An Lochan Uaine - The Green Loch

Written by Steve Thornton | 20th of April 2023
The Green Loch

From an early age (now 62 years young) I had heard of a mystical place called the Green Loch near Aviemore or to give it its Gaelic title An Lochan Uaine (small green loch). Here was a chance to fulfil that childhood ambition and explore a real hidden gem.

The Green Loch

How do I get to Green Loch Aviemore?

If staying in Aviemore, Scotland, head towards Loch Morlich and look for the signs pointing to the Reindeer Centre and Glenmore Visitor Centre on your left. Park either at the Glenmore Lodge Car park and take advantage of their cafe or park at Allt Mor car park near Loch Morlich (pay and display).  Do not follow the track and park at the barrier closest to the loch as this will block emergency vehicles.  The Forestry Commission car park marked "An Lochan Uaine" is also available (pay and display).

The Green Loch is at the foot of the mountain Sgor in Glenmore Forest Park.

Walking to The Green Loch | Yellow waymarked path

Great walk to The Green Loch | Blue waymarked path

Walking to The Green Loch

The route to the loch is on a forest track road, fairly level, the few slopes are easily manageable. The walk is part of the Ryvoan and Lochan Uaine circuit. It will take you about 40 mins to reach the loch, longer if you have youngsters with you. It's a cracking short walk punctuated with breathtaking vistas, Caledonian Scots Pines and fast-flowing streams / miniature waterfalls. It's easy to see why this area is steeped in Scottish folklore about pixies and fairies.

The Green Lochan

On arrival, you will see a magical body of water the colour of deep turquoise green surrounded by beautiful scenery and a sandy beach. Suitable for bathing in, the water was so clear you could see, toppled pine logs deep underwater. If you are a photographer you cannot take a bad picture here. Even the kids were mesmerised. 

Why is the Green Lochan green?

The green appearance of the loch islikely caused by reflected light from the trees that line it and trace amounts of algae in the water. Although the legend is that it takes on that colour because pixies wash their socks in it, I much prefer that explanation!

The Green Loch

FAQs on The Green Loch/An Lochan Uaine

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Green Loch.

Can I swim in the Green Loch Aviemore?

Yes, it's possible to swim in the Green Loch, there is no law in Scotland or the Scotland Outdoor Access Code that will prevent you from taking a dip! But be aware the water in Scotland is very very cold. Sadly, there have been many deaths in Scotland over the last few years with people being unprepared for wild swimming in Scotland.

Can I wild camp at the Green Loch Aviemore?

Yes, there is nothing to stop you from camping at the Green Loch, just please be respectful of others visiting the site and leave no trace when you leave. Please see my guide on camping in Aviemore. Glenmore Campsite is the closest official camping area.

Where to stay near Aviemore when visiting the Green Loch?

As always we highly recommend Scandinavian Village in central Aviemore. It is the perfect base to see things in the Aviemore area and the Cairngorm National Park.  The Cairngorm Hotel is also great. Glenmore Campsite is within walking distance of the loch.

What is the best time of year to visit the Green Loch?

The Green Loch can be visited year-round, but the best time to enjoy its stunning colours and surrounding landscape is during the spring and summer months. In autumn, the area is adorned with beautiful foliage, while in winter, snow-capped Cairngorm Mountain ranges create a picturesque backdrop.

You may encounter midges between Spring and the end of Summer.

When is the best time of day to visit the Green Loch?

It's best to go early. The Green Loch is much more popular now than it used to be and will be quite busy by mid-morning and into the afternoon. Parking spaces are at a premium, so go early and beat the crowds.

Where else can I visit after An Lochan Uaine?

Loch Morlich is another stunning place to visit a short distance west, and Cairngorm Reindeer Herd is on the same road as the Green Loch. Please see this article on things to do around the Loch Morlich area and the best things to do in Aviemore.

Ancient Caledonian Pines

Key information on the Green Loch

  • The Green Loch is also called An Lochan Uaine.

  • The water looks green from a mixture of algae in the water, and reflection of the pine trees.

  • Legend says the water was turned green by local fairies washing their clothes.

  • The Green Loch is located within the Cairngorms National Park.

  • Found 10 miles east of the small town of Aviemore.

  • Glenmore Campsite is the closest campsite and is reasonably near the Green Loch.

  • If driving, do not block access to the road. It's better to park at Glenmore Lodge Car park, or one of the many nearby car parks and walk to the loch instead of parking at the road gate.


We had a lovely walk to Lochan Uaine the Green Loch in Glenmore Forest Park, the ethereal loch did not disappoint. It was a nice way to spend the day while we waited to check in to our hotel and highly recommended upon your visit to Scotland. I would love to return one day and complete the entire Ryvoan and Lochan Uaine walking route.

An Lochan Uaine - The Green Loch - Near Glenmore Lodge | Car park An Lochan Uaine - The Green Loch

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?


22nd of June 2023 @ 17:29:32

I learnt a poem at school in the 1940s called the Green Loch. It is in a book called The Fairy Flute by Rose Fyleman. It is full of poems about fairies. I can still remember it, and my daughter found a copy of the book and bought it for me. It was written in 1921. I remember reciting it to my young sister to help her go to sleep.

1st of February 2023 @ 15:41:52

Hi Corinna, Aviemore youth hostel would probably be your cheapest option: I think the number 37 bus from Aviemore will take you directly near the stop for The Green Loch, but check the time table first. Have a great trip!

1st of February 2023 @ 12:21:34

Hi there , I'm very excited to see the green Loch, although I'm not yet driving and I will be taking my 7 year old with me in Feb hopefully for as little money as I can .....I'm wanting to find out the cheapest place to stay and bus route if possible...many many thanks