logo Walking Britain
Home About Holidays FAQ Email MENU ☰

Ben Nevis from Glen Nevis

Highland Walk

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

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 392Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 392Digital Map1:25kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Ben Nevis
Click image to see photo description.

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 aretehard10.5 miles
Walk 1338 Ben Nevis Tourist Pathmod/hard8.7 miles
Walk 3066 Carn Mor Dearg (via Allt a' Mhuilinn trail)mod/hard8.7 miles
Walk 3303 Mamores Ridge - Stob Ban, Am Bodach and Sgurr an Iubhairhard9.0 miles
Walk 3095 Stob Ban (Mamores)mod/hard6.0 miles
Walk 2918 Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag - two of the "Lochaber giants"mod/hard9.0 miles
Walk 3106 Binnein Mor from Kinlochlevenhard10.2 miles
Walk 1039 Am Bodach and Stob Coire a' Chairnmod/hard9.5 miles
Walk 1094 Blackwater Reservoirmoderate11.5 miles
Walk 1496 WHW - Day 6 - Kinlocheven to Fort Williammoderate15.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking the Munros Vol 2 - Northern Highlands and the Cairngorms

Walking the Munros Vol 2 - Northern Highlands and the CairngormsGuidebook to walking the northern Munros, covering the northern Highlands, the Cairngorms and the Isle of Skye. 70 routes are described, including those up Ben Macdui, Braeriach and Cairn Gorm. Routes range from 7 to 46km, requiring a fair level of fitness. The second of two guidebooks to walking Scotland's Munros: peaks higher than 3000ft.
More information

Walking in Torridon

Walking in TorridonThis guidebook contains 52 day walks in Torridon, a remote and much-loved area of the Scottish Highlands. Based around Shieldaig and Slioch, the routes are split into 3 sections: easy walks, long and high level walks and mountain ascents over 2000ft including 9 Munros, and 5 outline suggestions for major ridge walks.
More information

Messaging & Social Media

Message Walking Britain and follow the latest news.

Facebook  Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.