Snowdon via The Miner’s Track From Pen y Pass

Route Summary:

The Miner’s Track is a popular route to the Summit of Snowdon that starts off nice and steady but soon reveals it’s real nature as you climb steeply after Glaslyn!

Distance
Ascent
Time
6.5 km 766 m 2-3 hours ONE WAY

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

Start and Finish: Pen y Pass - Snowdon Summit

Facilities:

There’s a good cafe at Pen y Pass these days, as well as public toilets in the same block. Over the road you’ll find Mallory’s Bar in the Pen y Pass Youth Hostel.

Hazards:

Zig Zags are an accident blackspot when iced with the final section often corniced over in full winter conditions.

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.

Public Transport:

Sherpa Buses from Llanberis, Betws-y-Coed, Beddgelert, Caernarfon and Porthmadog stop at Pen y Pass at varying frequencies. Check out the Snowdon Sherpa page on Walk up Snowdon for the latest Snowdon Sherpa rundown.

Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): LL55 4NY

LIMITED! £10 a day, £6 for 4 hours. Very early arrival advised. Park in Nant Peris for the Park and Ride.

Weather Forecast:

Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

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Snowdon via The Miner’s Track From Pen y Pass Route Map and GPX Download

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 Guidebooks:

Summits and Places on this Route

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Snowdon via The Miner’s Track From Pen y Pass Details

The Miner’s Track up Snowdon from Pen-y-Pass is often noted as one of the easier walking routes up Snowdon, after the Llanberis Path, don’t let that fool you. It does have a track that mountain rescue can drive up to around 600m, but beyond that this is still a challenging mountain track that commands respect. It’s often used as the National 3 Peaks Route up Snowdon as it’s slightly easier going than the PYG Track, though slightly longer. Most people will be combining the Miner’s Track with the PYG Track, and our choice would be to ascend the PYG Track up Snowdon and descend via the Miner’s Track as the final section is easy on the legs. We wouldn’t fancy descending those steps at the bottom of the PYG with tired legs!

About the Miner’s Track up Snowdon

It starts off nice and easy from Pen y Pass as the track ascends gently up past Llyn Teyrn and then on up to Llyn Llydaw. There’s a steeper ascent up to Glaslyn, but still on a wide track. It’s not until you reach Glaslyn, before the Miner’s Track takes to steep steps and reveals itself to be a fully fledged mountain path!

It then joins up with the PYG track, with a steady if rough section, for you to catch your breath. Make the most of this as the going can be unclear on this section, and care is needed not to venture from the path. The final zig-zags are much easier to follow, but tougher on the legs, before you emerge into the open at Bwlch Glas. This is a relief as the final sections of the Miner’s Track does feel rather closed in and claustrophobic towards the end.

The final section to the summit of Snowdon is an easy walk in comparison! An ideal descent is via the PYG track but you can easily descend by one of the many other routes and return to Pen-y-pass by using the Snowdon Sherpa if you need to return to your car. A most interesting descent would be either by the Snowdon South Ridge or Watkin Path to Nant Gwynant, before following a good path back uphill to Pen-y-pass. This route has the advantage of passing the Pen y Gwryd hotel and it would be rude not to pop in for post walk refreshments!

Snowdon via The Miner’s Track Full Route

1 The start of the Miner’s Track is clearly visible at the far left corner of the Pen-y-pass car park (with your back to the road), waymarked with one of the Snowdon Stones. Pass through the gate to join the gently ascending Miner’s Track, passing above the tarn at Llyn Teyrn as Snowdon Summit slowly comes to view.

2 After just over 2km you’ll arrive at Llyn Llydaw, with the summit of Snowdon and Y Lliwedd dominating the view. The walk to Llyn Llydaw makes a perfect introduction to the hills for young families looking for a short walk that feels like you’re in the mountains. There’s a junction here for Y Lliwedd, but the Miner’s Track continues clearly along the shores of Llyn Llydaw before crossing the lake via the causeway.

Miner's Track up Snowdon

3 The Miner’s Track continues along the shore of Llyn Llydaw, passing the ruins of the copper mines on the way. Only once the path reaches the far end of the lake does it really start climbing as you head towards Glaslyn.

Snowdon via The Miner's Track From Pen y Pass

4 Glaslyn provides a striking view of Snowdon, often reflected in the lake’s green-blue waters. There are also further mining ruins here, with the actual working being passed later on. It’s worth stopping here for a breather on the lake shore as the Miner’s Path really gets serious from this point onwards!

Miner's Track up Snowdon

5 From Glaslyn, the Miner’s Track is a totally different beast. The initial section is probably the easiest section of path on the mountain, while the next is among the trickiest. Not technically demanding, but the steep pull on a stone built path to join the PYG Track high above is a tough walk. It has become easier to follow in recent years with the improvements in the footpath, but still ensure you don’t veer off path as there are a few open mine workings nearby.

Snowdon via The Miner's Track From Pen y Pass

6 The PYG track is now a relief in comparison. While it clambers over rocks and becomes unclear in a couple of places, the next section to the Zig-zags is at least an opportunity to regroup and prepare yourself for the final pull. This section does however need care in route finding, and you could easily lose the path in thick mist, especially if you’re following the Miner’s Track in descent.

7 The final Zig-zags are an opportunity for most to rest before tackling them, but in reality they look worse than they are. You’ve only a 100 odd metres to climb before you reach Bwlch Glas along this section, with the steepness at this penultimate section enough to slow many part-time walkers to a crawl. In winter conditions, the final section can be corniced over and may need extreme care to overcome. Not only that, but as a fully equipped Mud and Router, you’ll also need to deal with the slipping and sliding of the unprepared idiots who shouldn’t be on the mountain in those conditions. Sadly, in our experience, they make up the vast majority of winter walkers on Snowdon.

Snowdon via The Miner's Track From Pen y Pass

8 Finally, the Miner’s Track emerges onto Bwlch Glas, to be joined by the Llanberis Path and the Ranger Path for the final section for the summit. This is refreshing and a contrast to the final section of the Miner’s which can be claustrophobic as the crags close in around you and the only view ahead is the steep slopes of the mountain. Now you have open views across towards the Nantlle Ridge, Moel Eilio and back down the way you came towards Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw.

9 Snowdon Summit is only a couple of hundred metres away, with very little ascent left (you’ll be glad to hear!) Don’t at this point be tempted to follow the Snowdon Railway, it’s the path all the way. Navigation shouldn’t be a problem, as you’ll likely be in the company of others. All that remains as you reach the summit building (Hafod Eryri) is to ascend the steps to the summit and then the final steps to Snowdon Summit trig point. With any luck, you won’t need to queue, but at peak times you may well need to especially if you happen to arrive at the same time as one of the trains.

Descending the Miner’s Track

In descent, you’ll need to ensure that you find the way-marked stone at Bwlch Glas to find the top of the Miner’s Track. In winter, this can be a serious proposition as it’s often corniced over and the path below covered in snow and ice. Between the Zig-zags and the junction between the Miner’s and PYG you’ll need to take care to keep on the path and not veer right over some dangerous ground. There are open workings here and it’s not a place to seek short cuts. Once you’ve found the junction with the PYG and descended to Glaslyn the remainder of the walk is simply following the track down to Pen-y-pass.

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