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All the Walking Routes up Snowdon

By Dave Roberts   

on April 19, 2018    4.89/5 (9)

All the Walking Routes up Snowdon

Further Details

Location Map

Recommended Maps

Weather Forecast: 

Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

Snowdon Summit Weather Forecast

Check out our Best Mountain Weather Forecast

Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa Guidebooks:

Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa Facts: 

  • Snowdon is the highest mountain in Snowdonia and Wales
  • Snowdon’s distinctive cymoedd (corries) were formed by glaciers during the last ice age.
  • There’s the annual Snowdon Race – Râs Yr Wyddfa to the summit every July.
  • Snowdon’s summit has a visitor centre – Hafod Eryri –  but it isn’t a hotel.
  • There were buildings on the summit from the early 19th century, ramshackle wooden huts that were ill designed to survive the summit conditions.
  • The Snowon summit hotel, described as a carbuncle by HRH Prince Charles was surprisingly designed by Clough Wiliams-Ellis  the architect of the most beautiful village of Portmeirion.
  • It was built in the 1930s and replaced in the late 2000s by the new Hafod Eryri building.
  • There’s a railway to the summit, but you can’t just buy a ticket on the summit if you don’t fancy walking down.

Where is Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa?

Snowdon is found in Snowdonia, North Wales.

How High is Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa in metres / feet? 1085 metres or 3560 feet

How long will it take to walk up Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa ?

We’ve walked up and down in well under 3 hours, but that’s at peak fitness. You need to allow around 3 hours for the ascent and the descent – unless you’re walking at quite a lick.

How Far is it to the top of Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa? 

The shortest walk is the PYG track at 5km (3 miles), while the longest path is the Llanberis path at 7km

How hard is it to climb Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa 

Depending on the path, you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to complete the walk. Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd require you to have scrambling and hill walking experience, as well as a head for heights.

What’s the best walking route up Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa?

The Snowdon Horseshoe is the best route, but we’ve also got a soft spot for Snowdon South Ridge.

Which is the easiest walking route up Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa ?

Generally accepted to be the Llanberis Path , though note that’s easiest and not easy. It can be one of the routes to avoid in the winter owing to a treacherous stretch known as the Killer Convex.

Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa Weather Forecast:

Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

Snowdon Summit Weather Forecast

All the Walking Routes up Snowdon

Yr Wyddfa* , or Snowdon, (it’s never Mount or Mt Snowdon ) is one of the most popular mountains in the United Kingdom, let alone Snowdonia. It’s sometimes climbed as one of the National 3 Peak Challenge, the Welsh 3 Peaks or during the 14/15 Peaks. With the coming season people will be flocking to ascend Snowdon which is the highest mountain in Wales. But which path should they choose to climb? Here’s our quick rundown of the more popular walking routes up Snowdon – as featured on Walk up Snowdon – the only online guidebook to Snowdon. There, you’ll find all the popular walking routes up Snowdon as well as some less well known ones to the summit. NOTE – Times and distances are for the ASCENT only! You’ll need to choose a descent route and factor in an extra 3 hours or so.

How Long will it take to Climb Snowdon? see the FAQ above.

What Should I Wear to Climb Snowdon? Not pants, that’s for certain. By that, we don’t mean going commando – but wearing more than just your pants like one guy did recently. You’ll need decent waterproofs, boots, clothing and a pack as well as a map and compass and how to use them. See our Summer Hill Walking Kit List for more information.

What’s the Easiest Route up Snowdon? see the FAQ above.

What’s the best route up Snowdon in Winter? You’ll need to be fully kitted up with your winter kit – check our kitlist – as well as being up to speed on your winter skills. You’ll still see many who are not – and it’s testament to the power of human stupidity that there aren’t even more fatalities on this mountain every year. The least technical route up in winter would probably be the Miner’s Track, but the final section can be corniced over and tricky (fun!) to top out. The Snowdon Ranger is also reasonably straightforward. The Rhyd Ddu Path has the complication of the steep sided Bwlch Main to traverse, making it tricky in winter. The final section of the Watkin is likewise rather challenging in snow, with a small slip having serious consequences.

What pubs are good for Snowdon – We’ve put a summary of them all here – All the best Pubs for Snowdon.

Recommended Snowdon Maps:  OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy ValleySnowdonia BMC (British Mountain Map) Snowdonia North XT25Landranger 115 Snowdon & Caernarfon

*Yr Wyddfa, or Snowdon, is the tallest peak in Wales at 1085m , though you often hear quoted “England and Wales”, however England has a perfectly fine highest point, Scafell Pike.  Neither is it preceded by ‘Mount’ or ‘Mt’ as that would just be silly considering that the ‘don’ part of the name already refers to it being a mountain (Mount Snow Mount?) Anyone professing to knowing about the mountain and writing a guide to the routes online and calling it ‘mount’ clearly don’t know their arete from their Eilio…

All The Walking Routes up Snowdon

The Llanberis Path

Height Gained 945m, Distance 7km, Time 3 hrs.

Main Difficulties Avoiding other walkers and tourists.

The Llanberis Path Walk up Snowdon
The Llanberis Path

The Llanberis Path is the most popular and easiest walking route to the summit of Wales’ highest mountain. In normal weather, it poses no problems for the fit walker, with even the navigation being reasonably easy. On a fine day, you’ll be able to follow the hordes of other people who have also decided to follow the Llanberis Path – aka the Motorway. As mentioned above, it’s a different proposition in winter conditions! There are plenty of easier walks from Llanberis if the weather is too foul to walk it safely.

Pyg Track

Height Gained 705m, Distance 5km, Time 2 hrs 15 min.

Main Difficulties – The Zig Zags are an accident blackspot when iced and the path can be difficult to follow in places between the Pyg and Miner’s Path junction and the zig zags.

Pyg Track Walk up Snowdon
Pyg Track

The Pyg Track from Pen y Pass is both the shortest walking route up Snowdon, and the one that involves the least amount of ascent. Despite this, it’s not the easiest path up as it can be steep and rocky in places but the paths are generally very good all the way and reasonably straightforward to follow.  It is 5.5km in length and involves around 800m of ascent. If you’re reasonably fit, you should make it up in three hours. Remember to allow time for breaks and stopping to take in the sights, of which there are plenty. Often chosen as a National 3 Peaks route as it’s the shortest route.

Miner’s Track

Height Gained 765m, Distance 6km, Time 1 hrs 50 min.

Main Difficulties – as for PYG

The Miner’s Track from Pen y Pass is an easier walking route that starts in Pen y Pass, but stays low by following a wide track as far as Glaslyn. It then pulls up some rocky steps to join the PYG to the summit.

Miner's Track Walk up Snowdon
Miner’s Track

Crib Goch

Height Gained 760m Distance 5km, Time 3 hours.    Grade 1 Scramble

Crib Goch is an exposed grade one scramble that should only be attempted if you’re confident in your abilities. Other than that, Crib Goch is the iconic Snowdonia route – the must do route. Descend via Lliwedd in order to complete the famous Snowdon Horseshoe.

Crib Goch Walk up Snowdon
Crib Goch

The Snowdon Horseshoe

Height Gained 1060m, Distance 12km, Time 6 hours

Main Difficulties – Exposure on Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd

While technically this isn’t a ‘route’ up Snowdon, but a combination of two – it seems odd not to include a route of such high quality.  It initially ascends the knife edged ridge of Crib Goch before continuing over Crib y Ddysgl, Snowdon’s summit and descends via Y Lliwedd. One of the best mountain days you’ll have, and the summit of Snowdon isn’t one of the highlights!

The Watkin Path

Height Gained 1,000m, Distance 6km, Time 3 hrs.

Main Difficulties Scree at top is an accident black-spot and is an unpleasant surprise towards the end of the walk.

The Watkin Path opened in 1892 as a donkey track, but the Watkin Path was never truly finished.  Of all the official ascents up Snowdon it starts nearest to sea level and so has more ascent than any other direct route, but the Llanberis Path starts off only 50m higher and involves a little more distance. Swings and roundabouts really.

The Watkin Path is also the most scenic of all the routes up, starting off through some ancient woodland before passing a spectacular waterfall and ultimately ascending to Bwlch Ciliau and Yr Wyddfa. A pleasure to walk for most of its distance, the final eroded scree chute up to the summit rather detracts from the path’s overall appeal. However, no other path can boast a Prime Minister, commandos and a Carry on Film among its myriad claims to fame.

The Watkin Path Walk up Snowdon
The Watkin Path

Rhyd Ddu Path

Height Gained 860m, Distance 6km, Time 1 hrs 45 min

Main Difficulties Some exposure on Bwlch Main

The Rhyd Ddu path up Snowdon is a lesser known path, but still has it’s share of walkers. There’s not much going for this route, until you reach the cliffs above Cwm Clogwyn and the airy walk across Bwlch Main, which is shared with the South Ridge ascent.

Rhyd Ddu Path Walk up Snowdon
Rhyd Ddu Path

Snowdon South Ridge Path

Height Gained 850m, Distance 6km, Time 2 hrs 45 min

Main Difficulties Some exposure on Bwlch Main

The South Ridge path usually elicits a blank expression on most walkers when you mention walking routes up Snowdon. Those in the know however, realise that this is an absolute gem of a route that stands modestly in the shadows, shunning the limelight. In comparison, the PYG, Miners and Watkin are cheap, talentless reality TV z-listers desperately seeking endless attention. The South Ridge knows it’s good, and is happy to stand back a little until you realise just how good it is. It’s in no rush.

Snowdon South Ridge Path
Snowdon South Ridge Path

Snowdon Ranger

Height Gained 895m, Distance 6km, Time 2 hrs 45 min

Main Difficulties Steep in places.

The Snowdon Ranger path is a quieter walking route up Snowdon from the ‘far’ end if you’re travelling in from the East. Starting off from the tranquil Cwellyn, it initially gains some rapid height by way of the zig-zags before some well earned respite. Then you reach the proper zig zags and this is a relentless pull to the top that has enough interest to keep it from being a pure slog.

Snowdon Ranger
Snowdon Ranger

Of course, there are plenty of other walking routes to up Snowdon, but you’ll have to visit Walk up Snowdon to find out! We couldn’t fit them all on one page, we had to create an entire website to describe them all.

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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