On the rooftop of Great Britain: Ben Nevis

A Highland walk posted on 05/06/16 by Ren38. Update : 31/01/18

Here is a magnificent peak held in high regard by our British friends, Ben Nevis. This summit, though in itself not very high relatively speaking, requires a significant climb in altitude because it starts almost at sea level. During the ascent, the views are breathtaking.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 7h45[?]
Distance Distance : 16.09km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1318m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1318m
Highest point Highest point : 1335m
Lowest point Lowest point : 15m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Highland
Starting point Starting point : N 56.810305° / W 5.07694°
Download :
Ben Nevis The majestic cairns One of the many views you can see as you climb


(S/F) Start the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre near Fort William (Scotland) and follow the river (the river is on your right). Reach the wooden footbridge.

(1) Cross the bridge. After the bridge turn right and follow the river on your right on the other bank. Reach a trail.

(2) Turn left on this path that goes down the slope. Arriving at a fence.

(3) Follow a section within the fenced area and turn right.

(4) Follow a series of rather wide loops. Head around the mountain on the left (the Meall An t-Suidhe), and reach a ledge.

(5) Here you will see Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe on the left. Continue to a T-junction.

(6) Turn right, continue the climb to the 720 marker.

(7) Continue by climbing with wide loops up to the 1200 marker.

(8) Finish up by a steeper section following the beautiful, large cairns along the end of the route. Do not go to their left where there are ledges and there is a risk of falling. Finally arrive at Ben Nevis.

(9) Return by the same route to reach point (3).

(3) Make optional small detour to the right via the Ben Nevis Inn to reach the Visitor Centre.

(10) Retrace your steps.

(3) Head to the right along the path that leads to the car park of the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre (S/F).

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0
1 : km 0.2 - alt. km 0.2 - Bridge on the River Nevis
2 : km 0.57 - alt. km 0.57 - Crossroads of paths
3 : km 0.85 - alt. km 0.85 - Place to cross the fence
4 : km 1.23 - alt. km 1.23 - Fence
5 : km 3.5 - alt. km 3.5 - Ledge facing the lake
6 : km 4.03 - alt. km 4.03 - T-junction
7 : km 4.92 - alt. km 4.92 - Marker 720
8 : km 6.94 - alt. km 6.94 - Marker 1200
9 : km 7.92 - alt. km 7.92 - Ben Nevis
10 : km 15.11 - alt. km 15.11 - Ben Nevis Inn
D/A : km 16.09 - alt. km 16.09

Useful Information

Check the weather at the Visitor Centre (S/F) before heading out. Always bring warm windproof clothing because at the top the conditions can be very harsh (even at the end of May 2016 there was snow).

The time suggested by the Visitor Centre is 4 hours for the ascent and 3 hours for the descent. Do not expect to be able to do it in less than this.

Like most hikes in Scotland, there are very few signs or markings indicating the path.

For this hike, the path is well laid out and there is no risk of error. Do follow the cairns at the upper part of the path to avoid the risk of ending up on ledges.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Once you have made it back, a cold beer on the terrace of Ben Nevis Inn (10). You’ve earned it!

Other walks in the area

distance 13.04km Vertical gain +1351m Vertical drop -1266m duration 6h55 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Highland

This walk in the mountains north of Fort William visits the summits of Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag, both of which exceed 4,000 feet above sea level. The views on a good day are stunning especially of Ben Nevis. The route contains plenty of ascent and you should remember that suitable clothing is essential so you can cope with rapid changes in weather. There are also snow cornices to be considered.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.