Winter can be a beautiful time to spend in Fort William, so long as you’ve prepped for the cold and can navigate those sometimes-snowy roads. A few attractions, like the Jacobite Steam Train, are closed for the season, but others come into their full glory.
Once snow starts falling—typically late December into April—hit the slopes at the Nevis Range Mountain Resort. Not to worry, newbies. Lessons and beginner-friendly routes are available.
Even if you’re not a skier, you can take the 2,150-foot trip to the top of Aonach Mor on the mountain gondola. And no need for any snow hiking experience to take in the views and sip on a hot chocolate at Snowgoose Restaurant.
Travelers looking to save a little cash can score excellent wintertime deals on super-popular lodging like Inverlochy Castle Hotel.
The outdoors are just as epic—but far more toasty—at the annual Fort William Mountain Festival, which features international films about adventurers and the lands they explore in a cozy indoor location.
Although there’s still a 50-50 chance of rain from March through June, late spring gives visitors a good chance to beat the summer crowds while still experiencing the area’s beauty.
As the snow melts away, hit the road along the scenic Glen Etive route. This 12-mile road is only wide enough for a single car, but breathtaking views of surrounding mountains, rivers, and lochs are worth the tight turns.
Stuck in a spring downpour? Consider a whiskey tasting tour at the Ben Nevis Distillery on the north end of town.
Another indoor option for a soggy day: the West Highlands Museum, where you can learn the history of the whole Highlands region, including the Jacobite uprising of 1745.
Welcome to summer—hands-down the most popular time to visit Fort William. Temperatures warm, the summits are snow-free, and trails are easier to access. Just remember that mountains make their own weather, so pack for rain, whatever the forecast says.
One of the top reasons for visiting Fort William is the chance to hike Ben Nevis, the U.K.’s tallest mountain. And summer is the time to do it, as snow and bad weather are less likely to crash the party. But you’ll also be shoulder-to-shoulder with a ton of other hikers hoping to reach the same views.
The second-tallest waterfall in Scotland, Steall Falls is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. The short-but-steep trek only takes an hour or so to hike, though you’ll likely want to make an afternoon of it, to leave time for splashing around. Tip: Don’t forget bug spray—hot weather brings the midges out.
Yes, you should try to max out every moment of being outdoors in the summertime. But before you head out on your adventures, stop at the Lochaber Geopark Visitor Center to get the lowdown on the stunning landscape you’re about to experience.
Prefer traveling on two wheels? The 71-mile Great Glen Cycle Path is a beginner-friendly mountain bike route that starts in Fort William and ends in Inverness. Check in with a local Fort William cycle shop to ask about being picked up at the end of a one-way ride if you want to spare your quads the round trip.
Break out your fleece and pour yourself a cuppa—fall is a beautiful, if chillier, time of year in Fort William. Summer crowds fade, and you’re more likely to catch both sunrise and sunset as the days shorten. All the better for photo-ops with the backdrop of red, yellow, and orange leaves blazing.
All aboard! The Jacobite Steam Train, which chugs along 84 miles from the scenic Highlands to Loch Nevis. Rich autumn colors make the always-gorgeous ride even more magical.
If you get an early cold snap, warm up inside Treasures of the Earth in Corpach, where gems, crystals, and fossils sparkle alongside history lessons of the area’s gold rush and other geological wonders.
Autumn is all about tapping that spooky and historic vibe, so take a trip to the 13th-century Old Inverlochy Castle, one of the few Scotland castles that hasn’t been altered since its original build.