It was a Friday, both my wife and I had the day off... so we decided on an impromptu tour around the Inverness area. Our trip took us to Clava Cairns, Red Castle, Beauly Priory and Rogie Falls which features in this article.
Neither of us had been to Rogie Falls before or had even heard of it. I saw an image of it on Facebook after a local couple got engaged there and I thought it was a beautiful looking area so added it to our list of must see's near Inverness.
Heading along the A835, we arrived at Rogie Falls dedicated car park. It was quite busy but we snapped up one of the last available spaces. It had been raining heavily and we had a short break in the weather so made our move to the information boards at the car park and the beginning of the forested walk.
The two walks to Rogie Falls
There are two walks available to Rogie Falls, the Riverside Trail and the Salmon Trail. We chose the Salmon Trail as it was the shortest and took us directly to the falls, fearing the rain it was the best choice for us on this occasion. The Riverside trail takes you through more of the wooded area, and then to a trail alongside the Black Water river culminating at the main waterfall.
The walking trails are a mixture of rough gravel and earthy paths. There were quite a few areas of mud on our visit due to all the rain. The short walk is very pleasant, with nice paths and a few steep slopes, but you will arrive at the falls in less than 10 minutes.
Arriving at Rogie Falls
The first area we arrived at was a stone viewing platform with a direct view of the falls, however, the view is obscured a little by trees growing from the side of the gorge. There is a fascinating information panel describing the life cycle of salmon in the river.
The Black Water River has gouged out an impressive valley for the waterfall to cascade down. It is a very dramatic multi-level waterfall with many different streams crashing on the rocks below. The photos I had viewed prior to my visit really didn't do the waterfall justice - it is much more impressive in real life and I personally think more remarkable than The Falls of Shin further north.
The falls have been visited for hundreds of years and were very popular in the Victorian era.
Looking to the right from the stone viewing area you can see a dramatic suspension bridge spanning the entire gorge and offering brilliant views of the waterfall. Unfortunately, the bridge was closed on our visit and fenced off for safety reasons. However, there is still an area next to the bridge where you can get the best view currently possible of the waterfall... we will definitely return when the bridge has been repaired.
The Black Water river is famous for its Salmon runs, with Salmon returning from the sea at the Cromarty Firth and up the river to mate and lay eggs. The Salmon will attempt to jump up the waterfall to reach the upper parts.
The falls are really quite steep, I wasn't sure how the salmon were meant to leap that high, but it seems there is a salmon ladder at the falls, to allow them to bypass the main cascade and reach the higher levels of the river more easily.
When to see salmon at Rogie Falls?
July to September are the best times to look out for the salmon leaping up the falls, especially if there has been heavy rain.
Forestry and Land Scotland
The site is under the care of Forestry and Land Scotland who are responsible for many different aspects of the surrounding forests such as the timber industry, forest planning, conservation and biodiversity, tourism and recreation, and renewable energy.
Rogie Falls Car Park
The falls has its own dedicated car park, complete with information boards on the east side of the A835. There is space for about 24 cars or 10 camper vans. It seemed fairly popular and we were lucky to get one of the remaining spaces. There is a wooden shelter and toilets (only open in the summer months) to the right of the car park, but the main entrance and path are to the left of the information boards.
Can motor homes stay overnight at Rogie Falls?
Yes, as long as your campervan has self-contained toilet facilities, you can stay overnight in the car park.
How long is the walk at Rogie Falls?
On the direct route to the waterfall from the car park - only about 10 minutes.
Are there any other waterfalls near Rogie Falls?
Yes, further along, the A835 to the northwest is Black Water Falls. Less impressive than Rogie Falls but still worth a visit nonetheless. The falls are smaller stepped drops over a longer distance, but there is also a nice bridge crossing the falls. A brilliant spot for photography. Park at Silver Bridge car park. Public toilets are also available nearby.
Is it dangerous at Rogie Falls?
It is safe but small children should be kept close and held onto at all times. There are some sheer drops to the water below and no fences to stop falls, the water is very fast flowing.
Are Rogie Falls wheelchair accessible?
Not really. The ground might be hard enough for a wheelchair if it has dried out, but it is quite muddy and there are a few steep sections that might be difficult as well as rocky uneven sections. There are areas with multiple steps too.
Is there public transport from Inverness?
Yes, public transport is available on Bus 961 from Inverness to Ullapool.
How can I find Rogie Falls?
The nearest postcode is "IV14 9EQ", but the site appears on Google maps and can be found quite easily on the Inverness to Ullapool A835 road. The turns are well signposted.
We spent about 20 minutes at the falls, but then the rain started again. We speed-walked back to the car and arrived just in time before we were completely soaked by an enormous downpour.
Rogie Falls is the perfect stop on your trip north from Inverness and around the Highlands of Scotland. The walk is short and moderately easy, perfect for older people or the physically disabled to go on a short walk and see a spectacular waterfall.