Birnam Hill

Approximate Length: 7km
Approximate Height Gained: 400m
Nearest Town: Birnam
Nearest Postcode: PH8 0DS

Steep climbs rewarded by fantastic views.

This circular route begins in the village of Birnam.  After making their way under the A9 trunk road and railway bridge, most walkers choose the clockwise option, which features a longer but gentler ascent, followed by a steep descent back to the starting point.

Beautiful mixed woodland and stunning views make this walk one of Highland Perthshire's highlights.

Head up under the road and rail bridges, following the footpath on the left.  At the top, you have your first choice (pics 1&2).  Left is a longer, slightly less steep route to the top, right is the steep way.  We're going left, which is more popular - the clockwise route.

Go on past the houses and onto a private track - after a few hundred yards, follow the sign (pic 2) to branch left onto the narrow path taking you through lovely woods following the line of the railway.

Follow this path until you come to a track which goes up the hill to a disused quarry - we're going left onto flat ground (pic 4), before starting the climb up Birnam Hill at the sign post, pointing you right and up (pic 5).

From here it's just up and up, unless you fancy a small detour to the Stair Bridge viewpoint (pic 6).  You night also consider branching off round the back of the hill to follow the route of the Highland Perthshire Enduro mountain bike event (pic 7 - and see here for more details). 

You'll come to some steps set into the hill and you'll know you're getting close to the top - then you'll see the mighty impressive cairn that someone has built really quite recently, with a wooden sign showing north.  Pause to admire the views...

Birnam HillThen onward, and from here on its really is pretty much downhill - although very steep in places, so take care.  Pause to admire the great view from the rock above Dunkeld and Birnam and take the obligatory picture (below).

At the foot of the hill, turn right back down the hill and back to where you made your original decision to go left and do the route clockwise.  You could of course make a real day of it by turning left up Birnam Glen, following the path up past Balhomish and down to Rumbling Bridge, then down past the Hermitage and back to Birnam via Inver - click here for more details.


Although quite short, this is very steep in places, and there can be quite a difference in conditions between the top and the bottom.  So take care, especially when going downhill, and be prepared with proper equipment.


Downloadable PDF
Local Visitor Information
Birnam Hill Circular at EveryTrail

Printed Information:

The Dunkeld & Birnam Path Network leaflet gives a great overview of all the paths available in the area, including Birnam Hill.  It is available from Visitor Information Centres, as well as a pdf from the Perth & Kinross Council website.