Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa

Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa to use it’s Welsh name, stands at 1085 metres and is the highest mountain in Wales (and England). Its rugged beauty attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year, mainly walkers and climbers.

Located in the Northern area of Snowdonia National Park, Snowdon sits proudly in the centre of the stunning Snowdon Horseshoe surrounded by Lliwedd (898m/2946ft), Garnedd Ugain (1,065m/3494ft), and Crib Goch (921m/3022ft).

The mountain is designated as a national nature reserve for its rare flora and fauna, some of which such as the ‘Snowdon Lily’ is found nowhere else in Britain.

The summit offers some of the best views in Britain, from the nearby lakes, valleys, cwms and mountains of Snowdonia out to the Welsh coast line. On a clear day you could be lucky to see as far as England, Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

SNOWDON - GUIDED DAY WALKS
SNOWDON - GUIDED DAY WALKS
SNOWDON - SUNRISE
SNOWDON - SUNRISE
SNOWDON - SUNSET
SNOWDON - SUNSET
SNOWDON - CHARITIES
SNOWDON - CHARITIES
SNOWDON - CORPORATE
SNOWDON - CORPORATE
SNOWDON - PERSONAL/GROUP
SNOWDON - PERSONAL/GROUP

The Routes

Distance: 9 Miles / 14.6 Km

Time: 5-8 Hours

Start Height: 108m

Finish Height: 1085m

Height Gain: 977m

Llanberis Path at 4.5 miles is the longest and most gradual of the six main routes to the summit of Snowdon.

On the way up it offers fantastic views back towards Llanberis and the Dinorwig slate quarries with Elidir Fawr looking high above and to the west Moel Elio, Moel Cynghorion, Foel Goch and Foel Gron.

On a clear day you can see across the mountains and over the Menai straights towards Anglesey.

The path mainly follows the Snowdon Mountain Railway track, and goes by Hebron, Halfway and Clogwyn stations.

It starts in the village of Llanberis at an altitude of 108m by the Snowdon Mountain railway station. The path (although starting with a steep tarmac section which isn’t the best introduction to the mountain) climbs steadily uphill via a rocky path until you reach Hebron gate at 352m after about 1.2 miles (2 km).

The going gets easier here for a while as we climb towards half way house, which many people think is halfway distance to the summit. It is actually just over halfway distance at 2.4 miles (4 km) with 2.1 miles (3.3 km) left to the summit. It is the height which is halfway as it is at 540m.

If the café is open its always good to pop in and say hello as they team do a remarkable job in keeping people fed and watered most of the year!

The path continues to climb steady at first until we arrive at the Allt Moses steps at 3 miles (4.8 km) and 645m in height.

For the next 0.3 miles (0.5 km) the path climbs steeply on steps and rocky paths as we quickly gain 135m in height before arriving at Clogwyn station bridge.

Clogwyn Bridge is at 3.4 miles (5.4 km) and 780m in height and once through under the bridge we have fantastic views down into Cwm Hetiau, Nant Peris and across to the Glyderau mountain range.

Cwm Hetiau is another name for Cwm Glas Bach, where history tells us that farmers in the Victorian era, used to find hats there, blown off heads of female railway passengers from Clogwyn station.

Continuing above Clogwyn bridge we ascend steeply via a difficult scree slope (much eroded over the last few years by people and water). This is seen as the most difficult section of the route so care is need both in ascent and descent.

Once above the convex slope the going again gets easier as we head towards Bwlch Glas at 990m in height. Here you will see the junction of paths (Ranger path, Crib Goch and Pyg Track) that come together for the final few hundred metres to the summit.

Take a moment to view the spectacular ridge of Crib Goch (red ridge) and down into the Cwm that holds Llyn Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw reservoir.

From here it is just under 0.4 miles (0.6km) to the summit of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest mountain in Wales at 1085m!

(For our descent we simply reverse the route back to Llanberis)

Distance:  7.4 Miles / 12 Km

Time: 4-6 Hours

Start Height: 360m

Finish Height: 1085m

Height Gain: 725m

The Pyg track ascent at 3.3miles (5.4km) in distance is the shortest of the 6 routes to the summit of Snowdon. The return is via the Miners path and is just over 4.1miles (6.6km)

The route starts at Pen y Pass car park at the top of the Llanberis pass although we usually meet at the Snowdon Mountain Railway station and take the Sherpa bus service to the start.

Pen y Pass is already at 360m in height which also makes this route (and the Miners) the lowest height gain required to the summit of Snowdon (good news!)

As the path leaves Pen y Pass you will climb steeply over rough and rocky terrain for 1 mile (1.6km) gaining just over 200m in height, until we arrive at Bwlch y Moch (pass of the pigs or the crag of the pass of the pigs).

As we walk, on a clear day the views are fantastic over the Glyderau Range and down into the Llanberis Pass and once at Bwlch y Moch we see down into Llyn LLydaw reservoir.

In 1905, a 1.2mile (2 km) pipeline was built from the Llyn into the valley below and water from the Llyn powers the Cwm Dyli hydro-electric power station 320m below.

It is at this point that the correct decision has to be made as a ladder style to the right will lead you up the famous Grib Goch ridge!

As we contour round the ridge leading up to Crib Goch the dramatic peak of Snowdon comes into full view with the dark imposing crags of Clogwyn y Garnedd  and Bwlch y Saethau (translated Pass of the Arrows).

Miners from Beddgelert used to climb over this pass to work, with the help of iron chains fixed to the rock.

Legend has it that this is the place where King Arthur was struck by an arrow in battle. He was then carried to the shore of Llyn Llydaw, where a boat with three maidens came to take him away through the mist to Afallon (Avalon).

At just under 2.5 miles (4.1km) we reach a standing stone at 735m in height that is the intersection of the Pyg and Miners track (our decent route). The terrain under foot gets a little trickier at times as we ascend steeply up via the zig zags to Bwlch Glas.

Bwlch Glas at 990m in height is where you will see the junction of paths for the Llanberis path, Ranger path, Crib Goch and Pyg Track that come together for the final few hundred metres to the summit.

Take a moment to view the spectacular ridge of Crib Goch (red ridge) and down into the Cwm that holds Llyn Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw reservoir.

From here it is just under 0.4 miles (0.6km) to the summit of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest mountain in Wales at 1085m!

Our descent begins by retracing our steps to Bwlch Glas then steeply down to the intersect of the Pyg and Miners Track.

At this point we do not continue on the Pyg track, instead we again head steeply downhill on rocky terrain until we reach Llyn Glaslyn (blue lake) at around 600m in height.

Glaslyn is the source of the Afon Glaslyn, the major river of Gwynedd, which runs east to the reservoir of Llyn Llydaw before turning south-west to reach the sea at Porthmadog.

From here it is a very straight forward but beautiful walk back along the track as we descend 240m in height over the next 3 miles (5km) via the old Brittania copper mine workings and buildings down to Pen y Pass.

 

Distance:  7.4 Miles / 12 Km

Time: 4-6 Hours

Start Height: 360m

Finish Height: 1085m

Height Gain: 725m

The Miners path ascent at 4.1 miles (6.6km) in distance is the third longest of the 6 routes to the summit of Snowdon. The return is via the Pyg Track path and is just over 3.3 miles (5.4km)

The route starts at Pen y Pass car park at the top of the Llanberis pass although we usually meet at the Snowdon Mountain Railway station and take the Sherpa bus service to the start.

Pen y Pass is already at 360m in height which also makes this route (and the Pyg) the lowest height gain required to the summit of Snowdon (good news!)

The Miners’ Track was built to serve the Britannia Copper Mine on Snowdon but it is not the route originally used to serve the mine.

In the beginning, miners carried the copper up the eastern side of Snowdon, to be drawn down the other side to Llyn Cwellyn by a sledge drawn by two horses and then via horses and cart to Caernarfon.

The wide and easy under foot path winds gently upwards via Llyn Teyrn until it reaches the causeway at Llyn Llydaw reservoir after 1.5 miles (2.5km). The height gain at this point has only been a gentle 96m.

In 1905, a 1.2mile (2 km) pipeline was built from the Llyn into the valley below and water from the Llyn powers the Cwm Dyli hydro-electric power station 320m below.

We continue around Llyn Llydaw until we reach the old Brittania copper mine workings and buildings.

The copper mine is located at Cwn Dyli and its ruined crushing mill can be found next to the shore of Llyn Llydaw. The mine was worked periodically for just over a hundred years and most of the buildings date from the late 19th Century.

From here, the path climbs steeply to Llyn Glaslyn at 600m in height at just over 2.7 miles (4.3km) into the route with the imposing crags of Bwlch y Saethau (Pass of the Arrows) tower above us.

Legend has it that this is the place where King Arthur was struck by an arrow in battle. He was then carried to the shore of Llyn Llydaw, where a boat with three maidens came to take him away through the mist to Afallon (Avalon).

The next 0.5 mile (0.8km) section of the route becomes a hard climb, as we gain over 140m in height, over scree towards the intersection of the Miners’ and the Pyg Track at 740m.

Technically now we are on the Pyg Track and the path then zigzags upwards, covering over 260m in height gain in just over half a mile (0.8km) as we literally “pop out” onto Bwlch Glas!

Bwlch Glas at 990m in height is where you will see the junction of paths for the Llanberis path, Ranger path, Crib Goch and Pyg Track that come together for the final few hundred metres to the summit.

Take a moment to view the spectacular ridge of Crib Goch (red ridge) and down into the Cwm that holds Llyn Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw reservoir.

From here it is just under 0.4 miles (0.6km) to the summit of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest mountain in Wales at 1085m!

Our descent begins by retracing our steps to Bwlch Glas then steeply down 260m to the intersect of the Pyg and Miners Track. At this point we do not take the steep scree slope back down to Llyn LLydaw below, instead we carry on straight ahead on the Pyg Track route.

We contour around the flanks of Crib Goch for approximately 1.25 miles (2.25km) until we reach Bwlch Moch (pass of the pigs or the crag of the pass of the pigs). At Bwlch Moch, on a clear day the views are fantastic over the Glyderau Range and down into the Llanberis Pass.

It is at this point, for people ascending Snowdon via the Pyg Track that the correct decision has to be made, as a ladder style to the right will lead you up the famous Grib Goch ridge!

The final 1 mile (1.7km) of descent requires attention and care over rocky terrain as we descend 210m in height back to our start point at Pen y Pass.

Distance:  7.7 Miles / 12.4 Km

Time: 4-6 Hours

Start Height: 191m

Finish Height: 1085m

Height Gain: 894m

Snowdon’s South Ridge (Allt Maenderyn) is one of the quieter gems of all the routes up Snowdon. So much so that it is not even listed as one of the six official routes to the summit!

On a bank holiday weekend, the other routes up Snowdon can be lined with 1000’s of people taking on their own personal challenges where on the South Ridge you may only see a handful of people (until you reach the summit!!).

The route starts from the Rhyd Ddu (Black Ford), station car park which is part of the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway, which was built in 1881 to transport dressed slate in North Wales.

The initial quarry path makes easy going for the first mile (1.6km) as we only gain 131m in height. Whilst this walk is called the South Ridge this first section (and part of the decent) is known as the Rhyd Ddu path.

At a junction of paths, we detour away from the main Rhyd Ddu path by taking the old quarry track that heads east. It is here that the feeling of total isolation comes quickly as we meander slowly upwards towards the old quarry workings. Looking to our right we will see the imposing summit of Y Aran that stands at 747m.

Cwm y Llan quarries were a series of blue slate quarries and mines, with tips, mills, tramways and other buildings said to be from around the 1840’s and was known as the Snowdon Slate Quarry.

It is worth taking the time to wander through these old workings (with care) and to peer down into the vast pits created over time.

Continuing, we climb another 80m in height until we reach the saddle/col named as Bwlch Cwm Llan. The views down into Cwm Llan with the Watkin path and the Nant Gwynant valley are breathtakingly beautiful.

The good news is that we are now already at 513m in height, however, over the next 1.6 miles (2.6km) we have over 572m to go before reaching the summit. A tough ascent but well worth the effort.

We begin by leaving Bwlch Cwm Llan by heading steeply uphill (heading North) via a rocky ridge. The ridge is wide enough not to cause any worries with exposure at all as we pick our route upwards.

As we climb up to the spot height 704m at Allt Maenderyn the excitement level will build as we begin to see the narrowing ridge up ahead.

We cross a ladder stile and then begin the steepest section of the route where we climb over 210m in just over half a mile (0.8km) above the crags of Clogwyn Du to reach the intersect of the South Ridge and official Rhyd Ddu routes at Bwlch Main (narrow or slim pass).

We are now at 910m on the narrow ridge with 400m drops either side into the Cwms below, however the path is wide enough and easy underfoot and care is only required in a couple of places. From here the summit will be in view, its pyramid shape poking out above the crags ahead.

The final 0.3 miles (0.5km) to the summit is straightforward with a small steep scree section to finish just below Snowdon café and then up the steps to the summit of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest mountain in Wales at 1085m!

Our descent begins by retracing our steps to Bwlch Main to the intersect of the South Ridge and Rhyd Ddu paths before taking a right in a fork to join the official Rhyd Ddu path.

We continue to descend steeply above Cwm Clogwyn as we contour around via Llechog to a wall line. We are now at 752m in height and 5.2 miles (8.3km) into our walk.

On a fine day we will see across to the Moel Hebog range, the Nantle ridge and out to the coast.

The next 1.6 miles (2.6km) of the walk down is a mixture of rocky paths, loose scree, well maintained footpaths and slightly boggy sections which adds to the fun!

We arrive back at the intersect of paths where we first headed east many hours ago towards the south ridge. Now we simply continue on the gravel slate track that we started on to return to our start point at Rhyd Ddu station car park.

Distance:  8 Miles / 13.0 Km

Time: 5-7 Hours

Start Height: 58m

Finish Height: 1085m

Height Gain: 1027m

The Watkin Path starts nearest to sea level out of all the Snowdon routes at 58m thus giving over 1027m of ascent!

The path was originally opened in 1892 by the then Prime Minister William Gladstone and was the first designated footpath in Britain.

The path is named after Sir Edward Watkin, Liberal Member of Parliament and a railway entrepreneur who was responsible for creating the path from the South Snowdon Slate Quarry near his summer home.

The route begins at a car park at the bottom of the Nant Gwynant valley and lies almost equal distance between Llyn Dinas and Llyn Gwynant.

Crossing over the road the path immediately takes you into an ancient woodland before passing waterfalls to our right as we start to gain height around Clogwyn Brith. Here we will see one of the disused quarry inclines that were part of the old quarry workings.

We head upwards through the Cwm always keeping Afon Cwm-Llan on our right with the steep cliffs of Y Lliwedd up above.

Just after 1.2 miles (2km) and at 260m in height we reach a junction of paths, we take the one that continues straight on and crosses over the river. The other path from the left being our descent route.

Continuing for approximately 0.25 miles (0.4km) we arrive at Gladstone Rock, where William Gladstone addressed a crowd of over 2000 people from the rock on the side of the path.

The going is easy until we reach the old quarry workings below Craig Ddu and then the path gets steeper as we climb over 360m in just over 1 mile (1.7km) to reach Bwlch Ciliau (Pass of the retreat) at 744m.

Here you will see staggering views of Snowdon, Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd.

The next short section to Bwlch y Saethau is relatively straight forward with only approximately 70m of height gain in 0.4 miles (0.6km).

However, from here to the summit is only 0.5 miles (0.9km) but we still have over 275m of height gain, so a tough little section, however in recent years a lot of time, money and effort has been put into laying almost 140 tonnes of stone to improve the path up the scree slope.

At the junction of the Watkin/South Ridge path the hard work is almost over as we only have 80m to climb to the summit up past the Snowdon café and then up the steps to the summit of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest mountain in Wales at 1085m!

Our descent begins by retracing our steps to the intersect of the South Ridge/Watkin paths and taking the south ridge path instead and continuing on down towards Bwlch Main.

We are now at 910m on the narrow ridge with 400m drops either side into the Cwms below, however the path is wide enough and easy underfoot and care is only required in a couple of places. From here the whole of the South Ridge will be in view, with spectacular views across to Yr Aran, Moel Hebog range and the Nantlle Ridge.

The descent is very steep, sometimes on very loose scree so care will be needed and we will “zig-zag” our way down the slope to arrive at the spot height 704m at Allt Maenderyn.

From here the going is a little easier although there are a couple of very short scrambles to overcome, nothing too difficult with care.

We soon arrive at the saddle/col named as Bwlch Cwm Llan. The views down into Cwm Llan with the Watkin path below and the Nant Gwynant valley are breathtakingly beautiful.

Descending east now into Cwm Llan will make you really appreciate what you have just achieved as the high peaks of Snowdon and Y Lliwedd tower above us. We follow an easy if boggy at times path down heading towards our original ascent path which we pick up just a few hundred metres below Gladstone rock.

From here we take our time as we retrace our steps back to the start of the walk.

Distance:  10.8 Miles / 17.4 Km

Time: 6-8 Hours

Start Height: 147m

Finish Height: 1085m

Height Gain: 938m

The Ranger Path is one of the quieter routes to the summit of Snowdon. Thought to be one of the earliest it was used to carry copper ore from the Britannia Copper Mine up the eastern side of the mountain.

The path was named in English after a mountain guide called John Morton who called himself the ‘Snowdon Ranger’ and would guide visitors to the summit of Snowdon along this path.

Starting at Llyn Cwellyn the path zig zags quite steeply around Moel Cynghorion, Blwch Cwn Brwynog and over Clogwyn Du’r Arddu with stunning views of Llechog ridge and Cwm Clogwyn.

The path then joins the Llanberis Path on to the summit

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