Aonach Beag from Steall

The 'Aonachs' from Steall hiking route

Hillwalking route up Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor from Glen Nevis

Not as direct as from the approach from Nevis Range, this route up Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor from Glen Nevis is more rewarding as it passes through Nevis Gorge and the Falls of Steall.

Route outline


Aonach Beag, 

Aonach Mor

Ascent 1650m (5410ft)
Distance 15km (9m)
Time 6:00hr
Start/finish Upper Glen Nevis car-park
Grid Ref : NN168691
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Starting and finishing from the end of the public road in Glen Nevis, this route follows a winding route above Nevis Gorge and passes the impressive Falls of Steall, to head up Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor on fairly pathless terrain. Although less direct than the approach from the Nevis Range, the scenery is more dramatic and much less of a trudge !

In winter Aonach Beag's summit cairn sits rather close to a cornice above huge cliffs on its east face. In misty conditions careful navigation will be needed on Aonach Mor's huge flat summit plateau.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Glen Nevis

Near Steall looking up to Stob Coire Bhealaich

In Fort William, just north of the Lochaber Leisure Centre, there is a small roundabout.

Take the turning into Glen Nevis and head up this road. Passing the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel the road becomes twisty and beyond the Lower Falls, the road becomes single track. There is a large car-park at the end of the road.

2. Aonach Beag

Above Stob Coire Bhealaich heading to Aonach Beag

Leaving the car-park, follow the well constructed path through woodland above Nevis Gorge. Some care is needed to negotiate a few sections, particularly when wet. Out of the woodland, the impressive Falls of Steall come into view - some fun can be had on the wire-bridge that crosses the Water of Nevis just before the Falls.

Keeping to a path on the north bank of the Water of Nevis, walk to the bridge by the ruins of Steall .

Infront of you Aonach Beag's southern minor peaks of Sgurr a'Bhuic and Stob Coire Bhealaich are in view. At the bridge leave the path behind and strike north-east directly uphill aiming for these peaks.

At around the 800m contour a decision is needed whether or not to detour to Sgurr a'Bhuic or to bypass. Following the crest beyond Sgurr a'Bhuic leads naturally onto Stob Coire Bhealaich from where views over to the Grey Corries are impressive. A route from the Grey Corries joins the Aonachs at this point.

A change of direction westwards next, the crest turns and climbs. A faint path follows the crest and meets up with a route that would bypass these minor peaks at a dip in the crest . A final slog up 150m or so on grassy hillsides reaches the flat summit of Aonach Beag and its small cairn.

3. Aonach Mor

Cornice on Aonach Beag

Aiming north-west from Aonach Beag's summit, trace a faint path downhill. The path heads into loose gravel and twists and turns as it drops. Nearing the bealach between Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor, the route becomes quite rough as it tries to avoid rocks. The bealach is reached and terrain becomes much easier underfoot.

The route turns northwards and begins to rise. A faint path can be traced up the gently climbing slopes and after around 1km the large untidy pile of stones that make up the cairn on Aonach Mor's summit is reached.

4. Return to Glen Nevis

Returning into Glen Nevis

The easiest return is to re-trace steps back the same way over Aonach Beag.

An alternative route heads down to the bealach between Aonach Mor and Carn Mor Dearg (see Ben Nevis and Lochaber 4000s for details), then follows the Allt Coire Giubhsachan back to the bridge by the ruins at Steall.

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