Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Biking and hiking route up Mount Keen from Glen Tanar

Fine tracks following the old drove road through forests of Scots Pine lead to the "Mounth Road" and to Mount Keen's summit. The use of a bike for the 13km plus cycle to the foot of Mount Keen is recommended !

Route outline

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap

Mount Keen

Walk ascent 410m (1340ft)
         distance 4km (2m)
         time 1:45hr
Bike ascent 400m (1310ft)
         distance 27km (17m)
         time 1:45hr
Start/finish Glen Tanar
Grid Ref : NO479965
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

The most popular route up Mount Keen comes in from Glen Mark to the south, but this slightly quieter route heads in from Glen Tanar to the north. Like the Glen Mark route, most of the way is on fine estate tracks and well maintained paths, but the scenery is quite different - with a fair amount of the way is through delightful woodland and forestry following the Water of Tanar. The Glen Tanar Visitor centre is worth visiting and a wander around the old church and cemetary is worthwhile.

Route map

Route description

1. Getting to Glen Tanar

Best to keep straight on !

West of Aberdeen, Aboyne lies on the River Dee and just south-west of the village an unclassified road leads to Glen Tanar. At the end of public access on this road is a car-park from where the route up Mount Keen begins. Parking is £3 for a day (Tuesdays free !).

2. Cycle to Shiel of Glen Tanar

The 'Halfway Hut'

From the car-park, head 100m back along the road then cross the bridge over the Water of Tanar. Immediately to the left is Glen Tanar visitor centre and its ranger service.Take the track to the right and cycle south past Glen Tanar Church and cemetary to a junction and turn right.

The track comes to another junction by a bridge over Water of Tanar and right-of-way sign pointing to "Glen Esk by the Mounth") - you can take either route - I prefer straight on as the track is smoother.A further 1km, the track splits - keep left (to the right is the old track which has been badly erroded by the river).

The track comes to another junction , turn sharp right and cross the bridge over the Water of Allachy. Shortly thereafter yet another junction and bridge , turn left heading west alongside the north bank of Water of Tanar.

Around 2½km further on you'll pass a small wooden shack, the "Half Way Hut" and as its name suggests, you're now around halfway to the foot of Mount Keen ! Shortly after this you'll come out of the forest and get your first view of Mount Keen ahead.

Another bridge is reached, with the track crossing onto the southern bank of the Water of Tanar. After a brief cycle of 1km, yet another bridge is crossed, this time it's back onto the northern bank for 1.5km to a right-of-way sign pointing to Mount Keen near a fairly new metal bridge . Once over this, the track gets much rougher and begins to climb fairly steeply uphill, so perhaps best to leave bikes just beyond this bridge.

3. Mount Keen

Leaving Mount Road, last climb to Mount Keen's summit

The now rough but obvious track is followed uphill and comes to a grate . Beyond this, a fine path has been constructed with side sections around culverts enabling accomplished mtb-ers to continue (see for info on the reconstructed path).

At around c700m , the path splits - the 'Mounth Road' heads off right around the summit dome of Mount Keen and a footpath heads directly ahead uphill aiming for the summit. This final section is made of rocks and boulders carefully placed and twists and turns until Mount Keen's trig point comes into view.

4. Return to Glen Tanar

Mount Keen's summit

Return by the same route. The cycle for the most part is a gentle downhill and therefore easier than the route in.

Route profile »

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Guided hillwalking events in this area »


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