On the Ben Nevis Mountain Track

Ben Nevis via the Mountain Track

Hillwalking route up 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 !

Route outline


Ben Nevis

Ascent 1340m (4390ft)
Distance 16km (10m)
Time 6:15hr
Start/finish Ben Nevis Visitor Centre
Grid Ref : NN123730
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ok fab

The easiest route up Ben Nevis follows the Mountain Track from Glen Nevis. The track is well constructed and takes a fairly gentle climb twisting a route to the summit.

The route can get busy, particularly in summer and holiday periods. But the weather on Ben Nevis can change rapidly, so best to be kittted out appropriately and be prepared to navigate when mist is down.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Glen Nevis

On the Mountain Track below Red Burn

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

Take the turning into Glen Nevis and head up here for around a mile or so to Glen Nevis Visitor Centre and car-park .

If busy and parking is a problem, there is the Braveheart car-park on the opposite side of the road.

There are alternative places to start, either from the the Ben Nevis Inn at Achintee or by the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel a further mile or so up Glen Nevis.

2. Ben Nevis via the 'Mountain Track'

Approaching Ben Nevis's summit

From the car-park, follow the banks of the River Nevis north to a bridge. Cross this and follow a path around some sheep-sheilings up to Achinetee and the Ben Nevis Inn .

On a well constructed path, aim uphill south-eastwards. The path crosses a wall via a stile, then meets up with the path coming up from the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel .

The path gets steeper as is zig-zags through some woodland and crosses a couple of aluminium bridges. The path then turns north-east into a coire, does another zig-zag and climbs above the 'Halfway Lochan'.

Coming to a junction in the path , turn right and reach 'Red Burn' .

The path now becomes more bouldery and less constructed. But it's very obvious and climbs uphill in a series of big turns. Higher up, the ground begins to level out and some large cairns appear - these have been built to aid navigation and keep people away from the huge drops on your left.

Follow the cairns to the summit , careful to keep away from the top of Gardyloo Gully. The summit has the remains of the Observatory, a shelter and a trig point and can be a very busy place !

3. Return to Glen Nevis

Busy day on Ben Nevis's summit

Return by the same route. In mist, careful compass work is needed to avoid Gardyloo Gully - from the summit trig point walk on a bearing of for 231o for 150m, then aim 282o.

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