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.

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.

The route

Download our handy map to help plan your paddle along the Great Glen Canoe trail. Our information panels will also give you lots of useful information and ideas along the route.

View The Great Glen Canoe Trail map

Trail safety

To help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable paddle, we ask you to respect the canals as you would do any body of water and to familiarise yourself with the following safety advice. You can find out more by going to our Paddling - Etiquette and best practice page.

We’re expecting this year to be another busy year for 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.

Important Information - please read

Following these simple guidelines will help us to ensure these designated spots are available for other users in the future. Responsible informal camping is permitted in designated spots on the following basis only:

  • Trail users must be on ‘human powered’ transport – no cars, vans or motorbikes
  • Each site has a strict maximum number of small tents and people for single nights only 
  • Please only use the marked pitches
  • If pitches are full you MUST travel further along the route to camp elsewhere. Follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
  • Please be considerate of residents in nearby houses - respect their privacy
  • Please keep noise levels to a minimum
  • Take all your litter away with you
  • DO NOT light campfires – camping stoves only
  • Leave NO ‘Poo-lution’

Further information


Fort William
Caledonian Canal

Opening Hours





Water equipment rental
Shower and Toilet nearby

Register your trip

We recommend that all paddlers visiting the Scottish Canals register with us in advance, so we can keep track of all watercrafts on our canals for safety reasons.

Please register your tip with using our form. You will not currently receive an email acknowledgement of your submission. 

Register here

Useful information

Good planning makes all the difference - it keeps you safe and saves you time and effort.

Disruptions on the canal

Please refer to the “Ongoing work” section of the website for details of winter closures for maintenance work.

Ongoing works

Paddling activity providers

Find guided trips, equipment hire and shuttle services for paddling on Scotland's Canals.

Paddle hire