wet suit is recommended.

Kayaking on Loch Morlich Watersports
My wife and I kayaking on Loch Morlich.

2. Walking & Cycling

South view of Loch Morlich
South view of Loch Morlich

The walk around Loch Morlich is a stunning circuit in the Glenmore forest park, bringing not only spectacular views of the loch and mountains but birds, including Dippers, Wagtails and Heron if you love birdwatching.  The trail is fairly wide, contains flat and smooth gravel surfaces, and there can be some muddy areas.  The walk has moderate slopes, a steep ramp and two road crossings.

There are ample opportunities to take great photographs of the landscape and wildlife; the shoreline provides a fantastic foreground, with the majestic Cairngorm mountains in the background.

You can also cycle this path, and it is safe for children too.  We cycled this trail with my two young children, and they both had a fantastic time. Excellent weather and a fabulous route, surroundings and visitor information. Very much enjoyed by us all.

How long does it take to walk around Loch Morlich?

It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to walk around Loch Morlich completely.

Can you wild camp at Loch Morlich?

Yes, wild camping is permitted at Loch Morlich, and you can even camp near the shore on the east bank. Wild camping is not permitted on the north and northeast shores. Fires and barbecues are strictly prohibited at Loch Morlich. Only 2-3 nights stay is permitted in one location. Please remove all traces of your tent pitch and leave no litter. Toilets are located near the beach.

There is a dedicated camping site at Glenmore campsite with pitches starting from around £18.  Please see my separate guide on camping in Aviemore.

3. Photography

There are ample opportunities to take great photographs of the landscape and wildlife; the shoreline provides a fantastic foreground, with the majestic Cairngorm mountains in the background giving a stunning backdrop. Loch Morlich often freezes over in the winter giving even more photo opportunities.  It is one of the finest settings for landscape photography.

4. Feed the Ducks!

Loch Morlich is home to a very friendly flock of ducks, it can be a nice thing to do with children if you want something quick and easy to do around the Loch, and you can even have a picnic at the same time.  We normally take a large bag of seeds - these are quickly gobbled up by the greedy ducks!

The best place to feed them is in the small car park near the sailing school on the north side of the Loch.  

Google street view link.

Feed the ducks

5. Glenmore Visitor Centre

A visit to the centre is a good place to start your visit to Loch Morlich and the Glenmore forest.  It contains a wealth of information on trails and activities to plan your day.  There is also a nice café to grab a quick bite to eat before you head out for the day.

Glenmore Visitor Centre website

6. Cairngorms National Park

Loch Morlich is within the Cairngorm National Park - the largest national park in the United Kingdom. There are many walking trails, scenic spots, outdoor activities, castles and distilleries in this park. In the winter, the often snow-clad peaks of the northern Cairngorms add to the gravitas of the scenery.

Loch Garten
A frozen Loch Garten.

7. Visit Boat of Garten

Another Loch named Loch Garten, five miles to the north of Loch Morlich, with beautiful woodland walks and an abundance of wildlife. The nearby village of Boat of Garten has many amenities, including caravan parks, tennis courts, a golf club and B&Bs. An RSPB Scotland Loch Garten Nature Centre is nearby with extremely helpful and knowledgeable staff. Boat of Garten and the surrounding areas is well worth a stopover.

8. Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

A popular all-year-round attraction is the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre east of Loch Morlich.  They currently have a herd of 150 free-ranging Reindeer that graze on 10,000 acres of the Cairngorm Mountainside.

There are organised hill walks to see the deer, which take about 20-30 minutes; this is the best way to see the Reindeer. However, they are also some at the home base itself if you don’t want to walk.  You must book the hill walk, and this can be done 14 days in advance.

There is a nice shop on-site, and you can also sponsor a Reindeer.

Read more here: www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk

Loch Garten

9. Visit Loch An Eilein

Situated 3.5 miles southwest of Loch Morlich lies Loch an Eilein, another spectacular freshwater loch surrounded by the lush Rothiemurchus forest. There are ruins of an 18th-century lime kiln and an island castle on the loch, once owned by the infamous Alexander Stewart - The Wolf of Badenoch. A perfect location to see Ospreys in their natural environment.

The parking is quite expensive at £4.50 per car and £15 per minibus.  Please see my article here about Loch An Eilein, and kayaking there.

Cairngorm Burger!
Cairngorm Burger!

10. Grab some lunch in Aviemore

Walking, cycling and kayaking on Loch Morlich can work up a serious appetite! Aviemore has many brilliant places to eat... My favourite is The Cairngorm Hotel. They serve up many different hearty meals in a very traditional Scottish setting. I am a sucker for the Cairngorm burger, sometimes with extra blue cheese! The Haggis Neeps and Tatties are to die for, too though, if you fancy something more in line with your trip to Scotland. The staff are super nice and attentive. Please book in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Winking Owl and Macdui's are also fantastic options.

Aviemore is a good place to stop on the way to Inverness to break up your journey on the A9.

How far is Loch Morlich from Aviemore?

About 8 miles, follow the B970 at the south side of Aviemore.

An Lochan Uaine - The Green Loch

11. Visit the Green Loch

Some distance to the north east of Loch Morlich lies "An Lochan Uaine - The Green Loch". This is a pretty little loch surrounded by hills and forests; the water is a deep green colour.  This is a great walk and part of the Ryvoan and Lochan Uaine route.

12. Visit Loch Vaa

Keeping with the lochs theme, just north of Aviemore is yet another beautiful body of water named Loch Vaa. This area is teeming with wildlife and offers a great walk around the loch's perimeter. For budding photographers, the pretty boathouse gives added interest to your photos.

The stunning Loch Vaa.
The boathouse at Loch Vaa.

13. The Fun House at Coylumbridge

A short distance to the west is a large indoor soft play centre called The Fun House. It's attached to the Coylumbridge Hotel and is a fantastic facility for children under 12. If it's thrashing rain at Loch Morlich, it could be a good option to go to the Fun House. Food, arcades, crazy golf and animatronic dinosaurs are also available.

The Fun House near Loch Morlich
The soft play frame at Coylumbridge Hotel.

FAQs on Loch Morlich

Here are a few frequently asked questions about Loch Morlich.

Where is Loch Morlich located?

Loch Morlich is located in the Scottish Highlands, specifically in the Glenmore Forest Park, within the Cairngorms National Park. It's situated approximately 8 miles east of Aviemore, a popular tourist town.

What makes Loch Morlich special?

Loch Morlich is known for its unique combination of a freshwater loch and a sandy beach, a rarity in Scotland. It's also notable for its stunning views of the surrounding Cairngorm Mountains. The loch has been awarded the Rural Beach Award, making it a recognized site of beauty and cleanliness.

What activities can you do at Loch Morlich?

Loch Morlich is a hub for outdoor activities. In the summer, visitors can swim, sail, kayak, or windsurf on the loch. The surrounding area offers opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife watching. In winter, the nearby Cairngorm Mountain offers skiing and snowboarding.

Is there any accommodation near Loch Morlich?

Yes, there are several accommodation options near Loch Morlich. The Glenmore Campsite is right by the loch, offering camping and caravan facilities. There are also several nearby hotels and guest houses in and around Aviemore.

Can you fish in Loch Morlich?

Yes, fishing is permitted in Loch Morlich from the bank or from boats to catch brown trout and pike. However, it's regulated to protect the loch's ecosystem, call 01479 861221 to obtain a permit.

What wildlife can you see around Loch Morlich?

The area around Loch Morlich is rich in wildlife. Visitors might spot red squirrels, pine martens, and a variety of bird species. In the surrounding Cairngorms, there are also red deer, golden eagles, and, if you're very lucky, you might spot a Scottish wildcat.

What facilities are there at Loch Morlich?

Loch Morlich offers a range of facilities, including the Glenmore Visitor Centre, a cafe, and a watersports centre. There are also toilets and parking facilities available for visitors.


I hope this article has been of some value to you while looking for activities to do around Loch Morlich.  Please see my article about the best things to do in Aviemore and 5-day Aviemore Travel Itinerary for further reading.

Map of Aviemore to Loch Morlich

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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17th of September 2022 @ 17:21:38

Great read thanks