Craigellachie NNR - Visiting the reserve
Visit Craigellachie for peaceful woodland walks, fascinating wildlife and breathtaking views.
The reserve entrance is towards the southern end of Aviemore, close to the youth hostel (signposted from the main road). Take the track leading to the youth hostel, carry on past the caravan park and enter the reserve by the subway under the A9. The track is fairly steep in some places and rough and muddy in others.
You can park in the youth hostel car park during your visit, but please do not leave vehicles overnight.
PH22 1PR is the nearest postcode.
Alternatively, park in central Aviemore and walk to the reserve.
By public transport
The nearest bus stop is on the High Street at Aviemore railway station (1 kilometre). The Heather Hopper bus service provides connections throughout the Cairngorms National Park.
Trains stop at Aviemore railway station (1 kilometre), which is on the Perth to Inverness line.
Our visit Craigellachie NNR leaflet is a good introduction to the reserve.
There is a display about Craigellachie in the youth hostel by the entrance to the reserve. There, you’ll find information about the natural heritage of the reserve. In summer, there’s also a live camera link to the peregrine nest on the reserve.
You can use the toilets at the youth hostel. The nearest public toilets are in the centre of Aviemore.
Trails for all
There are four trails within the reserve:
- Lochan Trail – 0.7 kilometres
- Woodland Trail – 1 kilometre
- Buzzard Trail – 1.8 kilometres
- Viewpoint Trail – 4.4 kilometres
Find a description and map of the routes in the Visit Craigellachie leaflet.
Visit at any time of year for panoramas of the Cairngorms. March to May is best for woodland flowers, June to September for dragonflies and butterflies.
Spring sees the birch woodland bursting into life. Woodland flowers, such as lesser celandine, delicate dog violet and wood sorrel, appear. Migrant song birds – e.g. the wood warbler – also arrive, but you are more likely to see and hear the more common willow warbler. You may also catch the peregrine falcons coming back to nest in the crags.
The top viewpoint offers fantastic panoramic vistas of Aviemore and the Cairngorms. In summer the reserve is busy with butterflies, dragonflies and day-flying moths. You may also see the rarer Kentish glory and Rannoch sprawler moths.
As the season changes, the dense birch woodland develops a rich palette of autumnal colours. Look carefully for fungi on the woodland floor, and for autumn migrants on their way south for the winter months.
The views in winter are unmissable, with sweeping vistas of snow-capped mountains. The reserve is quiet at this time of year and you may glimpse red and roe deer in the early mornings.