John Muir Way

John Muir Way

Cross the magnificent Scottish heartland in honour of the 'Father of National Parks'.

4 to 13 nights
42-135 miles
Moderate to Moderate / Demanding

From £530 per person

Find your holiday

About the trail

Named for the ‘Father of National Parks’, the John Muir Way is an energetic walk that strings together the best sights of the Scottish heartland along low-level, approachable paths. Pack your walk with visits to the Glengoyne Distillery, the Roman remains at the Antonine Wall, the world’s only rotating boat lift, the Falkirk Wheel, and Edinburgh Castle, to name but a handful of possibilities.

Canal paths, smooth trails, and old coffin roads lead the trail along lochsides and through rolling fields, with beautiful coastal views over the Firth of Forth. John Muir was all for making the best of the countryside more accessible, and this celebratory route does an excellent job of it.

We offer multiple holiday options along this trail. If you wish to experience the entire trail, simply select the first option from the list below.

Choose your route

  • John Muir Way
  • John Muir Way - West Section
  • John Muir Way - East Section

About this route

4 to 5 nights
42 miles
Moderate to Moderate / Demanding
2nd January to 24th December

From £530 per person

John Muir Way - East Section

The east section of the John Muir Way covers the eastern section of the trail, which slips from Edinburgh to follow the coast beyond Musselburgh all the way down to North Berwick, where it sweeps south to Dunbar.

The timeless architecture and enormous parks of Edinburgh start the walk on its way, departing cobbled streets for coastal trails and wooden boardwalks along sandy beaches. Spot wildfowl and waders in environments home to over 550 species of plant, where the abandoned ruin of Saltcoats Castle is slowly being consumed by vegetation. The route slips inland toward Dunbar through the John Muir Country Park, marking the end of a wonderfully scenic short walking holiday.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
JMWE1 From Edinburgh to Dunbar 4 nights, 3 days walking Moderate / Demanding £530
JMWE2 From Edinburgh to Dunbar 5 nights, 4 days walking Moderate £660

John Muir Way - East Section 4 nights, 3 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather
  • Holiday Highlights

Important information

This tour is available to book all year, however out of season from the end of October to March, there may be a small supplement for luggage moves, which will be moved by taxi rather than the usual luggage courier.


Travel to Edinburgh where your first night's accommodation will be booked

Day 1

Edinburgh to Cockenzie(L). 11.5 miles (18.5km)

Day 2

Cockenzie(L) to North Berwick. 15 miles (24km)

Day 3

North Berwick to Dunbar. 15 miles (24km)


Depart from Dunbar after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation in most cases; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard if practical. A very limited number of stops will require you to travel on foot up to two miles off the trail, however these instances will be clearly communicated to you if applicable.

Further transfers may also be required due to some accommodations having a two-night minimum booking policy, especially at weekends.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£75.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£55.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
Price on request
© Contours Walking Holidays John Muir Way - East Section map
Edinburgh to Dunbar
42 miles (67 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Enjoying ocean breezes along coastal tracks, drifting down to the beautiful sands of Aberlady Bay nature reserve.

Exploring the odd mix of castles along the trail: Saltcoats Castle is quiet and overgrown, while Dirleton Castle dominates its surroundings, its stout silhouette guarding beautiful garden grounds.

Spotting a variety of birds and other wildlife that make their home along the coastline.

What's included?

  • 4 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

Edinburgh is a capital city like no other, offering a vast amount to see and do. Walk between the stone townhouses in the World Heritage Site of Old Town and New Town; visit Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the remains of an extinct volcano; or take in the incredible city skyline from Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park: you won't yet have touched the countless further museums, galleries, theatres and landmarks that Edinburgh offers.

For a day at the beach, add a rest day at Dunbar. The birthplace of John Muir hosts a museum all about him on its high street and the ruin of Dunbar castle over its harbour, crouched on an outcropping of rock. The town's immediate beach is sheltered by the harbour; head a short distance to the west along the coastline and you'll come to the broad strand of Belhaven Bay.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
Price on request

Tour Facts

Total distance: 41.5 miles (66.5 km)
Duration: 4 nights, 3 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 15 miles (24 km)
Code: JMWE1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Edinburgh
End of holiday: Dunbar

Route Profile

John Muir Way - East Section Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air

The most convenient major city and international airports are Edinburgh, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick.

By Rail

There is a choice of rail stations at the start of the trail (Edinburgh). The nearest rail station to Edinburgh city centre is at Edinburgh Waverley. There is a rail station at the end of the trail (Dunbar).

By Bus

Various bus services run to Edinburgh and from Dunbar.

From London

Trains run from London Kings Cross/Euston stations to Edinburgh.

Return to Start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take a train from Dunbar to Edinburgh.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.