Discover The Great Glen Canoe Trail

Whether you are looking for a long distance canoeing challenge or a relaxing day paddle, the Caledonian Canal offers fabulous options for paddlers of all abilities.

Over 4,000 paddlers visit the waters of the Caledonian Canal each year. Some undertake the challenging 3-5 day long distance expedition, whilst others enjoy a day out on the canal.

Watch this short video of the Great Glen Canoe Trail and you will be inspired to visit!

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We recommend that paddlers are experienced in long distance or open water canoeing before tackling the lochs. Remember to plan your journey carefully. If you are new to canoeing or kayaking, you should seek the guidance of more experienced paddlers or specialist instructors. Much of the route involves paddling on open water rather than on the canal. Download the Great Glen Canoe Trail Map for useful information and view our Paddling Activity Providers listings for details of equipment hire, guided trips and shuttle services.

We’re expecting 2022 to be another bumper year for staycation paddle visits, so the route is likely to be much busier than usual. To reduce the pressure on the sensitive environment of the Great Glen, we’re encouraging paddlers, walkers & cyclists to book accommodation in commercial campsites, B&Bs, hostels, guest houses or hotels rather than wild camping on their journey.

**Cullochy locks portage – temporary changes**

Due to lock gate replacement works being extended at Cullochy until approx 20th May, access is a little different – paddlers experienced enough for River Oich (Grade 2 waters) can leave the canal at Bridge of Oich. Other paddlers will need to haul their boats up the opposite bank nearer the lock chamber and then portage across the floating bridge. More info on site at Bridge of Oich.

Free registration

We recommend that all paddlers visiting the canal register with us in advance so that we can have useful data that will allow us to operate and maintain the canal for paddlers.  This system also ensures that everyone understands the safety requirements for what is a less-than-ordinary waterway.

Please register for free before using the canal – you can register for up to a 10 day period.  You can purchase access to our facilities along the way at Seaport Marina or at either of the sea locks. Groups of 10 or more paddle craft should also complete our paddle event registration form.

Dinghies and unpowered craft

If your boat is unpowered but too large or heavy to portage around the lock chambers then it will need to have a canal licence. For safety reasons occupants of small unpowered craft using the lock chambers are likely to be asked to disembark and pull the craft through on ropes. Sailing in the manmade canal reaches is prohibited by canal byelaws – vessels must be rowed or under power.