The Glen Finglas Loop is a peaceful ride through Loch Lemond and Trossachs National Park. It's kind of a good introduction to backcountry riding for those who want to branch out a little bit from the local trail centers. Once you leave the Glen Finglas Reservoir Road
onto the loop proper, you're likely to see only cattle, sheep, and perhaps the occasional hillwalker as you use some land rover tracks to circumnavigate Meall Cala (2,211 ft). The route is not technical, but good stamina will be required as there are almost 3,000 ft of climbing before the end. You'll enjoy some peaceful solitude as you grind up the gorgeous Glen Meann
before surfing down loose rocks on the land rover track down Glen Finglas
The route starts from the Glen Finglas Visitor Center. The most difficult part of the route is the initial climb up Lendrick Hill
. You've got a 0.25 mile section with a 300 foot climb. The trail surface is crushed gravel, so it can be difficult to maintain momentum without your back tire peeling out. It will be over soon enough though, and there is a great view of Loch Venachar to the south just after the climb is finished.
The singletrack then weaves its way along the ridge before heading down towards Glen Finglas Reservoir Road
. There are a couple of blind corners in this steeply descending sections, and the Lendrick Hill
is popular with hillwalkers, so keep it in control. There are some open topped box culverts that may cause an endo if you let them catch your front tire on the way down if you're not keeping it in control. Karma!
Turn right when you reach the Glen Finglas Reservoir Road
. Initially it's asphalted, but after about 0.5 miles it becomes a good gravel road. The reservoir road reaches several farms and it generally follows the shore of the Glen Finglas Reservoir. Ignore the land rover road that branches to the right near several farms at the 2.5 mile mark. Cross a tributary to the reservoir and continue to the next intersection at the north end of the reservoir. The Meall Cala summit is directly in front of you. Turn right to begin climbing Glen Meann
(If you cross a bridge over a second creek, you've gone too far).
landrover track climbs through pastoral farmland (expect to see cattle or sheep). It follows the creek up the valley most of the way. The uphill grade is generally pretty easy until you get to mile 6.5 and then you've got to go up 400 feet in 0.5 miles. Ignore the hillwalking track that branches to the right in the middle of this nasty climb. At the top of this 400 foot climb, you'll reach a saddle and you are rewarded with a sweeping view into an isolated valley beyond Meall Cala. At the saddle, the land rover track degrades to a doubletrack but you've got a mile or so of easier grade (including a short descent) before the climb resumes.
Finally at 9.0 miles overall, you'll reach a large rock cairn which indicates you've reached the top of the climb. You've now gone halfway around the Meall Cala summit, which now lies to the south. From here, you've got a good preview of the Glen Finglas
land rover track that will take you back to the intersection with Glen Finglas Reservoir Road
. Glen Finglas
land rover track is a lot rockier than the Glen Meann
land rover track. The track follows the Finglas Water and you'll enjoy a great view of the Glen Finglas Reservoir on the way down if you can redirect your concentration from surfing the rocks in the trail along the steep descent. At 11 miles, you'll cross the Finglas Water (you've got the option to ford the creek or use the bridge). Shortly thereafter, the steep descending is over and the doubletrack becomes less rocky and more established.
Once you reach the three-way intersection (just after crossing a bridge over a creek), turn right onto Glen Finglas Reservoir Road
. Follow the reservoir road until it ends at the A821 road in the hamlet of Brig o'Turk where there are a couple of restaurants. Finally, turn left onto the A821 to complete the loop back at the Glen Finglas Visitor Center.