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Highland Walk
Ben Nevis from the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre

County/Area - Highland - Fort William Lochaber

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 9.7 miles / 15.8 km    Ascent - 4400 feet / 1333 metres

Time - 9 hours 20 minutes    Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference NN123730
Lat 56.810521 // Long -5.076332
Postcode PH33 6SX (approx. location only)
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Ben Nevis from the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre

This walk to the summit of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, starts from Glen Nevis and follows the tourist path to the summit. The route is a long and relentless climb. The path is good but rocky underfoot so do wear comfortable and durable footwear. Ben Nevis is also subject to rapidly changing weather, so an accurate local forecast is essential. It is worth noting that to avoid snow on the summit the route should not be attempted until the middle of May unless you have appropriate experience and equipment.

The start is the large car park at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre (grid ref. NN123730). Daily weather forecasts are generally available in the Visitor Centre. Exit the car park at the southern end of the parking area by the toilets and cross the bridge over the River Nevis. Once across the river, turn right and follow the path beside the river for a short way and then turn left on a clear path. You soon enter open country and a path junction (grid ref. NN126728). Go ahead and bear right onto the upper path which climbs steadily up the side of the valley.

After a kilometre you pass a small plantation on your right and the path coming up from Glen Nevis Youth Hostel (grid ref. NN133720). Continue ahead with the path making two zigzags to gain height. The path gets steeper as you climb above Red Burn (down to your right). Another zigzag leads you higher to pass Lochan an t-Suidhe on your left with the bulk of Ben Nevis rising to your right. Reaching a path junction (grid ref. NN147724) turn right and continue uphill soon crossing Red Burn, which marks the half-way point of the ascent.

The route then follows a series of eight zigzags across the western flank of Ben Nevis. Reaching 1200 metres, the path becomes straight and heads for the summit. A final steeper section leads to the summit ridge. In poor visibility, care is needed, and you should follow the line of cairns to the summit. Do not stray too far left as there are the steep crags of Ben Nevis's north face. There is danger on your right too with the steep drops into Five Finger Gully.

After giving yourself a pat on the back and enjoying the view, retrace your steps down the path used for the ascent. Do be careful in descent as you may be tired, and accidents are more likely to happen.

Alternative parking is available in the small car park at Achintree next to the Ben Nevis Inn (grid ref NN125729). If starting from here, head south to gate and adjacent notice board. Continue along the oath and bear left at the first fork to follow the tourist path.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2105 Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg arete - hard - 10.5 miles/17.1 km

Walk 1338 Ben Nevis from Glen Nevis Youth Hostel - mod/hard - 8.7 miles/14.1 km

Walk 3066 Carn Mor Dearg (via Allt a' Mhuilinn trail) - mod/hard - 8.7 miles/14.1 km

Walk 3303 Mamores Ridge - Stob Ban, Am Bodach and Sgurr an Iubhair - hard - 9.0 miles/14.6 km

Walk 3095 Stob Ban (Mamores) from Glen Nevis - mod/hard - 6.0 miles/9.8 km

Walk 2918 Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag - two of the "Lochaber giants" - mod/hard - 9.0 miles/14.6 km

Walk 3106 Binnein Mor from Kinlochleven - hard - 10.2 miles/16.6 km

Walk 1039 Am Bodach and Stob Coire a' Chairn from Kinlochleven - mod/hard - 9.5 miles/15.4 km

Walk 1094 Blackwater Reservoir from Kinlochleven - moderate - 11.5 miles/18.7 km

Walk 1496 WHW - Day 6 - Kinlocheven to Fort William - moderate - 15.0 miles/24.4 km

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