The Snowdon Horseshoe Scrambling Route

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Route Summary:

The Snowdon Horseshoe is one of the classic UK mountain walks. Including three Grade 1 Scrambles – Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl and Y Lliwedd – and the highest mountain in Wales  – Snowdon.

Distance
Ascent
Time
12.2 km 1061 m 6 hours or more

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

Start and Finish: Pen y Pass

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:

Exposed scrambling most of the way.

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 Mountain Weather

Check out our Best Mountain Weather Forecast?

The Snowdon Horseshoe Scrambling Route Route Map and GPX Download

Download the GPX File

Recommended Maps

Guidebooks:

Summits and Places on this Route

Places Nearby:

 



The Snowdon Horseshoe Scrambling Route Details

The Snowdon Horseshoe in Snowdonia is one of the best mountain days in Britain, without a shadow of a doubt. Here’s the Mud and Routes guide to the Snowdon Horseshoe walk, or scramble – take your pick! As usual, when we say we’ve got a guide, we include a proper OS map below with a downloadable GPX file.

The Snowdon Horseshoe Scrambling Route

Starting off in Pen y Pass, the Snowdon Horseshoe starts off innocuous enough along the rather pedestrian PYG track before forking off at Bwlch y Moch.  You know this is the walking equivalent of a motorway by the presence of the dual stiles that mark the easier way up. You’ll need to be taking the right hand path for Crib Goch, which soon turns into a steep and rocky scramble.

Snowdon Horseshoe Crib Goch scramble Snowdonia
Snowdon Horseshoe and Crib Goch

It’s worth it however, as you’re quickly on the crest of the Crib Goch ridge, which is beautifully exposed. If you haven’t a head for heights then Crib Goch isn’t the place for you. If you love mountains, love scrambling then you’ve just found your favourite 500m of rocky ridge.

Snowdon Horseshoe Crib Goch summit

On a busy day however, the enjoyment will be spoilt by sheer numbers, so you’re best setting off early or late. The ascent pictured here was a leisurely Friday evening ascent, complete with camping kit, and we only saw one other group of 3. But that’s only an option if you’re overnighting on the mountain.

Snowdon Horseshoe Crib Goch

The airy crest of Crib Goch is over too soon, with just the pinnacles to traverse (a few exposed moves) and you’re back to the normality of Bwlch Coch. The best might be over, but there’s still plenty of scrambling left over that would be classics in their own right on any other mountain.

Snowdon Horseshoe Crib Goch

The ascent of Crib y Ddysgl has a few more challenges in store, before narrowing to a grassy crest, and the view from the second highest point in Wales is impressive. It’s a mundane walk across to Yr Wyddfa or Snowdon, which is more of an obstacle to be traversed on a day like this, we’ve scrambling to get on with, and a horribly eroded scree path down the Watkin to Bwlch y Saethau.

crib_goch_104_960

There’s a path you can follow, but you should attain the crest to your left for a much more interesting approach to Lliwedd. The scrambling is easy enough, which is probably a relief this far into the day, and it’s onwards and down to Llyn Llydaw to end the walk on the rather easy Miner’s Track.

Gribin_lliwedd_83_960

NOTE Some purists will suggest you begin the route by ascending the minor peak to the east of Bwlch y Moch and end on Gallt y Wenallt as the first and final nails in the Horseshoe. These will certainly add a further angle to the walk and are worth adding on if you want a longer day.

Dave Roberts

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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