Camping in Kinlochleven, Scotland is a wonderful experience that brings visitors to an authentic Highland’s town located in the heart of the UK’s outdoor capital. Once a mining and smelter town, Kinlochleven has reinvented itself as a tourist destination with easy access to walking, climbing, and boating on the adjacent Loch Leven. The West Highland Way also meanders its way through town, giving Kinlochleven a fun and festive atmosphere all summer long.
For those planning on camping in Kinlochleven, which we of course recommend, you’ll have several good options to choose from.
In this guide, we’ve outlined all of the camping, glamping, and caravan parks in town and the surrounding area to make your camping trip a breeze!
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Camping in Kinlochleven is somewhat geared towards walkers, as the this is the final night for most who are camping on the West Highland Way. As such, the two camping options in town, Blackwater Hostel & MacDonald Hotel, both limit tents to small, two-person set-ups. This is wonderful if you’re walking or simply have a smaller set-up, but if you’re in a touring caravan or campervan you’ll need to head a bit further afield.
For camping & caravan parks, your most convenient option near Kinlochleven will be Caolasnacon Caravan & Camping, located just three miles up Loch Leven from town. If you need more options, your best bet will be to look for camping in the Glencoe area a bit further from Kinlochleven.
We’ve outlined all of your options for camping here in the following section and you can also refer to the Kinlochleven camping map below to get a sense of each campground’s location.
Camping in & around Kinlochleven
As described above, there are two places in town that permit camping: Blackwater Hostel and MacDonald Hotel. Both of these are geared towards those walking the West Highland Way, or who are camping in just a small, two-person tent. If you have a campervan or other set-up, you’ll need to head out of town a bit.
There are also a few good glamping options in town if you’re looking to get out of your tent for a night or two.
We’ve described each of your options below in hopes that you’ll find the perfect spot to pitch up for your next camping trip.
Distance to Kinlochleven: In town
Camping Options: Tent pitches, Glamping pods
Reservations: Recommended, but not essential.
Blackwater Hostel & Campsite is located in the heart of Kinlochleven and offers basic tent camping for those on the West Highland Way or looking for a small pitch right in town. Blackwater has a fun vibe as it is connected to a hostel that offers private rooms as well as glamping pods adjacent to the tent pitches.
For tent campers, you are limited to a 2-person tent so larger groups or those with a big tent will need to look elsewhere. Although you can now make online bookings for tent pitches, there is almost always space for an extra tent or two so it isn’t essential.
Amenities at Blackwater include free WiFi, a clean shower block, charging points, a drying room, and a dishwashing area. In addition, given Blackwater’s location right in the centre of Kinlochleven you’ll have easy access to shops, pubs, a Co-Op supermarket, and more.
For those with a preference to sleep in something more substantial than a tent, glamping pods are also available. These pods are heated, so provide a year-round camping opportunity in Kinlochleven!
Blackwater is a great option for small groups of walkers, cyclists, or anyone interested in a fun camping atmosphere right in town.
Distance to Kinlochleven: In town
Camping Options: Small tent pitches, camping cabins
MacDonald Hotel & Campings is a popular camping option for those walking the West Highland Way, or looking for a simple tent camping experience. Part of the larger hotel grounds, the camping pitches here only permit two-person tents with a maximum height of 1.2 meters. As such, this won’t be a good option for families on holiday or the campervan crowd, but it is a lovely atmosphere for those on a multi-day walk or looking for a quiet night out under the stars.
The hotel and campground is located on the north edge of Kinlochleven, and there are spectacular views up the Loch. Campers have access to great facilities which include a toilet/shower block, drying room, and small kitchenette.
You can also take your meals at the on-site ‘Bothy Bar’ which serves up pub food and excellent pints.
In addition to the tent pitches there are also small cabins available that can accommodate between 2-4 people. These are a great option if you want a camping experience without having to pitch your tent. Keep in mind that you’ll need to provide your own bedding in the cabins.
All in all, MacDonald Hotel is a good option for those stopping over in Kinlochleven while on the West Highland Way or simply looking for a basic campsite for their small group.
Distance to Kinlochleven: In town
Camping Options: Glamping pods
Reservations: Essential. Click here to reserve.
For a night out of your tent or campervan, take a look at the glamping pods available at West Highland Way Holidays located right in the centre of Kinlochleven. You’ll enjoy easy access to the shops, pubs, and restaurants in town, while being able to retreat to the comfort of a well-appointed glamping pod.
The glamping pods at West Highland Way Holidays include all of your bedding, free WiFi, and all have electricity. They have small kitchenettes with a kettle and other basics as well. The pods sleep up to two people, so are best for small groups or couples.
The property backs up to the River Leven which offers a tranquil and soothing presence while you’re close to many excellent walking routes in the area.
Distance to Kinlochleven: 3 miles / 5 km
Camping Options: Tent pitches, campervan pitches, holiday caravans for let
Conveniently situated halfway between the village of Glencoe and Kinlochleven you’ll find the Caolasnacon Caravan & Camping Park. Catering to campervans as well as tent campers, the pitches here are adjacent to Loch Leven and enjoy beautiful views out over the water. Although right off the B863, traffic noise isn’t bad as the pitches are located closer to the water than the road.
Caolasnacon is your best bet for camping near Kinlochleven if you’re travelling with a larger tent or in a campervan/caravan as none of the camping options in town can accommodate larger set-ups.
This is a good location to explore the surrounding Highlands as you can head into Kinlochleven to walk on the famous West Highland Way or head to Glencoe to take in some of the idyllic scenery and walking opportunities.
There aren’t specifically designated pitches here so you’ll want to arrive early to secure the best sites. There are electric hookups available, all of which are all first-come, first-served and are free of charge.
Amenities at Caolasnacon are basic and include laundry facilities, a recently refurbished shower block and a dishwashing station. There is no Wifi at the site, but you didn’t come all the way to the Highlands to get online!
Looking for more camping & caravan parks in the area?
For those willing to drive a bit, you’ll find many more great options in the area around Kinlochleven, especially up towards Glencoe. Some of our helpful camping guides for the region will help you find a great pitch for your next trip:
- Glencoe Camping Guide: A short drive west along Loch Leven will eventually bring you to the popular village of Glencoe, sitting at the head of the famous valley of the same name. You’ll find many more camping & caravan parks here.
- Fort William Camping Guide: Heading north out of Kinlochleven will bring you to the popular tourist town of Fort William. There are many great campgrounds here all within driving distance of Kinlochleven. You can even camp right at the base of Ben Nevis!
Wild camping in Scotland, and especially on the West Highland Way, is a popular option. This type of camping is permitted, although you won’t have many options right in Kinlochleven.
We’ll explore more in depth in the following section, but in short, it is possible to wild camp just outside of Kinlochleven, but there are several things you’ll need to keep in mind. Keep reading to get all our top tips to have a successful wild camp.
Wild Camping near Kinlochleven
First things first, wild camping near Kinlochleven is only for those who are on a multi-day walk, cycle trip, or other outdoor adventure that will have you setting up late and leaving early.
If you’re on holiday and simply looking for a free place to pitch your tent, the area around Kinlochleven doesn’t have many suitable options and you would be much better off simply finding a pitch at one of the many camping & caravan parks in the region.
However, if you’re walking or cycling the West Highland Way or another route in the area, you will be able to wild camp.
You’ll want to first familiarize yourself with the main principles of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which we’ve outlined below:
- The Scottish Outdoor Access Code permits wild camping.
- Wild camping is lightweight, done in small numbers, and only for two or three nights in a single place.
- Avoid camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals.
- Keep your campsite well away from buildings and roads
- Always Leave No Trace by packing out litter, property handling human waste, and removing evidence of your pitch, and avoiding campfires.
Your best bet for wild camping in the area will be to continue north along the West Highland Way out of Kinlochleven. You’ll have a steep climb out of town before things flatten out in the nearby glen. This is a decent place for a wild camp, as you’ll be well away from any houses or structures.
Wild camping prior to reaching Kinlochleven isn’t advised since the main walking paths into town are in heavy forest with little opportunity to pitch up.
What to Bring
- Map: A good map is essential to exploring the area, and learning more about your surroundings. We always recommend bringing an Ordnance Survey map and this version covers Kinlochleven as well as much of the surrounding countryside include Glen Coe & Glen Etive.
- Camping Stove – This classic piece of gear is perfect for cooking up deluxe campsite dinners.
- Cooler – Keeping food and drinks cool is essential when camping.
- Midge repellent – Camping in the Highlands is almost synonymous with midges. Be sure to pack some bug repellent to fight off these tiny nuisances!
Have a great trip!
We hope we’ve provided all of the information you need to plan a fantastic camping trip, and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure!
Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and be sure to tell us about your trip!