The narrow glen shows a grim grandeur. The glen, approaching from the east on the main A82 road, is surrounded by wild and precipitous mountains. Further west at Invercoe, the landscape has a softer beauty before the main entrance to the glen. The main settlement is the nearby village of Glencoe located at the foot of the valley.
The name Glen Coe is often said to mean "Glen of Weeping", perhaps with some reference to the infamous Massacre of Glencoe which took place there in 1692. However, "Gleann Comhann" does not translate as "Glen of Weeping". In fact the Glen is named after the River Coe which runs through it, and bore this name long before the 1692 incident. The name of the river is believed to predate the Gaelic language and its meaning is not known. One possibility is that it was named after a tribe once living in the area; however this remains speculation. It is also possible that the name stems from an individual personal name, Comhan (gen. Chomhain).