We recently took a trip to the Scottish Highlands; in this blog post, we will review our trip up the Nevis Range gondola and share our experiences with you. We’ll take you on a journey through the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands and provide a detailed account of the gondola ride, including what to expect when you reach the top.
The Nevis Range gondola is an iconic landmark of the Scottish Highlands, offering visitors breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Britain’s only mountain gondola system is just a short drive from Fort William. The gondola takes visitors up to the summit of Aonach Mòr, which sits at an impressive 2,133 feet (650 meters) above sea level.
In this article, we’ll also give you some insight into the many outdoor activities available on the mountain, including skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking, as well as hiking and walking trails for those who prefer a more leisurely pace. Here’s our review of our trip on the Nevis Range gondola and more information on how you can visit.
A review of our trip on the Nevis Range gondola
Whilst visiting the Scottish Highlands during the February half term, we decided to visit the Nevis Range and ride up to the summit of Aonach Mòr on the gondola. With a 6-year-old in tow, this was so exciting for all of us!
Visiting in Winter meant that the area was not busy. We were one of a handful of families on the day. We chose a clear day, hoping to get fantastic views and were not disappointed. It was easy to book online; there was plenty of parking, and after layering up and grabbing a takeaway hot chocolate from the Pinemarten cafe, we boarded our gondola.
The gondola ride was smooth, and it took around 15 minutes to reach the summit. The views were incredible, and it was such an exciting experience. Once we reached the summit, we headed for the 40-minute trail to Sgurr Finnisg-aig, which was just enough for little legs, and we got fantastic photos of us with Ben Nevis behind. At the summit, there is the Snowgoose cafe with panoramic views and toilets. Here we enjoyed toasted sandwiches and soups.
We loved every minute of the experience and wouldn’t hesitate to visit again; it was an excellent way to enjoy the dramatic scenery of Scotland as a family. You can read on for FAQS and more information about the Nevis Range and gondola.
Frequently asked questions
- What is the Nevis Range gondola?
- What can I see at the summit? Can I see Ben Nevis?
- Is there parking to use the Nevis Range gondola?
- Is there a campervan park onsite?
- What activities can you take part in at the Nevis Range?
- Are there cafes at the base and summit of the Nevis Range?
- Are there toilets at the Nevis Range?
- Is it safe to visit with kids?
- Is it suitable for people with disabilities?
- What do I need to wear when visiting the Nevis Range?
- Can I take my dog to the Nevis Range?
What is the Nevis Range gondola?
The Doppelmayr gondola system at Nevis Range transports visitors up the mountain from 100m to 650m, with a round trip taking approximately 15 minutes. The system consists of 80 closed cabins with six seats each, running on a continuous 4.6km steel cable that weighs 40 tonnes. It is supported by 18 pylons, 2 masts, and 2 drive station structures, each anchored in 200 tonnes of concrete, spanning a distance of 2.3km.
The Nevis Range mountain gondola is a unique attraction in Britain. It is located on the north face of Aonach Mòr, the 8th highest mountain in the country. Originally built to transport skiers to the slopes. Since then it has become a popular visitor attraction, offering stunning views and clear mountain air. In addition to providing access to skiing and snowboarding in the winter months, the mountain gondola is also used by climbers and hill walkers to access the challenging routes on Aonach Mòr. During the summer, mountain bikers can use the gondola to access exciting downhill tracks. Paragliders can use it to reach the clouds.
Additionally, a climber’s gondola is available from 8:00 am to 8:15 am every morning during winter, weather permitting. This allows climbers to use the quad chair, if operational, to reach 900m. The gondola rides are subject to weather and can close without notice. Please check the mountain report. Tickets for the Mountain Gondola can be purchased both online and on-site at Nevis Range.
What can I see at the summit? Can I see Ben Nevis?
Regardless of the season, the gondola ride offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Scottish Highlands, including the Great Glen, Ben Nevis, and surrounding areas. On clear days, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Inner Hebrides in the distance.
Is there parking to use the Nevis Range gondola?
Yes, a large car park is available for visitors to use when visiting the Nevis Range gondola. The car park is next to the gondola station, making it very convenient for visitors to park their cars and hop on. Nevis Range operates the car park, and there is a fee for parking, which can be paid at the ticket office or one of the pay and display machines in the car park. During the peak tourist season, the car park can get quite busy.
- Day parking is £5.00 per parking space available for the day.
- Overnight parking is £15.00 per parking space available overnight with no electric hook-up or facilities.
Is there a campervan park onsite?
Yes, the campsite offers 15 pitches, all featuring a 16-amp electric hook-up set on hardstanding gravel. Measuring 6m x 5m, these pitches are exclusively designed for campervans and motorhomes and are conveniently located just a few minutes from the gondola base station.
Dogs are welcome on the premises but must always be kept on a lead. Campfires are not permitted on the site. Visitors should note that the facilities block is a short distance from the pitches at the gondola base station. The facilities include showers, toilets, and a dishwashing area with hot water. Find further information here.
What activities can you take part in at the Nevis Range?
The Nevis Range offers a wide range of activities throughout the year. Here are some activities that visitors can enjoy at the Nevis Range:
Mountain biking at the Nevis Range
The Nevis Range is home to some of the best mountain bike trails in the UK. Visitors can participate in guided sessions, follow trails, and attend a bike school led by experienced instructors. You can even try a gondola uplift trail. This is the only place in the UK where you can try this. There are three, ranging from a family-friendly course to the famous world cup track. So even if you are just getting started with mountain biking, there are a variety of routes suitable for all skill levels. Find more information here.
Hiking the Nevis Range
The area has numerous hiking trails, ranging from gentle strolls to challenging mountain climbs. There is a selection of walks to participate in at the Nevis Range; here are the ones listed on the Nevis Range website.
Lower forest walks
Explore over 25 miles of forest trails on foot at Leanachan Forest, located on the lower slopes of Aonach Mor. The stunning backdrop of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, will accompany you. Multiple viewpoints offer breathtaking scenery along the forest trails, including Fort William and the surrounding area, the hills of Ardgour and Moidart, and the impressive overshadowing mass of Ben Nevis. To begin your forest experience, head to the Nevis Range base station, which offers ample parking space.
Walks to viewpoints
Embark on a journey along one of the established mountain trails, leading to panoramic viewpoints that offer spectacular views extending as far as the Inner Hebrides on a clear day. The mountain trails are signposted and begin at the gondola top station. These walks are relatively easy and suitable for visitors with varying abilities, allowing everyone to appreciate and enjoy the true magnificence and ruggedness of the Scottish Highlands.
The trail to Sgurr Finnisg-aig is the briefer of the two, taking around 40 minutes for a round trip. This viewpoint provides an excellent vantage point that overlooks the Great Glen and Hills of Knoydart. Additionally, from this spot, you can gaze back at the awe-inspiring and towering mass of Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis.
The Meall Beag trail is relatively longer, requiring around 1 hour for a round trip. This path takes visitors in the opposite direction from Sgurr Finnisg-aig. Upon reaching the Meall Beag viewpoint, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views across Loch Linnhe, Loch Eil, and the hills of Ardgour and Moidart. These vistas are simply stunning and a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
Snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding at the Nevis Range
The Nevis Range offers a variety of snow sports, including skiing and snowboarding. With a range of slopes suitable for all levels, from beginner to expert, there’s something for everyone. The resort has modern facilities and equipment for rental, including skis, snowboards, and boots. Additionally, experienced instructors can provide lessons for those new to the sport or who want to improve their skills. Winter Season typically runs from Late January – April; however, this is weather dependent.
You must buy snow sport passes separately from your gondola ticket to participate. You can find more information and prices here.
Are there cafes at the base and summit of the Nevis Range?
Yes, there are cafes at the base and summit of the Nevis Range. At the base station, there is the Pinemarten Cafe, which offers a range of hot and cold food and drinks, including sandwiches, soups, burgers, and coffee. At the top station is the Snowgoose cafe which provides visitors with stunning panoramic views of the mountains while they enjoy their meals. The Snowgoose offers a variety of dishes, including soups, sandwiches, baked potatoes, and a selection of desserts. Both cafes are open during the ski season, but opening times may vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions.
Are there toilets at the Nevis Range?
Yes, there are toilet facilities available at the Nevis Range. There are toilets at the base station and the top station. The toilets are well-maintained and cleaned regularly to ensure they are in good condition for visitors to use. Additionally, the toilets are accessible to those with disabilities.
Is it safe to visit with kids?
Yes, the Nevis Range is generally considered safe for children. The resort offers a range of activities suitable for kids, including skiing and snowboarding lessons, sledging, and snow play areas. The ski and snowboarding lessons are taught by experienced instructors who can cater to the needs of different age groups and skill levels. Additionally, the resort takes safety seriously and has measures to ensure all visitors’ safety, including well-maintained slopes, snow patrol teams, and safety guidelines for all activities. However, it is essential to note that some activities may have age or height restrictions for safety reasons. Parents should also ensure their children are appropriately dressed and equipped for cold weather.
Is it suitable for people with disabilities?
The Nevis Range is committed to providing access and enjoyment for visitors with disabilities. The base station, gondola cabins, and the Snowgoose restaurant at the summit are all accessible to wheelchair users. There are also accessible toilets available at various locations throughout the resort.
The resort offers accessible parking spaces close to the base station, and staff can assist with boarding and disembarking from the gondola cabins. In addition, the gondola system has specific cabins available for those with mobility issues, which have additional space and a slightly different design to accommodate wheelchairs.
For skiing, the resort has adaptive equipment for those with physical disabilities and trained instructors who can provide lessons tailored to individual needs.
While some limitations may exist here for people with disabilities, the Nevis Range strives to ensure everyone can enjoy the facilities and activities. It is recommended that visitors with disabilities contact the resort in advance to discuss their specific needs and requirements.
What do I need to wear when visiting the Nevis Range?
What to wear at the Nevis Range will depend on the time of year and the activities you plan to do. If you’re visiting during the winter months, when skiing and snowboarding are the main activities, you must wear warm and waterproof clothing. This includes a good quality waterproof jacket and pants, warm layers such as a fleece or insulated jacket, gloves, and a hat. Ski boots, skis or a snowboard, and goggles are also necessary for those participating in winter sports.
When hiking and mountain biking are popular in the spring and summer, you must wear comfortable and breathable clothing. This includes hiking boots or sturdy trainers, a lightweight waterproof jacket, and breathable layers such as a t-shirt or light fleece. It’s also a good idea to bring a backpack with extra layers, snacks, and water.
No matter the time of year, it’s essential to be prepared for changing weather conditions. The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to check the forecast before you go and bring extra layers or rain gear as needed. Sunscreen and sunglasses are also essential to protect against UV rays, which can be intense at higher altitudes.
Dressing in layers is a good rule of thumb when visiting the Nevis Range. It allows you to easily adjust your clothing depending on the weather and activity level.
Always check the weather before embarking. You can check the mountain report here.
Can I take my dog to the Nevis Range?
At the Nevis Range, dogs are welcome to ride the gondola free of charge! You can take your furry friend to the top station and explore one of the stunning mountain viewpoint trails.
Once you reach the top station, keeping your dog on a lead is essential, as deer and sheep are on the mountain at certain times of the year. The Pinemarten Café and the Snowgoose Restaurant allow dogs inside, but they kindly ask that you keep them on a lead.
In conclusion, our trip on the Nevis Range gondola was an unforgettable experience. From the panoramic views of the Scottish Highlands to the exhilarating snow sports on offer, the resort truly has something for everyone. We were impressed with the facilities and amenities available, from the cafes and restaurants to the well-maintained toilets and disabled access. The staff were friendly and helpful, and we appreciated the safety measures in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.
Whether you’re a seasoned skier, an adventurous mountain biker, or simply looking to take in the breathtaking views, the Nevis Range gondola is a must-visit destination. We highly recommend it and can’t wait to return for another unforgettable trip up the mountain.