Guide to Climbing Snowdon - Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Climbing snowdon this summer

a complete guide to Wales’ tallest mountain 

Adventure Parc Snowdonia is desirably based for conquering Snowdon and many other mountains in the surrounding ranges. Just a short drive away from several of the carparks used to access the walking paths, we provide a comfortable, luxury base for those who want to get the best out of the great outdoors. 

Wales is known for playing a pivotal part in the Three Peaks Challenge, and many of our guests take advantage of our Wave Garden Spa next door for a restful and restorative spa session for any aching muscles. Located in a prime position for outdoor adventure, our guests are able to curate their own itinerary based entirely around hiking Wales’ tallest mountain. 

For that reason, we’ve compiled this short guide to scaling Snowdon.

About Snowdon 

The highest mountain in both England and Wales, Snowdon, known in Welsh as Yr Wyddfa, is an iconic landmark that is climbed by over 500,000 people each year. The highest point of the Snowdon massif, the summit sits at 1085 metres above sea level and is flanked by the ranges of Glyderau, Carneddau, Moel Winion and Moel Hebog. Shaped by rocks formed during the Ordovician period, the typically alpine topography that we explore today is the result of glacial erosion and movements from millennia ago. 

The craggy outcrop of Snowdon is characterised by its many cwms (valleys) which are home to several lakes. The largest lake, Llyn Llydaw, sits at a height of 440m up the mountain and features a causeway crossing that was originally built in 1853. Once the site of a 10ft dugout canoe, the lake is also the deepest, with depths of up to 58m. 

Snowdon was the chosen training site for the first men to conquer Everest, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. 

Which path to take up Snowdon? 

There are a choice of six different paths for conquering Snowdon, which differ little in mileage but substantially in difficulty. The paths themselves are known as: 

  • The Snowdon Ranger Path – a good Snowdon walk for avoiding the crowds
  • Pyg Track – the Snowdon path with the least elevation gain
  • Miners Track – the best Snowdon route for views
  • Llanberis Path – the easiest walk up Snowdon for beginners
  • Watkins Path – the most challenging Snowdon route
  • Rhyd Ddu – the quietest Snowdon trek

The Snowdon Ranger Path is the oldest and quietest path to Snowdon’s summit, taking between 6 and 7 hours to complete. Spanning 8 miles and climbing 936m in total, the path is named the ‘Ranger Path’ after John Morton. Morton was a local guide who used this route to take tourists up the mountain during the Victorian era. Starting out from the Llyn Cwellyn car park, the path is initially steep as it zig-zags up from the valley floor before evening out into easier terrain for the rest of the climb. While scenic and sweeping with views of the Nantlle Ridge, Moel Hebog and Mynydd Mawr, the path isn’t as dramatic as some of the other routes, which is perhaps why it is often quieter.

The Pyg Track is the shortest route up Snowdon, with the least amount of elevation gain at 723m. Taking about 7 hours to complete, the Pyg Track (pronounced ‘pig’) begins at the Pen Y Pass car park, which must be pre booked in advance due to its popularity. A rough and rugged trail of 7 miles, this particular track has some sections of scrambling along Crib Goch, which means only experienced hikers and climbers should opt to follow it. Along this route, you’ll enjoy the ‘classic Snowdon view’ of Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn, as well as the epic outcrop of Crib Goch and Y LLiwedd.  

The Miners Track is often considered the best route for views, with sweeping scenery of both lake and mountain. Typically taking 7 hours to conquer, the Miners is 8 miles in total and begins very gradually, with striking views of the summit ahead. Also beginning from the popular Pen-Y-Pass car park, climbers taking this route during summer will need to pre-book their parking space and arrive early. Climbing 750m in total, the Miners track runs parallel to the Pyg trail which means you can take one up and a different one down if you’d like to mix things up. 

The Llanberis Path is the longest route up Snowdon at 9 miles in length. It is also the most popular route, due to its accessibility and easy terrain. The Llanberis track starts out from Llanberis itself, where the ‘Path to Snowdon’ is signposted from the Royal Victoria Hotel. It is the best path to take if you’re heading up with children or for the first time, taking anywhere from 5 to 7 hours to complete. You’ll climb 975m over a longer period than the other tracks, making for an easier ascent. 

The Watkin Path is the most challenging of the six trails, taking around 8 hours and climbing an impressive 1,015m over 8 miles. If you’re an experienced walker who really wants to ‘climb’ Snowdon, this is the path for you. The factors that make Watkin so difficult include loose scree near the summit, a small ridge section and steep climbs with loose, eroded rock underfoot. The Watkin Path is also considered the most rewarding, with unique features such as old quarry workers’ barracks, the Afon Cwm Llan waterfalls and the popular Watkin Pools, which make for a pleasant, scenic dip in bracing emerald waters during the descent. This trail begins from the car park at Pont Bethania, from which you’ll need to walk along a main road until you reach Hafod y Llan, where you’ll see the stone ‘Watkin Path’ pillar. 

Finally, the Rhyd Ddu Path is the one to choose if you’re looking to avoid the hordes of tourists, being the quietest route of all six. Climbing a total of 895m in 7.5 miles, the path conveniently also has its own car park, the Rhyd Ddu car park. Providing both the classic view of Snowdon along with alternative angles of Nantlle Ridge and Moel Hebog, the trail covers a combination of ridge and stone path and can be combined with the South Ridge Path for a circular walk. 

Where can I park for walking snowdon? 

Most of the tracks up Snowdon begin from the Pen y Pass carpark, which must be pre-booked in advance. Other trails begin from Llyn Cwellyn and Post Bethania carparks, which are both pay and display. There is also a Sherpa bus service, which connects many of the starting points with many local towns including Betws y Coed, Llanberis and Caernarfon. Find out more about carparks for climbing Snowdon and the Snowdon Sherpa Bus Service here.  

What to take with you when climbing Snowdon  

As mentioned, the conditions on Snowdon (and in the surrounding peaks) are subject to volatile, drastic changes. For that reason, we recommend packing the following in a rucksack for your adventure: 

  • A waterproof jacket & trousers
  • A hat and gloves
  • Suncream & sunglasses
  • Any required medication or inhalers
  • Water 
  • High-energy snacks 
  • A map of the area & a compass
  • Emergency supplies such as a whistle and a headtorch 
  • You might also want to take a camera and binoculars so that you can make the most of the scenery around you 

What time of year is best for hiking Snowdon? 

While the weather does vary during the seasons in this part of Wales, the conditions on the summit are always subject to change – for perspective, the summit sits at the same altitude as some of the lower ski resorts in the Chamonix Valley, such as Domaine de Balme. For that reason, the best time of year to climb Snowdon is during the summer months on dry, clear days. 

Ultimately, the months of July and August tend to offer the most stable conditions for climbing Snowdon, but you should plan ahead, avoid wet weather and always be prepared to call it off if necessary.

other important THINGS TO NOTE WHEN CLIMBING SNOWDON 

Despite the busy-ness and popularity of Snowdon, fatal accidents still occur. Each year, the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team responds to between 180-210 incidents, where volunteers risk their lives to save others. For that reason, you should be prepared for the elements and appropriately dressed in hiking clothing and shoes. The Llanberis MRT also recommends giving someone a copy of your route with timings, and knowing how to use a compass and a map – which you should have on your person. At the summit of Snowdon, the weather can be very different to the base, and the wind speed can accelerate by up to 3 times, meaning you should pack layers, high-energy snacks and always begin to descend if the weather takes a turn for the worse. All Snowdon car parks are incredibly busy on weekends, often filling up before 8am. It’s important you start out your adventure early in order to avoid descending in the dark. Finally – always take your rubbish with you.

Book your stay with us & climb snowdon 

Want to conquer Wales’ tallest mountain and enjoy an endless amount of adventures alongside it? Book your room today.

© Adventure Parc Snowdonia Ltd trading as Surf Snowdonia & Adventure Parc Snowdonia. Adventure Parc Snowdonia Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 8220978. Registered office: 21 Oakland House, Hope Carr Road, Leigh, Lancashire WN7 3ET

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