What you absolutely need to know before climbing Snowdon

Climbing Snowdon was always a goal of mine. But choosing the best path to climb Snowdon can be confusing. In fact, before our trip to Snowdonia, I had no clue myself. I did a lot of research to pick the right track for us and I am now sharing that information with you. Together with some tips and advice about all the things that you really need to know before you start your ascent.

Pictures depicting Snowdon’s beauty aren’t an uncommon sight in the UK. Snowdon is gorgeous in every weather. On a lovely clear day, on less clear days and even covered in snow.

And did you know, that to reach the summit of Snowdon is a common challenge among teenagers here in Great Britain? In fact,  The Princes Trust encourages the younger generation to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, and Snowdon in Wales, all in one single weekend. This is commonly referred to as the Three Peaks Challenge. And whoever achieves it, is rewarded with a medal. At the same time money is usually raised to help change the lives of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people.

I clearly remember admiring my friend’s brother when he set off on his journey with the Prince’s Trust. Actually, I think that’s when I first set the goal to reach the summit of Snowdon for myself. Sadly, I never made it to the top of the tallest mountain in Wales as a teenager. And to be honest it has been one of my biggest regrets ever since.

But I got the chance to set things right, in 2016, when Visit Wales challenged me to Find my Epic in Snowdonia. So on the last day of our three-day micro trip, Gary and I set off on the Miners Track. We didn’t quite make it to the top, but we had an incredible time trying to reach it.

There are numerous ways up Snowdon. In summer, you can even hop onto a train rather than arduously climb to the top. In fact, there is a path for everyone, no matter their skill level.  You can make it up to the peak of Snowdon whether you are a professional hiker or just a beginner enthusiast. The problem is picking the right route to the top. So let me help you with that.

In this post, I am going to outline everything you need to know before you set out on your route up to the peak of Mount Snowdon, including how long the climb takes for each path and the level of difficulty.

LOCATION OF SNOWDON

Snowdon – often describes as the busiest mountain in Britain – is located in the National Park of Snowdonia, on the North of the coast of Wales.  Right beside Snowdonia is Anglesey, another popular area in Wales. In fact, it might be an idea to combine your visit to both regions of Wales.

I have included a map below for your reference.

A Map of Snowdon in Wales for those who want to climb to its summit

HIKING IN SNOWDONIA

Find you Epic Climbing Snowdon in Winter via the Miners Track 2 L 1

Snowdonia is probably one of the best places to go hiking in the UK. The region has a large network of trails for people of all abilities.

Snowdonia has a very varied terrain from rugged mountain peaks, long sandy beaches to crystal clear lakes and rivers. So whether you want the challenge of ascending Snowdon or would rather opt for a leisurely walk along the coastline, you are guaranteed breath-taking scenery and diverse landscapes.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT SNOWDON

Find you Epic Climbing Snowdon in Winter via the Miners Track 6 L

Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and England. Its Welsh name, Yr Wyddfa, means tomb or monument. Legend has it that it is the tomb of the ogre Rhita Gawr, who supposedly met his end when King Arthur climbed to the top of Mount Snowdon and killed him. Snowdon is a part of a close-knit family of jagged peaks and offers views across Snowdonia, Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, and Ireland. The whole area has been mined for copper since the Bronze Age, and you will find the ruins of old mine buildings and tramways across the whole mountain.

If you are moderately fit – like me – climbing Snowdon is definitely within your reach. Although Mount Snowdon is one of the highest mountains in the UK and the tallest mountain in Wales, it is probably the friendliest for the novice walker to ascend. In the summer month,s you can even rest your feet and grab a welcome beverage in the café at the summit. And if you’re feeling tired after the strenuous climb up you can always get the train back down. (Note: the Café is only open when the trains are running, from mid- May to the end of October)

No one knows who first conquered the mountain, but ascents of the mountain became particularly popular after Thomas Pennant published ‘Tours’ in 1781 and included his visit to the summit. Since then 350 000 people ascend to the summit each year (either by foot or by train).

PLEASE BE PREPARED

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Whether you are planning to tackle Crib Goch or hike up one of the other six paths, the ascent of Snowdon can be demanding and even treacherous at times.

The mountainous terrain with its steep gradients and rocky paths can be challenging and will even require a certain amount of scrambling. All paths have some fairly steep parts to them, so none can be described as an easy stroll. Although many thousands of people climb Snowdon each year, it is still a mountain with steep cliffs in places and can be very dangerous.

Whichever route you take up the mountain, be sure to look out for markers which will show you the way down – it is easy to take a wrong path, and some are not suitable for inexperienced walkers, or those without proper climbing gear.

Because of the numbers of visitors conservation work is ongoing in the mountains.  Be sure to keep clear of areas where the path has been diverted to guard against erosion.

Please also make sure to look out for loose scree and steep slopes. It is easy to lose your footing!

Most of the walks will take you across farmland, where sheep roam freely.  If you take your dog with you it must be on a lead.

If you are climbing Snowdon for the first time opt for an easier path. If you enjoy the experience you can always return and select another path with totally different views.

If you are planning to undertake your journey in winter (like us), please be aware that the ground underfoot can become treacherous and should not be attempted by novice walkers.

You should never attempt to climb to the summit of Snowdon, without being prepared or doing at least a bit of preliminary research.

EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED TO CLIMB SNOWDON

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WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR WHEN CLIMBING SNOWDON

When climbing Snowdon, make sure to be suitably dressed for all weather conditions and to wear the appropriate footwear before venturing out into the mountains.

Check the Snowdon Summit weather forecast before you start your walk, and always carry waterproofs with you even if you think the day will be fine.  Even though you might start your ascent on a bright and sunny day, you could still find yourself climbing through thick clouds at the summit. 

That doesn’t mean you have to wear your waterproofs in the sunshine. Overheating is just as much of a risk, in Summer, as hyperthermia can be in Winter.

I would advise against wearing jeans and cotton garments, as these tend not to cope very well when they become wet. Instead, choose a modern synthetic garment that dries quickly and doesn’t trap sweat like cotton. If you can afford it, opt for Merino Wool.

Also make sure to take a fleece, a jumper or an insulated jacket. The temperatures drop significantly as you near the summit.

On top of all this, a pair of thin gloves and a hat are desirable in winter and may even be needed in summer.

On your feet, boots are the standard item of gear but some find these heavy in the summer and wear trail shoes instead. Ensure that you are wearing walking boots that are comfortable and that you have worn a few times already. You really don’t want to get blisters halfway up Snowdon!

Pack all of your additional equipment into a backpack that comfortably supports your back. If you need a new backpack, do check out this post that compares the best daypacks currently on the market.

FOOD AND DRINK FOR YOUR ASCENT OF SNOWDON

Be sure to pack plenty of food and water. Although chocolate and sweets will provide you with a quick energy boost it is preferable to opt for a balanced meal with a piece of fruit.

Don’t plan to stick to a diet whilst hiking up Snowdon. You will burn a lot of calories during your ascent and it is important that you provide your body with enough nutrients to cope with the strain. 

It is also imperative that you bring enough water (2 litres to be safe).  There is only one café at the summit and it is closed in winter. Water or diluted fruit juice is good to keep your thirst quenched. And fruit juice contains natural fruit sugars, unlike many fizzy drinks.

TOOLS & SAFETY EQUIPMENT YOU SHOULDN’T FORGET

Although the paths are well marked it is advisable to take a map and compass with you.  

On top of that it would be best to take some survival equipment including:

  • some spare high calorie food
  • a first aid kit
  • a torch
  • a whistle
  • and a survival bag.

In winter you might also need some additional items to get you to the top, like crampons and an ice pick. But please be aware that these need specialist training.

In fact, the main reason why Gary and I never made it to the top of the mountain, is because we don’t own any crampons (not that we would know how to use them anyway).  And towards the end of the miner’s track, the snow came up to our knees. It would have been impossible to climb the steepest part of the track without specialist equipment.  I am not trying to make excuses here either. Just pointing out that you can get caught out, especially in winter.

DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO

To tell you the truth Gary and I weren’t as well prepared as we should have been and had to stock up on a fair bit of equipment the day before in Bangor.

The weather was far chillier than expected and we ended up buying a pair of merino leggings, gloves, and a map. We were lucky and everything was on sale. But being so ill-prepared could have seriously gone wrong.

TIME AND LENGTH UP TO THE SUMMIT OF SNOWDON

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Plan to spend at least 6 hours or more walking up and down Snowdon. The exact length of the hike obviously depends on the path you choose to follow and your level of fitness. You will be covering between 7 and 10 miles and will ascend up to 1005 m (3300 ft) of the total 1085 m (3560 ft) mass of Snowdon.

You should aim to get to your starting point early in the morning ­ as the car parks fill up very quickly. Trust me you don’t want to add those extra miles to your journey. The ascent to the summit is tiring enough. We learned this the hard way!

We started our hike at the overflow car park of the Pyg and Miner tracks at 11h00, reached the highest lake at 14h00 and returned to the car absolutely exhausted at 16h30.

WHICH TRACK UP TO SNOWDON SHOULD YOU CHOOSE

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Picking a track up to the summit of Snowdon isn’t easy. We didn’t reach a final decision until the actual day of the hike. Apart from Crib Goch, there are six popular paths to choose from. They are:

 
  • The Watkin Path
  • The Rhyd Ddu Path
  • The Pyg Track
  • The Snowdon Ranger Path
  • The Llanberis Path
  • The Miner’s Track

Each path requires a different set of skills and level of fitness. Certain paths are a little easier than other.

If you disregard Crib Goch, the Watkins path is the hardest trail to follow. On this route you will also be ascending 1001m (3,300 ft) – starting only a couple of hundred feet above sea level.  The Pyg and Miners tracks are of a similar length but start at 356 m (1170 ft) above sea level, so are a little less strenuous in comparison.

One of the benefits of walking on this mountain is that you do not need to go down the same way you went up. In fact, there are so many varied routes up to the summit that it would almost be a shame to walk up and down the same path in a day!  The convenient Sherpa Bus Network conveniently connects all six main routes and the surrounding villages in summer. You could, therefore, choose to hike up one path, come down another and catch a ride back to where you parked your car.

Certain tracks also lead back to the same starting point. You could for instance ascend to the summit via the Pyg track and then return to your car via the Miner’s Path. A very popular route indeed!

There are many walking and scrambling routes to the summit of Snowdon, so I have listed your options below in the order of difficulty:

CRIB GOCH

Most routes are fairly easy to follow. Particularly now that route markers have been erected. There is one route however that should be avoided by most people apart from the most experienced mountain walkers: Crib Goch. The Crib Goch scramble is without hesitation the most difficult climb up to the summit of Snowdon and also the most dangerous. This, however, is exactly why it has become so famous and is deemed one of the best routes in the country by those who are highly skilled and scramble on a regular basis. Be warned though, if you are not an experienced mountain walker, are walking with a dog or suffer from a fear of heights do not attempt this route!

Crib Goch is a highly knife-edged arête that features sheer drops on either side. You will find yourself scrambling on your hands and knees for a large part of the way. At best it can be described as a scramble. Imagine walking on the apex of a roof and you might get the picture.

The route starts at Pen-y-Pass and follows the Pyg Track to a fork (Bwlch y Moch).  The left path continues on the Pyg Track, the right path goes up to Crib Goch.  The route to Crib Goch is clearly signposted on a marker rock. From here you will follow a steep path uphill. The trail then turns into the full-on scramble described above. Once Crib Goch is conquered the path continues to the summit of Snowdon joining the Pyg Track once again.

On busy days there can be a queue of people waiting to cross Crib Goch, but don’t let this fool you – it really is a dangerous route, not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced.

Crib Goch is a hot spot for accidents on the Snowdon Massif, some of which have been fatal. It should not be attempted even by the most accomplished mountaineer on a windy or rainy day, since it is highly exposed.

THE WATKIN PATH

Distance: 8 miles (there and back) 

Total Climb: 1,015m (3,329 ft) 

Time: Approx 7 hours (there and back) 

Start an Finish: Bethania Bridge, Nant Gwynant (SH 628507 / LL55 4NL) on the A498 turning towards Hafod y Llan Farm 

Map: Explorer OL17 Ordnance Survey 

Parking: Pont Bethania, Nant Gwynant car park (SH 628507 / LL55 4NL) 

Sherpa Bus Stop: Nant Gwynant Car Park

Apart from Crib Goch, the Watkin Path certainly is one of the hardest tracks you can follow to reach the summit of Snowdon. This however means that you are likely to find a space in the car park and that your journey won’t be crowded by other hikers. Of all the official trails, The Watkin Path starts nearest to the sea level and so has more ascent than any other direct route up to Snowdon. The sheer drops and loose scree make it easy to lose your footing. The track is also said to be hard to follow. I would advise that you only attempt the Watkin Path if you are pretty fit and an experienced mountaineer.

This path was named after Sir Edward Watkin, Liberal Member of Parliament and a railway entrepreneur. Watkin had a summer house by the start of the path was responsible for creating the path. 

The Watkin path was originally a donkey path and never truly finished. At the time it connected South Snowdon Slate Quarry to Snowdon’s summit. It was officially opened to the public in 1892 by Gladstone, who gave a speech at what is now known as Gladstone Rock.

The Watkin Path is one of the most scenic routes up to the summit of Snowdon. It starts just off a road junction near Nant Gwynant. You can, of course, follow the old track, but I would recommend that you take the new path instead. This is located to the left and takes you through some ancient woodland. You will even pass a spectacular waterfall. The start of the walk takes you across soft ground and is thus quite pleasant. Although it doesn’t take long until you reach the man-made track which is, in my opinion, is somewhat unpleasant with its rocky ground. The climb up the Watkin path is pretty steady and you will pass many old quarries as you ascend. You might be surprised by how quickly you reach Bwlch Ciliau and Yr Wyddfa. The next 300 metres of the Watkin Path are far more difficult. But don’t despair. You will be rewarded with views of Glaslyn, Llyn Llydaw, Crib Goch and Yr Wyddfa. Here the path traverses sheer scree slopes and becomes somewhat indistinct. Even those who brought a map might not be able to make it out. In fact, this part of the track is a blackspot for accident and has already been fatal to some in the past. This is when you need to be experienced and skilled at reading the terrain ahead of you. It will help you make decisions as to where to tread and what parts of the slope to contour. I would, therefore, advise that you avoid this part of the route in poor weather or if you aren’t that confident in your hiking skills.

This final somewhat eroded scramble might deter some but overall the Watkin Path makes for a pleasant and beautiful walk to the summit. Nonetheless, I would recommend that you never underestimate the difficulty of the Watkin Path.

THE RHYD DDU TRACK

Distance: 7.5 miles (there and back) 

Total Climb: 895m (2,936 ft) 

Time: Approx 6 hours (there and back) 

Start and Finish: Rhyd Ddu Car Park (SH 571526 / LL54 6TN) 

Map: Explorer OL17 Ordnance Survey 

Parking: Rhyd Ddu Car Park (SH 571526 / LL54 6TN) 

Sherpa Bus Stop: End of Rhyd Ddu Car Park

You can start your hike up the Rhyd Ddu Path from the WHR station, where you will also find a car park and a daily bus service from and to the towns of Caernarfon, Beddgelert and PorthmadogThe actual path starts to the left of the car park and you will need to cross the railway with care to reach the gate.  For the first kilometre, the track slowly winds its way up a gentle slope. Once you hit Pen ar Lon the path branches off to the left. Don’t worry though this is clearly sign-posted.  Once you reach the South Ridge the path becomes a lot narrower. It does, however, continue at an easy gradient until it hits a couple of old ruins on the flat of Rhos Boeth. Now you are going to have to face the final zig zag up to Bwlch Main. Beware, the path is covered in scree.  

Whilst the Rhyd Ddu Path certainly doesn’t have the same level of difficulty as Crib Goch it is nonetheless one of the narrowest ridges you can take on in Snowdonia. I wouldn’t describe the climb as a scramble but you will need to climb over and around rocks at points.  So if you have a fear of heights you might find this part of the track to be somewhat of a challengeFinally, the ridge widens out as you reach the Watkin Path. Now on to the final slog! 

THE PYG TRACK

Distance: 7.5 miles (there and back) 

Total Climb: 895m (2,936 ft) 

Time: Approx 6 hours (there and back) 

Start and Finish: Rhyd Ddu Car Park (SH 571526 / LL54 6TN) 

Map: Explorer OL17 Ordnance Survey 

Parking: Rhyd Ddu Car Park (SH 571526 / LL54 6TN) 

Sherpa Bus Stop: End of Rhyd Ddu Car Park

The origin of the name of this path is steeped in mystery. It is believed that the track was named Pyg Trail due to the fact that this path was once used to transport pyg (black tar) down from the Copper Works in Cwm Glaslyn. Others are determined that the origin of the name can be found in a path that crosses the track – the Bwlch y Moch or Pass of pigs. Finally more recently the rumour is being spread that the trail was named after the Pen y Gwryd Hostel, which can be found near the route. Finally in Welsh, Pyg actually means pitch. And in parts the path is indeed as black as pitch, creating incredible panoramic views, especially in winter.

Whatever the origin of its name the Pyg Track can probably be accomplished by anyone who is moderately fit and not all too scared of heights. The path starts at 357 m (1,170 ft) above sea level which gives you a helpful start on your way.  The Pyg track is both the shortest walking route up Snowdon, and the one that involves the least amount of ascent.

Despite this, the Pyg Track is not the easiest path up to the summit. Much of this walk is rugged, steep and rocky. It can therefore be very challenging in parts, but the scenery is more than worth it. Remember to allow time for breaks and stopping to take in the sights, of which there are plenty. In fact the views of Snowdon are among the best of any route up.

The Pyg and Miners Track start at the same point, a relatively small car park. Be warned this car park fills up quickly! If you don’t start your journey early in the day, you will find yourself having to park in the overflow car park – a 45 minute walk downhill.

The start of the path is clearly marked on the gate and starts slightly to the left of the main café building. It is quite straightforward from here. At first, the track consists of large steps carved into the rock. However, after Bwlch y Moch the path levels out. Ahead of you will notice a mountain peak. This is Crib Goch. The Pyg Track contours the hillside below this ridge and above Llyn Llydaw. If you look up you might be able to make out the skilled climbers brave enough to face this vertigo-inducing traverse. The going get a little tougher and rockier where the Miner’s Track and Pyg Track meet. The route also splits into different directions. So be careful to keep to the path as it can be easy to stray off. If the weather suddenly changes or you cannot make out the path because of the mist, just turn back. It is not worth risking your life and you can always come back and attempt to climb the mountain another time. Ascending slowly, the Pyg Track and Miner’s Track eventually reach the sheer cliffs below Garnedd Ugain. Here the path turns right and turns into the infamous zig zag up to Bwlch Glas. This is probably the toughest part of the ascent and is a notorious spot or accidents in winter. Do not cut across the zig zags. Stick to the path! Now you are nearly there. Only 100 more meters to climb until you reach the summit.

The Pyg Trail is one of the busiest routes up to the summit. Avoiding the crowds is another good reason to set-off very early morning or mid-afternoon. If this isn’t possible and you start your journey in the afternoon, make sure you have enough hours of daylight left for your descent. Note that you should not attempt to scale the upper section of the path in winter conditions, and especially if it is covered in snow unless you are properly equipped and very experienced at hiking. Believe me this part of the Pyg Track can be treacherous.

THE SNOWDON RANGER PATH

Distance: 8 miles (there and back) 

Total Climb: 936m (3,070 ft) 

Time: Approx 6 hours (there and back) 

Start and Finish: Snowdon Ranger YHA, Llyn Cwellyn (SH 564551 / LL54 7YS) 

Map: Explorer OL17 Ordnance Survey 

Parking: Llyn Cwellyn Car Park (SH 564551 / LL54 7YS) 

Sherpa Bus Stop: Llyn Cwellyn Car Park

The path partly takes its name from the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel, near which it starts. John Morton, the self-proclaimed Snowdon Ranger, used to guide Victorian Tourist up this path to the summit. He also opened a tavern on the dame site of the Youth Hostel, and called it the ‘Snowdon Ranger Inn’.

This track is fairly easy and offers beautiful views across the landscape of Snowdonia. The Snowdon Ranger Path is located on the other side of the mountain and offers a far quieter experience.

The route starts to the side of the Hostel. You will be following the railway for a bit before crossing it. At the farmhouse take the signposted path right. The track now suddenly gains a lot of height as it follows a zig-zag pattern. This goes on for a while until you reach a slightly more even level. Whilst you indulge in this well-earned respite enjoy the beautiful views of Yr Wyddfa. Trust me you will need the break.  The final stretch follows a blunt ridge. It has quite a steep gradient and will feel relentless. Remember it might be steep, but this also gets you up quickly. And the track offers just enough interest to make you forget the intense slog of the hike. After a hard climb, the path eventually relents. The railway and other paths come back into view up ahead. You are now on the home stretch.

The Welsh Highland Railway Station is located right at the start of the Snowdon Ranger Path. Bear this in mind when you are planning your walk. You could for instance walk up the hill and take the train back down. In Summer, the Snowdon Ranger Path is ideal if this is your first ascent up the mountain. It is also a lot more interesting than the Llanberis path. Furthermore, if like me you prefer a steep incline to rocky steps, then you will probably prefer hiking up the Snowdon ranger Path, rather than the Pen y Pass paths on the other side. Note though, that in winter it can be difficult to follow this path – as it disappears under the snow –especially along the blunt ridge

THE LLANBERIS TRACK

Distance: 9 miles (there and back) 

Total Climb: 975m (3,198 ft) 

Time: Approx 6 hours (there and back) 

Start and Finish: (SH 582 598 / LL55 4TY) 

Map: Explorer OL17 OS 

Parking: (SH 582598 /LL55 4TY) Numerous car parks in Llanberis. 

Sherpa Bus Stop: Llanberis Interchange

The Llanberis Path has to be the most famous route up to the summit of Wales’ highest mountain. If you are relatively fit, you really shouldn’t have any trouble walking up this path. You don’t even need to have any real navigation skills. Just follow the path ahead of you.

Originally, tourists were carried up this path on ponies and mules, and to this day it continues to be a pony path.

The Llanberis Path is incredibly popular in summer. It features a large car park and has the same departing point as the mountain railway. As the wait for a train can be very long in summer, many tourists decided to hike up the Lllanberis path instead. This of course means that by following the Llanberis Path you might find yourself within a crowd of people.

The Llanberis path starts off pretty steep but then evens out for the first two-thirds of the way. Here the path increases in altitude relatively steadily. From Alt Moses onwards the hike becomes a little more difficult, as the track rises by 250m. The first part of the Alt Moses path consists of gigantic steps (which I personally always find difficult to scale). These then turn into a rougher track a little further on.  Beyond this, you will finally start being rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. The Llanberis is certainly not the most interesting route, but you get great glimpses of the trains! The path continues to pull up a little less steeply before finally relenting. Here the path is wide and easy, but if you take a look at the slope on either side you realise how steep it actually is. There is a good reason why in winter this section of the Llanberis path is known as the Killer Convex. When it snows you might not be able to make out the path in front of you and a lot of people end up walking in the wrong direction, where they then come across the steep slope. This can be very dangerous even if you are fully equipped and consider yourself to be a skilled hiker. Sadly the consequence has been fatal for a couple of individuals in the past. Finally, you will join the Pyg and Ranger track for the home stretch. The views only get better from here on.

There are several buildings along the way. You will find a little café just before you head into the wilderness of Snowdon and another Half Way House after 4 kilometers.

THE MINER’S PATH

Distance: 8 miles (there and back)

Total Climb: 723m (2,371 ft)

Time: Approx 6 hours (there and back)

Start and Finish: Pen y Pass Car Park (SH 647557 / LL55 4NY)

Map: Explorer OL17 Ordnance Survey

Parking: If Pen y Pass car park is full, you can park in Nant Peris (SH 607582 / LL55 4UF), and catch the Sherpa Bus back up to Pen y Pass.

Sherpa Bus Stop: Pen y Pass Car Park

The Miners Path was originally built to carry copper from the Britannia Copper Works near Llyn Glaslyn to Pen y Pass. From here it was transported all the way to Caernarfon. The mines were later on abandoned in 1917, but their ruins can still be spotted on the path today. The Miners’ path is steeped in history!

The Miner’s Path is the perfect track if your main aim isn’t to reach the summit. Indeed the first part of it is very gentle and makes for an easy stroll. Starting at Pen-y-pass means you have considerably reduced the total. The path does however get considerably steeper closer towards the summit and in Winter you might find yourself incapable of reaching the summit without specialist gear.

Both the Miners Track and Pyg Track start at the Pen Y Pass Car Park. Make sure to start your journey early in the morning in order to get a parking space. If you don’t you will find yourself having to park in the overflow car park down the hill. The ensuing hike to the starting point is far more challenging than most of the Miners Path walk.

The actual route starts to the left of the car park and is clearly marked on the gate. For the first few kilometers, the Miners’ Track is essentially wide and very even.  The path continues to climb gradually as you pass Llyn Teyrn (the first lake) down below. Look out for the ruins of the old miners’ barracks near the shore. At Llyn Llydaw (the second lake), the path turns right to cross a causeway. The track then runs along the far side of the lake. You will now be able to spot the ruins of the old copper mines. Around the lake, the track almost completely flattens out. But the gradient soon increases, as the trail heads into the next valley. The path now steeply climbs up towards Llyn Glaslyn (the third and final lake). Here you will see some of the grandest mountain scenery in North Wales and despite the steady climb you soon forget the hard work as you enjoy the views.  From there on out the track becomes a hard climb. Follow the stony steps to the left of the old barracks uphill until you join the Pyg Track. From here the path is quite tricky to follow and can be easily lost in the mist. It is hard to climb and can be very slippery.  The path then zigzags up to Bwlch Glas, and on to the summit.

FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT CLIMBING SNOWDON

How to climb Mpunt Snowdon British Microtrips Beautifully Travelled
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Not done planning your trip to Snowdon yet? I have written a whole series on Snowdonia. Perhaps you might find one of these posts useful.

Oh and I created a video series too. So if you prefer the visual format to the written word, then you should watch our Find Your Epic in Wales Video Series

Have you hiked up Snowdon?
What was your favourite route up to the summit?
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ABOUT KATHARINA

Katharina is the founder, editor, photographer and the main travel writer at A Life Beautifully Travelled. She created this British family travel blog in 2017 to document her adventures around the globe with her husband. Born in Munich, Germany she has since lived in Dusseldorf, Paris, Glasgow, and London. She currently resides in Yorkshire with her family.

Katharina started travelling in her early teens and has explored over 4 continents, 16 countries, and 87 cities. Growing up trilingual and having graduated from an international school, she has a strong interest in other cultures. When she isn’t gallivanting around the globe or busy in her 9-to-5 job as an architect, she can be found exploring the UK (the country she currently calls home). There isn’t much Katharina, her husband and their son Finn love more than a fun family weekend getaway.

UK WEEKEND BREAKS > WALES

18 thoughts on “What you absolutely need to know before climbing Snowdon”

  1. I’m climbing Snowden on Saturday 6th October with a group from my church, we r raising funds for our team who r going to Uganda in November, we r building a medical centre, I’m praying I’m strong enough

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  2. Looking forward to climbing Snowdon in October with my wife as part of my 50th birthday celebrations. Always been on my bucket list and will be my first visit to Snowdonia so can’t wait. We are staying in Rhyd Ddu so will probably take that path up as it’s right outside the back door !!! but may well descend on a different path and take the Sherpa bus back to Rhyd Ddu thanks to your blogs info. Many thanks.

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  3. thank you for this blog. my hubby and I will be attempting one of the paths this summer. we are both in our 50s so reckon we will choose a moderate path. love walking but this will be a challenge – am so glad we came across your article as you answered a lot of our queries and also put our mind at rest too as we could see that the path you were on wasn’t as treacherous as I thought it might be. so once again, many thanks for your guidance!

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  4. What an incredible adventure! I can imagine the amount of planning it would take for a trip like this – thank you for writing and sharing this post as a wonderful resource to those looking to tackle the challenge! I’m a fan of winter hiking myself, and Snowdon looks like quite the feat 🙂

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  5. Snowdon has a dramatic landscape and it’s a dream to a lot of hikers. I think it always looks better with grey clouds – it sets the mood to the surrounding sceneries. It is the first time I see beautiful pictures of Snowdon in winter and it’s stunning! Thanks for the details and I will take note for the next hike! @knycx.journeying

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