Turn your Munro-bagging dreams into reality and find out everything you need to know before you lace up your walking boots. Remember, discovering the sheer magic of Scotland's most famous mountain is all the more fun when you're completely prepared for anything.
Plan your Ben Nevis adventure
Essential tips for your climb
How long does it take to climb Ben Nevis?
It really depends on your level of fitness, the weather conditions and how many breaks you take to admire the views. It will usually take between 7 - 9 hours to complete following the Mountain Track, with an approximate ascent of 3.5 - 4.5 hours to the summit.
How tough is it to climb?
It's a long and arduous climb and you might have stiff legs the following day, but the feeling of accomplishment when you scale the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom is pretty tough to beat.
How high is it?
A lofty 1,345 m. To put it into perspective, the London Eye stands at 135 m and Big Ben at 96 m high.
Do I need a map and a compass?
Although the Mountain Track is reasonably easy to follow on a clear day, it's essential to have both a map and a compass and know how to use them especially if there is poor visibility during the climb.
Can I camp at Ben Nevis?
Camping on the mountainside is not advisable. The peak is exposed and busy with walkers during the summer, and pitching a tent would be difficult due to the uneven terrain.
The Glen Nevis Campsite is handily located near the foot of the mountain. It's just a short walk from the campsite to the start of the Mountain Track.
When is the best time of year to climb?
Summer is always the best time of year to tackle the Ben, with sunshine and clear views on the way to the top. You are likely to see snow at all times of the year, but climbing Ben Nevis in the winter is only for experienced mountaineers. If you are planning a winter ascent, check out Mountaineering Scotland's #ThinkWINTER guidance and make sure you have the appropriate skills and equipment before you go.
What will the weather be like?
The weather on Ben Nevis is extremely changeable, with glorious sunshine one moment then fog and gale force winds the next. Even if you set out on the sunniest of days, the temperatures at the summit can be at sub-zero, so it’s important to take appropriate all-weather gear. Always check the mountain weather page before you go, and if you’re in any doubt, always turn back.
Watch the live conditions and weather from Ben Nevis with the HD webcam, which is situated at Tomacharich, Fort William.
What should I bring?
Warm and waterproof clothing is essential, and it’s wise to avoid cotton as it absorbs moisture. A pair of good walking boots are also an absolute must. Don’t forget to pack a few useful hiking tools, such as a map, compass, torch, whistle, and food and water.
Always remember to bring all of your litter back down the mountain with you. There are no bins on Ben Nevis so it’s important to take care of the landscape.
Find out more about the Nevis Landscape Partnership, an organisation that works to preserve the Mountain Track for future generations.
How do I climb Ben Nevis safely?
- The difficulty of this hike is often under-estimated so always be prepared and take the walk at your own pace. If you are not confident in your own sense of direction, there are local guided walking tours available. Remember this is the UK's highest mountain!
- Make sure someone knows where you're headed and ensure that you have plenty of time to get back well before nightfall.
- Any ascent in snow requires a high degree of fitness, winter equipment and the skills to use them and mountaineering and navigation experience. Bear in mind snow can cover parts of the 'tourist' path into the summer months. If you're at all unsure, local mountain guides can advise and guide you to the summit and back.
- Make sure you fill in a mountain safety route card and leave it with someone you trust.
For more information on keeping safe on Ben Nevis, see these tips from Mountaineering Scotland and Walk Highlands.
Is Ben Nevis suitable for children to climb?
Absolutely, as long as they are prepared for all weather conditions and keen for a challenge. The Carn Mor Dearg Arete route is generally not advised for children.
Can I bring my dog?
Yes, if your dog enjoys long walks. It's best to keep dogs on the lead especially when the paths are busy with walkers. Also, some parts of the route will comprise uneven terrain, scree and loose stones which can be tricky for some dogs.
Can I do a guided walk of Ben Nevis?
Yes! If you're not feeling too confident or you want to learn more about this gigantic Munro, there are several guided walking tours which will lead you up and down the mountain. Take advantage of the guides' local knowledge, walking experience, and learn more about the viewpoints and facts about the mountain.
Go to Visit Fort William to see all the guided walks available.
Where can I stock up on supplies?
You can purchase snacks, find useful information and maps, and use the toilets at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre before you set off. Fort William also has several outdoor shops in the town centre for any essentials you might need.
How do I get there?
The town of Fort William is situated at the foot of Ben Nevis. By car it takes approximately 2 -3 hours from Glasgow and 3 - 4 hours from Edinburgh depending on traffic. You can also catch a direct train to Fort William from Glasgow or the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston. There is also a CityLink Bus service from Glasgow.
Nevis Range Mountain Resort