The Aonachs from the west

The 'Aonachs' from Nevis Range hiking route

Hillwalking route up Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag

Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag are affectionately known as the 'Aonachs' and a straightforward and direct route these high Munro peaks is from the Nevis Range below Aonach Mor's northern grassy flank.

Route outline


Aonach Beag, 

Aonach Mor

Ascent 1450m (4750ft)
Distance 15km (9m)
Time 6:00hr
Start/finish Nevis Range
Grid Ref : NN172774
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Between the Snowgoose and bottom station, the Nevis Range is famed for its downhill mountain-biking. Above the Snowgoose, skiing is the main activity in winter. Provided neither of these are in full swing, the route from the Nevis Range up the 'Aonachs' is the most direct and quickest.

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

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to the Nevis Range

Snow fence-line on the way up Aonach Mor

Snow fence-line on the way up Aonach Mor

A few of miles north of Fort William on the A82, there is a junction with a road heading south and a sign pointing the way to the Nevis Range Centre. Around a mile up this, the road comes to an end where there is a large car-park by the Nevis Range centre with its gondola and café.

2. Aonach Mor

On the summit of Aonach Mor

On the summit of Aonach Mor

Start from the Nevis Range car-park in front of the Pine Martin cafe. Looking to the right to the top corner of the car-park, begin walking on a track into forestry. The track turns south and begins to climb. Keeping as much as possible away from mountain-biking trails, keep aiming uphill until you reach another track travelling off left at a gentler gradient (remains of the old tramway). Follow this track until under the line of the gondola is reached, then keeping more-or-less under the gondola aim uphill, trying as much as possible to avoid the mountain-biking trails (there are traces of path close to the trails).

Reach the top of the gondola and Snowgoose Restaurant . Head around the Snowgoose, then strike south uphill on a very faint trod to the bottom of the Goose T-Bar. Follow the line of the Goose T-Bar, which reaches the bottom of the Summit Button tow, then follow this until you can see the mast of the top station.

Leave the ski-runs and aim south-east onto Aonach Mor's summit plateau, the summit is around 1km further. In mist careful navigation will be needed, being careful to avoid cornices built up above Aonach Mor's cliffs on its east faces. A large untidy pile of stones make up the cairn on Aonach Mor's summit.

3. Aonach Beag

Cornice on Aonach Beag

Cornice on Aonach Beag

Leave Aonach Mor's cairn and aim south on a wide grass covered expanse. An erroded path can be traced making a route down to the bealach between Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag.

From the bealach, the path winds around some rocks and up loose gravel then makes for a direct line to Aonach Mor's summit with its small cairn. In winter conditions it is worth noting that a large cornice builds up above the cliffs on the eastern side of this mountain, which the cairn sits rather close to !

4. Return to Nevis Range

Heading back down Aonach Mor, looking back along Loch Eil

Heading back down Aonach Mor, looking back along Loch Eil

There are various choices of return.

  • It is possible to descend from the bealach westwards down a very steep and rough path to the col between Aonach Mor and Carn Mor Dearg, then follow the Allt Daim back northwards, though this is heather-clad and quite tough.
  • From Aonach Mor, more experienced hillwalkers can scramble down the loose ground east of Aonach Mor's summit and follow the circular crest over Stob an Chul-Choire to Sgurr Finniosgaig.
  • Or simply return the same way. This is the easiest route and if you prefer, it is possible to take the gondola from the Snowgoose back down to the Nevis Range centre for a donation to Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team !

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Ben Nevis and CMD arete hiking route

Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis are linked via the narrow and curved Carn Mor Dearg arete. This magnificent route not only gives a awesome view of Ben Nevis's North Face but also makes for a fine introduction to rock-scrambling in Scotland.

Peaks : 2 Munros

Ascent : 1520m (4990ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 6:30hr

The 'Aonachs' from Steall hiking route

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.

Peaks : 2 Munros

Ascent : 1650m (5410ft)
Distance : 15km (9m)
Time : 6hr

Ben Nevis via the Mountain Track

The Mountain Track is the most popular hillwalking route up Ben Nevis. Although it's a gentle climb up a wide zig-zagging path to the summit, never underestimate weather conditions !

Peaks : 1 Munro

Ascent : 1340m (4400ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 6:15hr

Roughburn Munro Circuit

Above Glen Spean and west of the Creag Meagaidh massif, the two Munros of Beinn Teallach and Beinn a'Chaorainn combine to make a delightful hillwalking circuit. Probably best hiked in winter conditions to view the massive cornice that forms above Beinn a'Chaorainn's eastern corries.

Peaks : 2 Munros

Ascent : 1215m (3990ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 6hr


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