20 dazzling waterfalls in Scotland

Nature, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Kate A on 5th March 2021

Steall Falls

There are few natural phenomena quite as dramatic as a waterfall. These powerful cascading waters are true wonders of nature and the waterfalls in Scotland are some of the most incredible in the whole of the UK. Thundering through ancient forests and glens, plunging over sheer cliff faces and spraying up great clouds of mist, the beauty of Scottish waterfalls will certainly not disappoint.

From the ferocious falls of Steall to the spellbinding rapids of the Fairy Pools, we’ve unearthed some of the best waterfalls to seek out as you discover Scotland. Not all of them are easy to get to. But all are definitely worth the trek. And if you’re searching for a cosy cottage to relax in afterwards, just click the button below.

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Waterfalls in North Scotland

Falls of Measach

Falls of Measach – the dramatic one

The Corrieshalloch Gorge may translate as ‘ugly hollow’ in Gaelic but it’s one of the most spectacular gorges of its type in Britain. Cut by Ice Age glacial meltwater over 2.6 billion years ago, the River Droma then forged its way through the gorge, dramatically dropping 100 metres through a series of waterfalls, including the thunderous 45-metre-high Falls of Measach. This showstopper is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Scotland, and the best way to take in its splendour is by braving the Victorian suspension bridge which spans the width of the gorge above or the more recent vertigo-inducing viewing platform, for one of the most incredible Scotland river walks.

Stay nearby: 2 Letters, Letters | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Falls of Glomach

Falls of Glomach - the off-the-beaten-track one

This one is for thrill seekers! One of the highest Scottish waterfalls, the Falls of Glomach is also one of the most remote, reached only via a tough 8-mile hike. The effort is certainly worth it though, as you will be rewarded with a jaw-dropping 113-metre-high single-drop cascade set in some of the wildest, most captivating scenery in the Highlands. Locals call it the 'gloomy falls' or the 'forbidden falls' because of the menacing rocky drop and, fittingly, this watery plummet is often enveloped in an incredibly photogenic and atmospheric mist.

Stay nearby: Druidaig Cottage, Letterfearn | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Wailing Widow Falls

Wailing Widow Falls – the mysterious one

The Wailing Widow Falls is one of the most dazzling waterfalls in the Scottish Highlands that can be viewed from both above and below. Found near Unapool, these crashing 15-metre-high falls spill out over the cliff from Loch na Gainmhich, plunging into the depths of a narrow canyon below. The sight is magical, especially following a bout of heavy rain. There are several theories behind the name of the Wailing Widow, one of which tells the tale of a deer hunter who fell over the top of the falls whilst hunting on a rainy day. The story goes that, filled with grief, his mother threw herself from the same spot the following morning.

Stay nearby: Kinloch Cottage, Lairg | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Plodda Falls

Plodda Falls – the family-friendly one

Mighty Plodda Falls is not just one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Inverness, it is also one of the most accessible, making it a great one for families. Requiring only a short stroll from the car park above Tomich, these majestic falls are an impressive 46 metres high, and when in spate are powerful enough to soak viewers at the balcony with spray. Wander through a maze of Douglas fir to reach the cantilevered viewing platform to see the falls from dizzying heights as they plunge into the Abhainn Deabhag and then the River Glass.

Stay nearby: Birchview, near Drumnadrochit | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Mealt Falls

Mealt Falls – the special one

Dramatically free-falling off a 60-metre-high sheer cliff into the Sound of Raasay below, Mealt Falls is an unforgettable sight on the Isle of Skye. The rock face is known as Kilt Rock, so named due to its resemblance to a Scottish pleated kilt with its basalt columns in a colour reminiscent of tartan. It is special because it’s very rare that falls emit into the sea and, on a windy day, the water is sometimes blown straight back up the cliffs which is a magnificent spectacle to witness.

Stay nearby: Taobh An Uillt, Uig | Sleeps 9 + 2 dogs

Steall Falls

Steall Falls – the famous one

In the middle reaches of Glen Nevis are the thundering torrents of Steall Falls which cascade down 120 metres from the mountains of the Mamores. It is regarded by many as one of the best waterfalls in Scotland, as well as being the second highest, and its deafening roar can be heard long before you even catch sight of it. If you’re feeling brave, you can feel the mist on your face with a daring adventure across a three-wire bridge over the river – not one for the faint-hearted!

Stay nearby: Druimarbin Farmhouse, near Fort William | Sleeps 7 + 2 dogs

Falls of Bruar

Falls of Bruar – the poetic one

Of all the Perthshire waterfalls, the Falls of Bruar are among the most romantic. In fact, Robert Burns was so inspired by this beauty spot that he wrote ‘The Humble Petition of Bruar Water’, a poem to petition the Duke of Atholl to plant trees here, forming the enchanting woodland that’s seen today. And Burns isn’t the only famous figure to pay this series of stunning falls a visit; it’s long been a place of pilgrimage, including visits by William Wordsworth and Queen Victoria. A short circular woodland walk around the falls reveals several tranquil picnic spots and viewing platforms to take in the scenery.

Stay nearby: Farleyer Steading | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Falls of Shin

Falls of Shin – the salmon-leaping one

The big attraction at the Falls of Shin is not so much the falls themselves, but the fact that this is one of the best places in Scotland to view salmon leaping upstream. Situated on the River Shin and surrounded by ancient woodland, this popular spot near Lairg plays host to this wonderful spectacle during late summer and autumn as the fish return upriver to spawn. Watch from the viewing platform, then finish your adventure with an indulgent slice of cake in the on-site café.  

Stay nearby: Shinness Lodge, Lairg | Sleeps 12 + 2 dogs

Rogie Falls

Rogie Falls – the photogenic one

A photographer’s dream, Rogie Falls is a dazzling series of waterfalls on the Black River, near Contin in the Scottish Highlands. Like the Falls of Shin, these are prime breeding grounds for Atlantic salmon, however, these falls are arguably far prettier and a lot less crowded. Best of all, there is a suspension bridge that allows you to experience the exhilarating rush of standing next to a waterfall. This, combined with all the other viewpoints dotted about, makes it one of the best places to photograph waterfalls in Scotland.

Stay nearby: Highfield Lodge – Strathpeffer, Inverness | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Fairy Pools

Fairy Pools – the wild swimming one

They may not be the tallest waterfalls in Scotland, but the crystal-clear Fairy Pools have long drawn people to the Isle of Skye to witness their magic. Nestled at the foot of the imposing Black Cuillin mountains, this succession of waterfalls tumbles into pools of deep, turquoise water that is as fresh as it is clear. Visit the Fairy Falls on a sunny day and you can take a dip in the cool water for a unique wild swimming experience – look out for two pools connected by a natural underwater arch to swim beneath.

Stay nearby: Sulaire, near Broadford | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Falls of Feugh

Falls of Feugh – the romantic one

One of the most famous waterfalls in Aberdeenshire is the stunning Falls of Feugh, located near Banchory. Found on the largest tributary to the River Dee, it is yet another of the top places in Scotland to spot salmon leaping. Stand on the stone-built Bridge of Feugh which spans the river for the best views, and look out for the old turnpike toll house which sits next to it. There is also a lovely tearoom where you can enjoy refreshments with a view of the falls by the bridge.

Stay nearby: Ferneyhowe Croft, The Cairngorms | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Waterfalls in Central Scotland

Reekie Linn

Reekie Linn – the powerful one

One of the top waterfalls near Dundee, Reekie Linn is a pair of joined cascades on the River Isla, hidden in a bewitching woodland just north of Alyth at the Bridge of Craigisla. When the river is in spate, this double leap of 6 and 18 metres becomes one massive, surging torrent which is what makes it so impressive. Its name translates as ‘smoky waterfall’, referring to the great clouds of spray thrown up by the huge volumes of rushing water as it rages into a deep, black, frothy pool in the base of the gorge, said to be over 30 metres deep.

Stay nearby: Ducklings Rest, near Kirriemuir | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Falls of Clyde

Falls of Clyde – the nature lover's one

Managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Falls of Clyde is not just a delight for the plunging river itself, but these waterfalls near Glasgow are also a haven for nature. This series of four drops includes the upper falls of Bonnington Linn, Corra Linn and Dundaff Linn, and the lower falls of Stonebyres Linn, with Cora Linn being the highest at 27 metres. Set close to the World Heritage Site of New Lanark, there is a network of paths to choose from to explore the nature reserve and its waterfalls, with the chance of spotting badgers, herons, dippers, otters, bats and kingfishers along the way.

Stay nearby: The Distillers Cottage, near Lanark | Sleeps 6 

Black Linn Falls

Black Linn Falls – the fairy-tale one

Black Linn Falls at the Hermitage is one of the top waterfall walks in Scotland for good reason. Tucked deep within a patch of Perthshire forest once belonging to the 18th-century Dukes of Atholl, the trail is brimming with character, wildlife and history. The falls are enveloped in lush woodland, dense with stunning Douglas firs where you might catch a glimpse of red squirrels amongst the foliage. Along the route, you will discover Ossian’s Hall, a perfect example of an 18th-century folly, and it is from here that you get the best views of the remarkable waterfall as well as the babbling River Braan.

Stay nearby: Pinegrove Cottage, Birnam | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Falls of Dochart

Falls of Dochart – the historic one

Also known as Killin Falls, the Falls of Dochart reside at the western end of Loch Tay. These waterfalls near Loch Lomond comprise a wide series of smaller drops that run through the quaint village of Killin. From the Bridge of Dochart, which was first constructed in 1760, admire the misty spray rising in the air from the white water as it crashes into the rocks before flowing around the Islands of Inchbuie, home of the ancient burial place of Clan Macnab who lived in the area for around 800 years.

Stay nearby: Heatherbank, Killin | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Inversnaid Falls – the accessible one

Located in the sleepy hamlet of Inversnaid, this glittering waterfall powerfully flows from Loch Arklet, before tumbling into the frothy depths of Loch Lomond. Inversnaid Falls are a force of nature and, when the water is in full spate, it’s quite a sight to behold. You can visit these falls while traversing the West Highland Way, a long-distance walking trail that winds through the area.

Stay nearby: Scott Cottage - Loch Katrine, Loch Katrine | Sleeps 5 + 1 dog

Linn Jaw Waterfall

Linn Jaw Waterfall – the secret one

One of our favourite waterfalls near Edinburgh is Linn Jaw, a hidden gem in Livingston. This glorious natural landmark consists of two substantial cascades and several smaller ones which tumble into the depths below. To find it, you’ll need to don your walking boots and navigate a meandering woodland trail with a steep, muddy incline to the water’s edge. If you’re lucky you might just have the falls all to yourself.

Stay nearby: Roslin Chapel Lodge | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Waterfalls in South Scotland

Grey Mare’s Tail Waterfall

Grey Mare’s Tail Waterfall – the giant one

Set within the undulating countryside of Dumfries and Galloway, Grey Mare’s Tail is one of the most striking waterfalls in South Scotland. It’s not difficult to see how this arresting white waterfall earned its name, with falls of 60 metres plummeting down sheer mountain slopes from Loch Skeen into the Moffat Water Valley below. The fifth highest waterfall in the UK, it is nestled within a nature reserve managed by the National Trust for Scotland, and is surrounded by wildlife, including ospreys, peregrine falcons, ring ouzels and feral goats. The views of the falls are so enchanting that they were celebrated in the poem Marmion by Sir Walter Scott.

Stay nearby: Tweedsmuir School House, Tweedsmuir | Sleeps 6

Glenashdale Falls

Glenashdale Falls – the picturesque one

Glenashdale Falls or Eas a’ Chrannaig as it's otherwise known, is a 45-metre double cascade waterfall near Whiting Bay on the Isle of Arran. There is a 1.5-mile circular walk to the falls which takes in several sites of archaeological interest, including an Iron Age fort and Neolithic burial mounds known as the Giants Graves. Eventually, the walk reaches a wooden viewing platform that juts out over the mystical falls offering mesmerising views; don’t forget your camera!

Stay nearby: Nirvana, Whiting Bay | Sleeps 7 + 3 dogs

Dalcairney Falls

Dalcairney Falls – the frozen one

Found near Loch Doon in Ayrshire, Dalcairney Falls is a popular waterfall with both walkers and photographers. Visit in autumn to see the falls dappled in light from the copper canopy of the surrounding woodland, or wrap up warm and venture here in winter following a cold spell when the water famously freezes over to form a giant ice sculpture.

Stay nearby: Turnberry Lodge, Turnberry | Sleeps 2

A map of the top Scotland waterfalls

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.