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Cairngorms National Park

View to Braemar

Frequently Asked Questions

Scotland is transitioning out of lockdown, which means the Cairngorms National Park is opening back up to visitors, here we have listed the most frequently asked questions to help you get the information you need.

With Scotland’s progressive outdoor access legislation and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code you can enjoy the outdoors responsibly in the Cairngorms National Park.   

When enjoying the outdoorsplease do so responsibly which means: 

 

      •  Respect the interests of others
      •  Care for the environment
      •  Take responsibility for your own actions

     

Visiting the Park * Car Parks * Toilets * Litter * Dogs * Campervans * Wild Camping * Fire

Visiting the National Park

What attractions, facilities and activities are open to the public in the National Park?

While the Cairngorms National Park is now open to visitors some facilities, businesses and activities may not be open just yet or operating under different opening hours and booking procedures. Please check ahead directly with providers and attractions or go to the Visit Cairngorms website for up to date information on activity providers, attractions and food and drink businesses. For updates on the status of National Nature Reserves in the Park and the rest of Scotland please visit Nature Scot here.

Can I stay overnight in the Park?

You can stay overnight in the Park but not all accommodation providers are fully open so please check and book ahead.

If you are planning to camp in the Park, please ensure you book campsites for camping in tents, campervans and caravans before you travel. Please see our advice on camping in the Park here.

Where can I find information about the National Park?

Visit our Discover and Explore section for information on things to do in the National Park – please plan ahead and make bookings direct with providers or contact them ahead of time to ensure they are open and ready to receive visitors. You can also visit the Visit Cairngorms website for visitor information.

Where can I find information about walks and cycle routes in the National Park?

There are hundreds of paths, trails, and long-distance routes across the Cairngorms National Park. Visit our Walking page for information, the Community Paths and Trails page for leaflets to download, and the Cycling page for more information.

Car Parking

Are car parks open in the National Park?

Yes, car parks are now open across the National Park, please visit our Car Parks web page for a listing of sites, their capacities and busyness status so you can better plan ahead and be prepared to be flexible if you need to move on from a busy car park.

Why am I being charged to park my car? 

Many land managers use car park income to improve your visitor experience. This includes providing ranger services, protecting wildlife, maintaining facilities and paths.

Toilets

Where can I go to the toilet? 

Most public toilets are now open in the National Park and others are due to open soon – please visit our Public Toilets web page for a listing of locations and their current status.

Use a public toilet if there is one. If not, dig a hole and bury waste well away from buildings or well-used areas. Urinate at least 30 paces from lochs, rivers and streams. Please do not use wet wipes.

If you are heading into the hills from Cairngorm Mountain you can use the snow-white facility to pack your waste out of the hill.

If you are travelling to the park by campervan and caravan you can dispose of your chemical waste at some of the camping and caravan parks for a small fee if you are a non-resident. Please visit this page to find a site and plan ahead.

For more advice on how to ‘go’ in the outdoors please view this information guide from Mountaineering Scotland.

Litter

Why are there no litter bins?

Some of the more popular car parks have litter bins. If bins are full or are not available, please take all your litter home. It always pays to take a carrier bag for your litter if heading out for a picnic.

Dogs

Why am I being asked to keep my dog on a lead? 

The Cairngorms National Park is home to many rare and endangered species of ground-nesting birds such as Capercaillie and Dotterel. On sensitive sites and at sensitive times of the year the public is asked to keep their dog on a lead. This is from March until the middle of August so please follow any on-site advice and signage.

At all other times of the year dog walkers should keep their dogs under close control and avoid fields with livestock, especially with young animals.

Campervans

Why am I being asked to park in a campsite? 

We can all do our bit to support local businesses coming out of lockdown so we would urge you to use campsites and support the local economy.

Campervans are not covered by access rights so you do not have the right to park in village car parks, forestry tracks or estate car parks overnight.

If you are travelling to the park by campervan and caravan you can dispose of your chemical waste at some of the camping and caravan parks for a small fee if you are a non-resident. Please visit this page to find a site and plan ahead.

Camping


Can I wild camp? 

Wild camping is permitted in the Cairngorms National Park but please ensure you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Fires

Can I have a campfire?

Campfires in the wrong place such as on peaty ground or near trees can cause major damage. So please use a stove. Being able to have a campfire responsibly in the National Park is difficult as there are not many places where it is safe to do so. Please use a stove if you need to cook.

Never light a fire anywhere when there is a high fire risk.