West Highland Way
This is Scotland's original long distance trail. It is a south-to-north route that begins on the outskirts of Glasgow and extends to Fort William and the foot of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis (4,409 feet). In between are 95 miles of trails that take in some of the best scenery in Scotland. The route winds around the shores of Loch Lomond, through Glen Falloch and Rannoch Moor, and then up and over the "Devil's Staircase." The route can be "inn trekked," as there are towns and villages with inns and hotels that are either on the trail or adjacent to it. A typical hike takes a week, but a hardy hiker in a hurry could do the route in as little as three or four days.
Southern Upland Way
Extending 212 miles, the South Upland Way stands as Scotland's longest single trail. One terminus sits near Edinburgh at Cockburnspath on the North Sea, with the other at Portpatrick on the Irish Sea. It is recommended to take this trail from west to east, ending it on the Cockburnspath and Edinburgh side. That places the prevailing wind at your back, and the sun in a backlighting position for most of the day. Running over the spine of Scotland, the trail surmounts the heights of Lowther Hill (2,379 feet) about mid-trip. Another nice feature of the Southern Upland Way is it can also be mountain biked. This route is also open to both camping and inn-trekking.
The Speyside Way is a trail that runs through the heart of the Highlands, alongside the River Spey. Covering a distance of 65 miles on abandoned rail tracks and old country paths, it goes from Aviemore to the North Sea coast, spanning Moray Firth, the heather-clad Cairngorm foothills and the core of malt whiskey country. Sights along the way include the Glenlivet Distillery, the Macallan Distillery, the Glenfiddich Distillery and Balvenie Castle. If scotch is your thing, this is the hike for you. Like the other long-distance routes, hikers can stay in either bed and breakfasts or camp out.
Great Glen Way
The 73 miles of the Great Glen Way pick up where the West Highland Way ends, at Fort William. This trail can either be taken independently or the two can be tacked together into one long trip. From Fort William, the route runs along the Caledonian Canal, right through the space between the Northwest Highlands and the Grampian Mountains. Along the way it passes by the famous Loch Ness. The trails ends at Inverness, the largest city of the Scottish Highlands.