The classic route up the UK's highest mountain

Statistics

5 - 6

hrs

1,327

m

1,327

m

13

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

This is most popular route to the summit of Ben Nevis and it's a technically easy but physically challenging hike in good conditions.

It used to be known as the "Tourist Path" but had a name change in 2004 as it was felt, rightly, that the old name didn't quite convey how challenging the ascent is.

The route can be climbed in any month of the year, but this description applies to summer conditions.

If you try to climb Ben Nevis in winter, be equipped, skilled and prepared for snow, ice and challenging wether! The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, but it leads you onto the barren summit plateau, which can quickly become a brutal place to be if the weather turns.

The trail might seem obvious in good conditions, but downloading the relevant part of the FATMAP map and keeping an eye on your location as you climb is strongly advised.

The journey up the Mountain Track is popular so don't expect to have it to yourself, but the views from it are utterly spectacular.

The trip begins with the gentle climb out of Glen Nevis, and then follows a steepening ascent up to the gentle hillside which overlooks Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe - a stunning mountain lake.

The climb then continues up onto the scree-covered upper slopes, where the trail becomes much rockier and requires far more concentration.

The vistas improve as you get higher, but stay focused on the trail and keep on grinding! The scree slopes gently eases as it approaches the summit, and the trail leads past the (often corniced) top of Gardyloo Gully to reach the famous summit hut.

The hut is only for emergencies (so please don't stay in it) and provides some shelter in bad weather.

Hopefully you find yourself on the summit under a blue sky, and if you do, you're in for a treat! The view is absolutely magnificent, with the Lochaber mountains disappearing off into the distance, broken only by the region's many lochs (lakes) and the North Atlantic Ocean stretching off to the horizon.

If time allows, simply sit and take it all in before descending back the same way you came up.