The 1883 Pony Track to the summit (also known as the Ben Path, the Mountain Track (official title) or the Tourist Route) remains the simplest and most popular route of ascent. It begins at Achintee on the east side of Glen Nevis about 2 km (1.5 miles) from Fort William town centre, at around 20 metres above sea level. Bridges from the Visitor Centre and the youth hostel now allow access from the west side of Glen Nevis. The path climbs steeply to the saddle by Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe (halfway lochan) at 570 m, then ascends the remaining 700 metres up the stony west flank of Ben Nevis in a series of large zig-zags. It is well-made and maintained throughout its length, and, thanks to the zig-zags, not unusually steep apart from in the initial stages.
The CMD Arete
A route popular with experienced hillwalkers starts at Torlundy, a few miles north-east of Fort William on the A82 road, and follows the path alongside the Allt a' Mhuilinn. It can also be reached from Glen Nevis by following the Mountain Track as far as Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe (halfway lochan), then descending slightly to the CIC Hut. The route then ascends Carn Mor Dearg and continues along the Carn Mor Dearg Arete ("CMD Arete") before climbing steeply to the summit of Ben Nevis. This route involves a total of 1,500 metres of ascent and requires modest scrambling ability and a head for heights. In common with other approaches on this side of the mountain, it has the advantage of giving an extensive view of the cliffs of the north face, which are hidden from the Mountain Track.
Southeast Ridge or Carn Dearg
It is also possible to climb Ben Nevis from the Nevis Gorge car park at the head of the road up Glen Nevis, either by the south-east ridge or via the summit of Carn Dearg (south-west). These routes do not require scrambling, but are shorter and much steeper, and tend to be used by experienced hill walkers.