Without a doubt, Pen y Pass is one of the most popular walking locations in the Snowdonia National Park. Not surprisingly as the most popular routes up to Yr Wyddfa (the proper name for the summit of Snowdon – NEVER Mount Snowdon!!!) such as the Miner’s Track, PYG and the Snowdon Horseshoe / Crib Goch all start here.
What Pubs and eateries are there in Pen y Pass and Pen y Gwryd? There’s a well stocked cafe at Pen y Pass and a popular youth hostel with a bar – Mallory’s. At Pen y Gwryd, there’s the hotel and little else.
Parking at Pen y Pass and Pen y Gwryd The car park at Pen y Pass is legendary for the impossibility of getting a space. Parking costs an extortionate £10 per day, with a £6 half day ticket useful for evening walks. They also accept kidneys as part payment. We highly recommend reading – How to avoid a parking ticket in Snowdonia.
Your best bet is to park at one of the park and ride car parks at Nant Peris, Capel Curig or Nant Gwynant and then getting there by bus is easy. Pen y Pass is the central hub of the Snowdon Sherpa bus system but check that it actually is running a full service when you intend to use it!
Pen y Gwryd is within 15 minutes walking distance, though you’d be wiser to follow the footpath described in the Pen y Pass to Beddgelert walk below than risk life and limb walking idiotically on the main road, somewhat of a sport around these parts, with the more enthusiastic choosing to walk three abreast in blissful ignorance of any motor vehicles. Pen y Gwryd itself can easily be spotted on a good day by the masses of cars parked there. It has received somewhat of a face-lift recently, so at least there are less cars parking on the verges and making it look untidy. Somewhere in this car park lies the Pen y Gwryd Hotel that’s well worth a visit. It has historical connections with the successful 1953 Everest Expedition and serves mulled wine on a winter’s day.
Maps for Pen y Pass and Pen y Gwryd: We recommend the OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley and the Snowdonia BMC (British Mountain Map) – but you may need to check the individual walks to see if you need another map sheet (especially Moel Siabod).
Recommended Guidebooks: Here are a few to get you going! Ridges of Snowdonia: The Best Ridge Walking, Mountain Walks: The Finest Mountain Walks in Snowdonia, Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia , Day Walks in Snowdonia, Mountain Walking in Snowdonia
Weather Forecast: Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather
Routes from the hub of Snowdonia are given below, and as always we don’t just list walks with no further information. We link to our own full content on these walks, so this is essentially a guidebook to the walks from Pen y Pass. Other than the obvious Snowdon walks, there are routes onto the Glyderau , Carnedd Moel Siabod and the Moelwynion from here. All the walking routes up Snowdon can be found on Walk up Snowdon.
Mountain Walks From Pen y Pass and Pen y Gwryd
Height Gained 705m, Distance 5km, Time 2 hrs 15 min (ONE WAY)
The PYG track is one of the popular routes up Snowdon from Pen y Pass probably as it is both the shortest way up Snowdon, and the one that involves the least amount of ascent. Even so, it’s not the easiest path up as it can be difficult in places but generally straightforward to follow.
Height Gained 765m, Distance 6km, Time 1 hrs 50 min (ONE WAY)
As an alternative to the PYG, the Miner’s Track sets off at a leisurely pace up towards Llyn Llydaw before upping the pace slightly to Glaslyn. That’s when it really starts to climb, and the easy track becomes steep steps and a strenuous effort.
Height Gained 1040m, Distance 12km, Time 6 hrs+
The Snowdon Horseshoe is the must do route! Setting off up Snowdon via the exposed but sublime Crib Goch ridge, you can be forgiven for saying you’ve Climbed Snowdon… While you share the mountain with the hoi polloi for a short section between Garnedd Ugain and Snowdon summit, you get to descend via Y Lliwedd. This is a scramble in itself, and is unfortunately overshadowed by Crib Goch.
Height Gained 760m, Distance 11km, Time 5 hrs
For those wanting a quieter scramble than follow the crowds that invariably spoil the Crib Goch experience on the best days. Y Gribin is a short, steep scramble from Glaslyn towards Bwlch y Saethau between Yr Wyddfa and Y Lliwedd and provides an equally good route for the ascent of either. However, this route isn’t recommended if you’re not confident in both your navigational and scrambling abilities.
Height Gained 885m, Distance 15km, Time 6 hrs
Some remote and quiet terrain, with unexpectedly good views to Snowdon. Best completed by walking along the Moelwynion as far as you possibly can! You can also descend Bwlch Y Rhediad and walk it as a more satisfying circular walk by returning back up Nant Gwynant.
Height Gained 650m, Distance 10.5km, Time 4.5 hrs
The best direction to climb Moel Siabod is to do this as a day walk is in reverse, or better still by climbing up Daear Ddu. However, it provides a quieter walk that you’re unlikely to see many others walking.
Height Gained 800m, Distance 10km, Time 6 hrs
The summits of Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach are two of the Iconic tops of Snowdonia. This is a quieter ascent than walking the Glyderau from Ogwen, with excellent views of Crib Goch. It’a a slightly unusual walk in many respects. One is that you’re in Pen y Pass and you haven’t walked up Snowdon. The other is that most people take the Glyderau on from the other side. I of course mean from Ogwen and not in any spiritual sense. This is an exploration of the less known side of the mountain, and hopefully too, less popular. Be warned though, that the path is very indistinct and is often difficult to follow when visibility is good. This route finishes at Pen y Gwryd, with the reverse ascent given below, or you can take the signposted footpath.
Height Gained – 715 metres , Distance – 8 km, Time –4 hours
While already described the walk around the Glyderau in reverse above, but you may want the simpler option of an up and down walk from the Pen y Gwryd.
Some Easier Walks from Pen y Pass
Height Gained – 300 metres , Distance –9 km, Time –2.5 hours
This is better than a low level walk, it’s downhill most of the way! There’s still some ascent, though it’s few and far between. We recommend using the Sherpa Buses to join up the ends of this linear walk, or you could combine it with an ascent over Snowdon for a weekend’s backpack.
Height Gained – 250 metres , Distance – 4 km, Time –2 hours
Craig Fach is high enough to be a mountain, but barely rises 30m from it’s surroundings. Having said that, it’s an excellent viewpoint as well as a short grassy ridge walk that you can enjoy in around an hour and a half.
Height Gained – 250 metres , Distance – 4 km, Time –2 hours
Another mini adventure from Pen y Pass is Moel Berfedd. It doesn’t get as high as the neighbouring Craig Fach, but makes up for it by being a little wilder. As a loop from Pen y Pass, you can visit the Pen y Gwryd on the return leg – though the path that contours beneath the main road isn’t one you’d want to walk after too many pints as a good deal of the ascent is on the climb back!
Height Gained – 360 metres , Distance –10 km, Time –2.5 hours
IF you don’t want to ascend Snowdon, or if the weather is against you, then this offers a viable alternative. Walking just up to Glaslyn is still an outing in itself – and one we chose to do at night!Pen y Pass Walks From