Pattack Falls

Written by Chris Thornton | 30th of August 2023
Pattack Falls

After a brilliant breakfast at Cobbs Cafe Aviemore, we were set for a day of activities. It was the 17th of June, my 40th birthday, and we were touring sights in central Scotland. First on the agenda was Pattack Falls, I'm a sucker for a nice waterfall, so this was a great first stop!

We left the Cairngorm Hotel (where we slept the previous night) and headed south along the A9. We passed great places we visited last year, including Ruthven Barracks and Highland Wildlife Park.

The centre of Scotland

Leaving the A9, we took a detour along a single-track road which eventually connected with the A889 (also part of General Wade's Military Road). Incidentally, we also came across a monument marking the exact centre of Scotland! The scenery here was breathtaking.

Car Park

Joining the A86, we soon saw the signs for Pattack Falls, taking a left turn into a small car park (no parking fee). We had no problem getting a space, and we changed our shoes to walking boots for walking on rougher terrain.

Entrance to Pattack Falls car park.
The main entrance to Pattack Falls.
aird car park
The small car park near the falls.

Only a short walk

A wooden sign beckons you from the car park, marked with two locations:

  • Pattack Falls

  • Druim an Aird Ruins

The path to the falls.
The start of the walk.

We weren't sure what the ruins were, but the waterfall was our main focus for this trip. The walk begins with two main paths to follow. The one that is closest to the road takes you to a river bank section just down from the falls, it's a nice little spot, but you can't see the falls from here.

The beach area near the road.
The shallow beach area nearest the main road.

Backtracking a little bit, we followed the path up higher. The path takes you further into the forest, but you want to look out for a rocky outcrop just up from the river bank; this is the best place to view the falls and photograph.

Climb here for the best view of the falls.
Climb the rocky prominance for the best view.
The best view point.
The best viewpoint is here.

The Falls

The falls aren't the biggest or most impressive I've seen (we visited much more impressive examples at Steall Falls, Plodda Falls and Divach Falls later in our trip), but the small falls here are very picturesque with the rocky gorge surrounded by tall trees. I wasn't disappointed with the vista before me, and it's great you don't have to walk that far from the car park to see them - maybe 150-200 metres max.

Wide shot of the gorge.
Wide view of the falls and gorge.

The lower falls.
Main view of the Lower Falls of Pattack.

A visit to Pattack Falls would be ideal for less fit or partially disabled. It wouldn't be suitable for wheelchairs however, and there are some pretty fierce drops if you're not careful.

Upper Falls

Although this is a nice waterfall and called Pattack Falls, this is actually the lower falls, and a much larger "upper falls" exists further along the River Pattack. It's about a 2.75-mile walk over rough terrain but does look like a great location. We did not visit the "true falls" on this occasion.

The phantom viewing platform

Older articles I've read about Pattack Falls made mention of a viewing platform, but this did not seem to be here, or at least we didn't notice it. I think it may have been removed. The rocky outcrop I mentioned above is an ideal spot, so not having a man-made viewing platform is no great loss.

We stayed at this viewing point for the falls and River Pattack for 10-15 minutes, looking down into the rocky gorge and taking in this picturesque setting. Janette was curious about where the other path led, so we decided to walk further into the forest. This section was really beautiful at this time of year, a real fairy tale walk through lush, dense forest tracks. I couldn't help but think there would be some wondrous wild camping locations to be had here. There were also a few lovely spots with great views of the River Pattack upstream behind the falls.

River Pattack.
River Pattack.
Falls from the rear view.
The falls as seen from behind.
Part of the wood walk.
Exploring the second woodland path.
Leaflet giving walks, includes map location shown.
Janette leading the way.

Druim an Aird Ruins - the lonely ruins

Druim an Aird Ruins was signposted along the way; we followed this path for a good 15-20 minutes but found no ruins. I had a feeling they were much further away, so we decided to retrace our steps.

Looking online when I returned home, it seems the ruins were of an abandoned village; there are no structures, just outlines of where buildings once stood. It's said the people left the village after many were killed during a snow storm proceeding wedding celebrations nearby, a sorrowful story if true.

How to get to Pattack Falls?

The Falls are just off the A86 between Spean Bridge (10.5 miles east) and Newtonmore (22 miles west).

Pattack Falls video

Please view these short videos of the falls and surrounding areas.


Where are the nearest toilets from Pattack Falls?

There are toilets at the Laggan Wolftrax Centre, about a four-minute drive north on the A86 (turn right out of the car park).

Other nearby attractions

  • Lagan Wolfe mountain bike centre and cafe

  • Ruthven Barracks

  • Highland Wildlife Park

  • Laggan Dam

  • Spean Bridge Commando Memorial

Falls of Pattack
Pattack Lower Falls.


It was just a flying visit to Pattack Falls and the surrounding woodland, but nonetheless, it was very lovely and worth stopping... Ideal for stretching the legs or having a quick picnic, you won't be disappointed with Pattack Falls.

We continued with my 40th birthday trip around central Scotland; the next stop was the Spean Bridge Commando Memorial.

Pattack Falls map location shown, trip advisor.

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

Claim Your Free 6 Day Travel Itinerary:

Simply enter your email and we'll send it your way!

Free Scotland travel itinerary

Hi, please leave a comment below, or why not start a discussion on the forum?