Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), the behemoth of British mountains, stands majestically in the heart of North Wales, offering a myriad of paths to its summit. Each path to the top has its own unique personality, some more well-trodden than others.
Our latest blog guides you along the most popular and the less-trodden trails to the summit. Whether you enjoy the camaraderie of fellow walkers or prefer the calm serenity of the mountains, there's definitely a walk to suit you here.
So grab your backpack and lace up your boots as we climb England and Wales's highest mountain together.
1. Traverse the Llanberis Path
- 4.3 miles, 945 metres climb
This hiking adventure begins from the quaint village ofLlanberis, hugging a gradual ridge for an almost nine miles round-trip. It offers a spectacularly unspoiled view of the mountain's landscape and is undoubtedly the most popular choice for walkers summiting Yr Wyddfa. A word of warning: this route can be extremely busy at weekends and during the school holidays!
While some experienced walkers might find it less thrilling, it's important to remember that even the most unassuming routes can yield unexpected surprises. One particular point of interest is the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Following the same route as the Llanberis Path for the majority of the journey, the railway offers a unique touch of charm and history.
2. Set foot on the Ranger's Path
- 3.7 miles, 900 metres climb
Starting on the tranquil shores of Llyn Cwellyn, this path is less frequently travelled, making it a more solitary sojourn up the mountain. The route zig-zags through a rugged terrain towards a pass between the lesser-known peak of Moel Cyngorion and the towering cliff face of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu.
If you're fit enough, turn the trip into a circuit and combine it with the Rhyd Ddu Path by using the Welsh Highland Railway to join the two up.
3. Ascend the RhyD Ddu Path
- 3.7 miles, 860 metres climb
Starting from the small mountain village of Rhyd Ddu (best known as a station stop on the Welsh Highland Railway), this path winds through the scenic countryside before leading hikers on an arduous journey up the scree-strewn ridge of Llechog.
It narrows down to Bwlch Main, where a calm head for heights is a must. The climb culminates in a rocky scramble towards the peak, presenting a challenging yet exhilarating experience.
4. Step onto the Watkin Path
- 3.7 miles, 1,000 metres climb
Commencing at Pont Bethania in the stunning Nant Gwynant Valley, the Watkin Path offers the most substantial climb of all. Aside from its physical demands, this path is bursting with historical and natural landmarks.
Among other things, you'll see old tramways from its mining days, the 'infinity pools' and waterfalls made famous on Instagram, a rock where Prime Minister William Gladstone once gave a political speech and a long-forgotten hillside cemetery.
5. Tread the Miners Track
- 3.7 miles, 765 metres climb
The Miners Track starts at Pen-y-Pass, and while the initial part of the route may seem relatively flat, it lulls walkers into a false sense of security. As you cross Llyn Llydaw, the path transforms into a challenging mountain trail, leading towards the mighty Glaslyn and the notorious zig-zags of the Pyg Track, offering an engaging mix of landscapes.
Be aware that Pen-y-Pass at the top of Llanberis Path has limited parking - on busy days the car park can be full from very early morning. If visiting by car, take note of the Clearways signs - you will get a ticket or even be towed if you park on the road here. This became a particular problem during Lockdown and continues to challenge the National Park Authority on busy weekends and Bank Holidays.
Staying at the Royal Victoria Hotel? Catch the bus from the Llanberis Interchange stop (a short walk from the hotel) to Pen-y-Pass. The Sherpa bus runs from 7am from Llanberis with the last bus back down around 7:30pm. Check the timetable here.
6. Navigate the Pyg Track
- 3.1 miles, 700 metres climb
The Pyg Track originates from Pen-y-Pass and journeys through the northern base of Crib Goch, where hikers are met with challenging zig-zags.
The terrain can become quite precarious in icy weather, and the journey ends with a steep climb to the summit, making this track an adventure in itself.
7. Complete the Snowdon Horseshoe
- 7 miles, 1,100 metres climb
For those who relish a challenging hike, the Snowdon Horseshoe is a must-do. Commencing from Pen-y-Pass, the route includes an arduous journey along the knife-edge ridge of Crib Goch.
The Snowdon Horseshoe is not for the faint-hearted but promises an experience like no other. After crossing Crib Goch's daunting ridge, hikers will pass the formidable pinnacles before ascending Carnedd Ugain and reaching the summit of Yr Wyddfa. From there, hikers continue along the Watkin Path to Bwlch-y-Saethau, then climbing Y Lliwedd's sharp ridges.
The descent along the Miner's Track will bring you back to Pen-y-Pass, where a sense of achievement and exhilaration (not to mention exhaustion) awaits!
8. Board the Snowdon Mountain Railway
For those who prefer a leisurely journey to the summit, the Snowdon Mountain Railway offers a delightful alternative. With over 120 years of history, the railway offers a panoramic journey from Llanberis all the way to the summit's newly reopened complex.
The train journey takes about an hour, and it's a popular choice for people to travel up by rail and walk back down using the Llanberis Path. However, caution is advised, as the descent can be tough on your joints.
9. Embark on the Moel Eilio / Llechog ridge loop
- 11.2 miles, 1,530 metres climb
If you seek solitude and are up for a rigorous challenge, this route could be an excellent choice. The journey begins in the heart of Llanberis, following a rough trail towards the quiet summit of Moel Eilio. Hikers will then traverse a ridge encompassing Foel Gron, Foel Goch, and Moel Cyngorion, before picking up the Ranger's Path to the summit.
The descent, via the Llanberis Path, will take you past Carnedd Ugain, walking for a while with the intrepid scramblers of Crib Goch. Lastly, you will follow the grassy Llechog Ridge back to the village, rounding off an intense but rewarding hiking adventure.
Stay with us
We hope we've inspired your next North Wales adventure, so why not stay with us to tackle Yr Wyddfa?
We are perfectly located at the start of the Llanberis Path or, if you're planning to take one of the other routes, the Sherpa bust stops just a short distance from the hotel too. Not the hiking type? No problem. The Snowdon Mountain Railway is just across the road from the hotel and is now travelling all the way to the summit for the first time since before Lockdown. With Hafod Eryri, the Summit Visitor Centre, now open you can enjoy a cuppa accompanied by some of the finest views in the UK.