For the novice mountain walker you should choose the tourist path starting from the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre:
Glen Nevis Visitor Centre
There are more difficult and challenging routes for Ben Nevis, but these should only be attempted if you are experienced or you’re with a professional guide. You should also descend via the same path as many people have been tempted into taking a steeper more direct descent down, only to find themselves in difficulty.
After a fairly gentle start you will cross a bridge over the River Nevis and start to climb steeply using the steps conveniently provided. After the initial steepness the path evens slightly to a more moderate incline. Here the route hugs the side of a lake and gives you the chance to catch your breath before the next push. The path is easily distinguishable here in all but very harsh conditions.
The path continues round the mountain and passes a small waterfall and freshwater pool. On a hot day, this is a great opportunity to wet a towel and cool yourself down. Onwards and upwards, you will shortly notice that you are rising above the hills around you. If you look up you will notice that the path zig zags above you. At the end of the zig zags you will think you are nearly at the summit – don’t be tempted to stop and ask someone coming down how much further you have to go, you won’t like the answer!
The path now turns to scree and is very difficult to distinguish from the surrounding terrain. It is common for this part of the mountain to be covered in snow making it even more difficult to stay on track. There are cairns to follow but good navigation is vital. If you are at all inexperienced, it is advisable to hire a mountain guide.
Eventually you will reach the summit. The top of ‘the ben’ is perhaps not the ‘mountain peak’ you imagine, it is actually a flat plateau large enough for 2 football pitches. At the highest point is a cairn. Be sure to ask someone to take your photo as this is the best proof that you made it! There are normally plenty of people around and cameras will be passed from person to person as everyone gets their picture.
The views on a clear day are simply stunning, so if you have time, pull out the camera and take a few snaps of the scenery on your route.
Book a Mountain Leader
If you’ve never climbed Ben Nevis before, or you think you’ll need guidance, then we can help to arrange a qualified UK Mountain Leader for you. A Mountain Leader will offer advice, keep you safe, assist with navigation and help you to succeed in climbing Ben Nevis whether it be for the national three peaks challenge or for any other recreational purpose. See our bookings page to make an enquiry.
Maps and Route Guides
For other maps and route guides see our equipment page.
Routes & GPS
To see example routes using Google Maps / Google Earth and also MapMyWalk – together with GPS information – click here.
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