The Lairig Ghru has long been recognized as a path from Deeside to Strathspey, in use for centuries for a variety of reasons. As the route is quite treacherous and difficult, it lent itself well to nefarious purposes and was used by cattle thieves in particular before the advent of the droving era. Placename evidence for this is suggested by Allt Preas nam Meirleach - the river of the Robbers' Copse - which the route follows between the Luibeg and the Dee.
The Lairig Ghru was one of the main routes through the Cairngorms that drovers took their cattle. Due to the path's elevation, however, drovers did not bring the calves through here, instead using the lower Lairig an Laoigh (Calves Pass) to the east. It would have been used by drovers trying to get to Braemar from Aviemore or Nethybridge. The Lairig Ghru is said to have been used for droving until about 1873.