Plan your trip to the North Coast 500 like never before and enjoy a road trip around the most scenic landscape in the world.
Containing details on
– All of the best sights (100+)
– Where to eat and stay
– Campervan facilities (water points and waste disposal)
– Sample itineraries
and so much more!
The North Coast 500 is the most popular road trip in the UK and is Scotland’s answer to route 66. This stunning coastal route includes many beautiful beaches, as well as plenty of other hidden gems, including waterfalls.
In this post, we share the best waterfalls on the NC500 route that you must add to your North Coast 500 itinerary.
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Waterfalls are a great highlight on your NC500 trip. Scotland see’s on average up to 3,000mm of rain per year, meaning the power of the waterfalls on the NC500 is likely to be incredible. In this post we will go into more details on our favourite waterfalls on the North Coast 500.
- Fairy Glen Falls
- Rogie Falls
- Balck Water Falls
- Big Burn Falls
- Falls of Measach
- Preparing for your trip to the NC500
Destination North Coast Map
Make sure you have all the resources you need to make the most of your trip to the North Coast of Scotland. Our Destination North Coast Map is the perfect addition to any traveller’s toolkit. With detailed information on all the best spots, along the NC500, this map is your ultimate guide to exploring the rugged beauty of Scotland’s north coast.
Fairy Glen Falls
The Fairy Glen Falls is a beautiful waterfall located not far from the small town of Rosemarkie. The walk is around 30 minutes through a woodland trail which is unpathed and can be rough underfoot. Continue to follow the path and it will be obvious when you reach the first waterfall. It sits around 5 meters high and is an impressive photography spot. Follow the stairs up the dirt path and you will arrive at the second waterfall which also sits around 5 meters high. The second waterfall flows into a larger pool of water however this is very shallow.
Wailing Widow Falls
The Wailing Widow Falls is one of Scotland’s most impressive waterfalls.The 50ft waterfalls drops from Loch na Gainmhich, which is surrounded by nearby mountains in the middle of Scotland’s remote west coast. The Wailing Widow Falls can be viewed from the top and the bottom of the waterfall, depending on the angle you prefer. If you have a drone, we believe that this is the best angle to capture the waterfall spilling out of the loch.
Rogie falls is one of the many Forestry Commission attractions in the Ross-shire region in the northern highlands. It is enjoyed by many for its simple walking routes and beautiful waterfalls. There are a number of areas to view the Rogie falls, the best one being on the suspension bridge sitting directly in front of the falls. The best time to go is first thing in the morning when it is a lot quieter and you won’t have anyone in front of your view. It will also be a lot more peaceful at this time. There is a small car park with space for around 20 cars which will get very busy during peak season. There are also toilets and bins on site.
Your trip to Scotland will be a lot more comfortable with a midge net and midge spray. These little biting bugs can be enough to ruin a trip if you don’t have the equipment to protect yourself from them. A repelling candle can also be helpful if you are sitting oustide.
Black Water Falls
The Black Water Falls are a much less visited, however not less beautiful, falls located near Rogie Falls. Black Water Falls can be viewed from the road, however we would advise parking in the small car park and going for a walk around the falls. There are also toilet facilities in the car park.
There are multiple layers to the waterfalls and as the name suggests, the water is extremely black.
Falls of Shin
Hidden just off the main route of the NC500, the peaceful Falls of Shin is a must-visit attraction on Scotland’s Route 500. This small collection of waterfalls has an easily accessible viewing platform, toilets, a visitor centre and cafe, and is also the perfect place to watch the annual migration of leaping salmon.
Linking Loch Shin and the Kyle of Sutherland, River Shin is a common commute for the Atlantic salmon as they make their annual migration to breed.
If you are wanting to stay at the Falls of Shin Visitor Centre for longer, there is a huge choice of nature walks to enjoy or you can simply relax with a coffee while the kids enjoy the outdoor adventure area.
Big Burn Falls
A hidden gem located in Golspie is the Big Burn Falls. This spectacular waterfall sits at the and the end of a short walk, named the Big Burn Walk.
The car park for Big Burn Falls sits just up the road from the Golspie Inn. It is a small car park, that can fill up during peak season, with a narrow one-way road leading to it.
Follow the path from the car park, through the gorge and across the zig-zag bridges. The scenery is gorgeous walking through the forest. Big Burn Falls sits at the end of a wooden viewing platform which you will need to walk to the end of to get a glimpse of the the falls pouring into the river below.
Struggling to plan your North Coast 500 road trip?!
Complete with all of the best sights, where to eat and stay, campervan facilities (water points and waste disposal), sample itineraries, and and so much more, this guide is a must-have for your next trip!
Falls of Measach
The Falls of Measach sits at the head of the Corrieshalloch Gorge and is one of the most impressive waterfalls on the NC500. There is a short walk to a suspension bridge that sits high up above the mile long canyon with brilliant views of the Falls of Measach.
This waterfall is free to visit daily and is part of the National Trust for Scotland. The falls are located just outside of Ullapool on the west coast of Scotland.
Before You Leave on the North Coast 500
Before you head off on your trip around the NC500, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip. These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book.
How Do I Get Around the NC500?
Given the remote location of the NC500 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.
As for public transport, the use around the NC500 is understandably difficult due to how remote each location is, however, with the increasing problem of congestion along the route, this is a good option to research if you have time. If it is something that interests you, you can read a public formed itinerary of how to get around the NC500 by public transport over here.
If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable and luxurious campervan for your trip along the NC500, we recommend hiring through Spaceships Rentals.
What Should I Pack for the NC500?
When it comes to packing for a trip along the NC500 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NC500 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.
Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C
Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C
Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C
Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C
As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.
It is also important to stay hydrated, especially when you are out exploring in the marvellous waterfalls of Scotland. We use Water to Go water bottles to fill up with water from running streams when we are hiking.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
Where Should I Stay on the NC500?
The remoteness in the highlands of Scotland will leave you with little choice of accommodation in each location along the NC500, however, there are still enough options to choose from to ensure a comfortable trip. These are mostly in the shape of B&Bs, Airbnbs, converted cottages and other quirky accommodations.
Depending on how adventurous you are, there may be more accommodation choices than just the above, often with an even better view. Caravan and camping sites are abundant along the NC500, drawing camping enthusiasts from all over the world. For some of the most spectacular bedside scenery along the North Coast 500, we recommend packing a tent and getting in touch with nature for the week.
As we travelled along the North Coast 500, we camped in our trusty Vango tent on a mixture of campsites and wild sites. Wild camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of the highlands, however, it must be done respectfully. Read our full guide to Wild Camping if you wish to give it a go so you know everything you need to for a comfortable and sustainable trip.
What is the Best Travel Insurance?
I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.
To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using SafetyWing, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support. It is also nomad-friendly, unlike most other insurance companies, meaning you do not need to worry about being out of your home country for too long.
So there you have it, the best waterfalls along the North Coast 500. If you have visited the NC500 recently, let us know what you thought of the sights listed above, or if you have any suggestions for other waterfalls, let us know in the comments below.
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- North Coast 500 Highlights – Best Sights Along the NC500
- North Coast 500 Packing Guide – What You Will Need for the NC500
- 7-day North Coast 500 Itinerary – FREE, Detailed and Unforgettable!
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