Hiking doesn’t always have to be up mountains or over long distances. Although I love to challenge myself, I like nothing more than spending an hour or two meandering through woodland or by the sea shore, along easy to follow trails, with family and friends. Spending time outside as either a social activity or just because it is beautiful is such a good way to spend an afternoon.
Our first stop on our North Coast 500 road trip was just a few miles out of Inverness, we’d hardly been going at all, but this was a spot everyone had told us we needed to visit. Rogie Falls is a series of waterfalls on the Black Water river, famous for its salmon. At the right time of year you can watch them leap up the falls on their way to the breeding areas.
There is a small parking area (free) with toilets (summer months only), just off the A835 about 20 miles/30 mins drive from the centre of Inverness towards Ullapool.
There are a two marked trails to choose from (plus a variety of unmarked ones), leading to the falls from the parking area. The Salmon Trail, marked with yellow posts, is just half a mile long and takes just a few minutes to take visitors directly to the falls. The slightly longer Riverside Trail comes with blue posts showing the way, taking walkers through the edge of the Torrachilty Forest and along the river bank before reaching the falls – three quarters of a mile each way (although this one does have a circular route).
We took the longer path, and although it was uneven in places thanks to tree roots, some undulating sections and some rocky bits, it was an easy walk well worth the extra few minutes. It also meant we walked along the river which meant we followed the water towards the falls – and gave me an opportunity to get close up to the water and have a good look for any fish swimming along.
When you get to the falls proper there is a relatively new suspension bridge across the Black Water river, offering amazing views down over the falls and access to the other side where there are also trails. Signage tells you that the bridge can support a maximum of five people at one time, and there is quite a considerable wobble (which some may find a little off putting…). It is worth noting that while the Salmon Trail is fully accessible, there are some steep steps either side of the bridge which might make it a bit difficult if you are in a wheelchair or use sticks.
Your best bet for salmon leaping is during August and September. But visit any time of year after heavy rain like we did and the falls roar with noise and rush with water.
If you are in the Inverness area, whether you are doing the North Coast 500 road trip or just looking for an easy but beautiful walk to give you an hour or two outside, then Rogie Falls is absolutely worth a visit. We went in early July and so we were a bit early for the salmon, but it was still well worth a visit. Maybe we’ll see them leap next time.
If you are doing the NC500 or holidaying in the area, this leaflet from Forestry Commission Scotland is a great guide to walks like the ones at Rogie Falls, and OS Road Map 1 (Northern Scotland) covers the area and has loads of trail heads marked too. And for some of my favourite moments from our NC500 road trip, check out this post.