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The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon

By Dave Roberts   

on May 19, 2018    5/5 (5)

The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon

Further Details

Route Summary:

Reasonably quiet route up Snowdon from Rhyd Ddu

This walk includes the Washi of Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa

This walk includes the Hewitt of Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa

This walk includes the Nuttall of Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa

Route Start Location: Rhyd Ddu - Snowdon Summit

5.81 km 859 m 3 hours or so

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


Pub with excellent ales in Rhyd Ddu.


Some exposure on Bwlch Main

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : LL54 6TN

Plenty of parking the car park (paid for) – usually a good bet on a busy weekend.

Public Transport:

Sherpa Buses and WHR to Rhyd Ddu.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon

The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon is one of the traditional routes, and originally started from Beddgelert as a pony track. It’s now one of the quieter paths up, reasonably easy to follow and with an excellent airy walk over Bwlch Main to reach the summit.

Full Route Description Snowdon Rhyd Ddu Path

1 From the Car Park in Rhyd Ddu, facing the railway (and the mountain!) walk to the left parallel to the railway and cross it at the pedestrian gate, not the wide gate you first pass. Take this track and continue for a short distance until it forks right. This wide track climbs steadily uphill, winding its way along the hillside for around a kilometre or so and through a couple of gates.

2 The track eventually reaches a crossroads, with the left hand turning taking you on the Rhyd Ddu Path. The path that continues is for the South Ridge, and shockingly not worthy of a Snowdon marker rock despite being one of the best walks up. The right-hand turn takes you to the Beddgelert road, and would have been the original route in Victorian times when it was known as the Beddgelert Path (a naming similar to the PYG Track– which while there are alternative explanations – its seems that the Pen-y-gwryd Path is the simplest explanation without trying to needlessly look clever about it).

3 The path winds between knolls, climbing imperceptibly, on a good path all the way. There’s little in the way of navigation or complexity before you arrive at another stone wall and a gate. Pass through this as the path veers right to find the easiest and least steep route up the next bit of slope. There are now some steeper sections on the path, as it climbs through the rocks, which might need hands in descent.

4 Take a breather as you arrive at the ruined huts at Rhos Boeth. We think this may be where the Victorian tourists would have left their ponies and continues up on foot. There’s a main ruin and a smaller one as well as a good flat area with running water – perfect!

The Rev Williams Bingley, 1804 North Wales, Including its Scenery, Antiquities, Customs and some sketches of its Natural History

We set out, commencing our mountain journey by turning to the right, from the Caernarvon road, at the distance of about two miles and a half from the village [Beddgelert]. We left the horse at a cottage, about half way up, from whence taking a bottle of milk to mix with some rum that we had brought along with us, we continued our route over a series of pointed and craggy rocks. Stopping at different times to rest, we enjoyed to the utmost, the prospects that by degrees were opening around us.

Towards the upper part of the mountain, we passed over a tremendous ridge of rock, called Clawdd coch, the red ridge. This narrow pass, not more than ten or twelve feet across, and two or three hundred yards in length, was so steep, that the eye reached on each side, down the whole extent of the mountain.

5 The Rhyd Ddu path now starts to climb properly, especially as you’ve now left the ‘Pony Path’ behind. This is a steep section, with paths threading into multiple tracks in places. Keep to the largest to ensure you don’t lose the path, which could bring problems in mist, and you’ll arrive at a gate in a stone wall.

6 Pass through the gate, and keep on climbing the track, which eventually brings you back to the stone wall which you need to pass through again. By now, you won’t fail to appreciate the view across to the summit of Snowdon, one we think is unrivalled, as well as towards the green pinnacles of Bwlch Main. In some alternative world, Snowdon would have boasted both a Crib Goch and a Crib Glas – which is the welsh word for blue in modern usage, but also used for green – as the ancient Welsh weren’t particularly renowned for their interior design skills.

7 The next section along the cliffs of Llechog is thankfully flat, before a final pull up the zig zag path to join the summit of the South Ridge. This is the best part of the walk (forget the summit!) and “Crib Glas” is an incredibly airy walk, with drops and a few places where hands can be helpful. There are views down into Cwm Llan to the right and Cwm Clogwyn to the left – both rather sheer drops!

8 The excitement over, you reach a flattish area where the Watkin Path joins the party. There’s a final pull to the summit, with the building of Hafod Eryri now dominating the view. You’ll reach some steps at the building, continue past the building and the summit can be reached along a zig zagging set of steps that the tourists from the train use to get to the summit.

Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon Photographs

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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