At the heart of Scotland’s world renowned Scottish Highlands region, the Cairngorms National Park is not only the largest national park in the UK, but is home to the UK’s highest Mountain range—the Cairngorms.
The Cairngorm Mountains are celebrated among hikers and climbers for offering a vast range of challenging and scenic routes, affording spectacular views over the Scottish highlands. Stretching for over 80km (50 miles), the mountains encompass a dramatic series of peaks, most of which are over 3,000 feet (915 meters), although several rise over 4,000 feet (1, 220 meters). 280km (174 miles) of hiking and mountain biking trails run through the park’s varied terrain, from ancient Caledonian Forests to the stony desert of the Cairngorm plateau, and there’s even a burgeoning trend for white water rafting along the mountain’s fast-flowing rivers. Rugged woodlands teeming with wildlife and year-round snowy peaks add to the photogenic vistas.
Not only a hiking destination, the Cairngorm Mountains are also Scotland’s premium skiing, snowboarding and sledding resort and the country’s only funicular railway—the Cairngorm Mountain railway. With over 20 ski runs spanning all levels, the resort is home to the UK’s only official ski school and hosts a number of challenging runs, the longest of which spans 3.3km. Even if you’re not skiing, it’s worth a trip to the top to take in the panoramas from the country’s highest viewing terrace, or pay a visit to the UK’s highest restaurant, the Ptarmigan Restaurant, located at the top Ptarmigan station.