Standing at a staggering 1085 meters above sea level, Mount Snowdon is the largest mountain in all of Wales and the 2nd largest in the United Kingdom. It is also one of the most popular.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people venture to Snowdonia National Park, where the mountain is situated. There, they hike the various scenic trails that have earned the mountain national nature reserve status.
If you haven’t climbed Mount Snowdon before, the thought of doing so can be quite intimidating. That’s where we come in. We’ve put together this comprehensive itinerary designed to help first-timers conquer Wales’ mightiest mountain.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know before attempting to walk up Snowdon. Happy climbing!
Mount Snowdon Trails
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Snowdon Ranger is one of the most historic trails on the mountain. It takes its name from John Morton, who liked to refer to himself as the “Snowdon Ranger”.
In keeping with that title, he regularly led tourists in excursions across the trail. He also opened a tavern near the beginning of the route, which he aptly named The Snowdon Ranger Inn.
Today, the tavern is no longer in business, which is a good thing because you don’t want to be climbing a mountain with a belly full of beer.
The building that was once the tavern has been converted into a hostel, which is a great place to stay if you want to start your climb early in the day.
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Pyg Track is the most mysterious of Snowdon’s trails. It is unknown when hikers first began walking the trail. Similarly, it is uncertain where the name ‘Pyg Track’ comes from.
Some say it is named for the pig merchants who used to cross the path while travelling to markets. Others claim it takes its name from the Pen y Gwryd Hostel, where many travellers stayed before climbing the trail.
While there is much about the Pyg Track that is unclear, we do know that it is absolutely beautiful.
For the six hours it takes to walk this track, you will be surrounded by some of the most beautiful plants, trees, and wildlife in the UK.
Llanberis Path (Recommended)
Difficulty Level: Beginner
If you want an easier time while you hike Snowdon routes, we suggest going with the Llanberis Path.
The Llanberis Path is the most forgiving of the mountain’s hiking trails. It can be crossed by the elderly and injured with minimal effort, meaning everybody can enjoy the thrill of climbing Mount Snowdon.
Unsurprisingly, the ease with which Llanberis Path can be crossed has led to it becoming the most popular trail on the mountain.
This means you should be sure to get an early start if you’re planning on going with this route. If you wait until afternoon to begin your hike, you run the risk of getting stuck behind slower hikers.
Check out this super video done by Kirsten & Joerg.
Difficulty Level: Expert
Watkin Path sits near to the former home of Sir Edward Watkin.
Watkin was a member of British parliament in the 19th century. He also played a crucial role in expanding the rail system across the United Kingdom.
The trail which bears his name is markedly steeper than the other trails on Mount Snowdon. As such, we don’t suggest going this route unless you are an experienced hiker.
Even seasoned hikers may find Watkins Path to be a bit of a challenge, the magnificent sights and sounds you’ll experience on the way are more than worth the extra effort.
Climbing Mount Snowdon via this route is no easy task!
Rhyd Ddu Path
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Rhyd Ddu Path started off life as Beddgelert Path.
While under this name, it was used almost exclusively as a pony path. Ponies can still be seen there today, but it has become primarily a hiking trail.
It takes its modern name from the Welsh village of Rhyd-Ddu.
Both the village and the path are situated close to the Welsh Highland Railway Station. We suggest taking a train to the beginning of the trail so you can conserve your energy for the hike ahead.
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Miner’s Track is one of the most popular routes among those who regularly walk up Snowdon. It’s popularity can be attributed to its easy start.
For the first couple of miles, Miner’s Track is straight and unobstructive. As the path goes on, however, it becomes more challenging.
The final mile of the hike is particularly steep. Frequent blackspots make things all the more dangerous. Because of how tricky the final quarter of Miner’s Track can be, we don’t suggest choosing it as your first trail when climbing Mount Snowdon.
Recommended Equipment for Climbing Mount Snowdon
Like any hiking excursion, climbing Snowdon requires specific equipment to reach the summit safely and swiftly.
Here are the most important pieces of gear for walking up Snowdon.
- Walking Pole
- Hydration Bladder
- Sun Hat
- First Aid Kit
- Rain Jacket
- Thermal Layering
Snowdon’s trails are pretty straightforward and quite well patrolled. As such, it is extremely unlikely that you will get lost and end up on the mountain overnight.
Nevertheless, those who want to play things safe should bring along a shelter of some sort to provide cover in an emergency situation.
Climbing Mount Snowdon Itinerary
The trails of Mount Snowdon may vary in environment and conditions, but all can be completed in a similar amount of time.
Most hikers climbing Mount Snowdon can reach the summit and return within six hours.
The below itinerary can be followed by anybody who attempts to walk up Snowdon, regardless of the route they choose.
10:00 AM: Begin Hike
Climbing Snowdon requires an early start, but not as early as some larger mountains.
10:00 AM is the ideal time to start climbing the mountain as it ensures you’ll have plenty of daylight for the beginning of your trek.
Start any earlier and there is a chance you’ll have to complete the first portion of your hike in darkness, which could lead to disaster.
Additionally, most tourists don’t arrive at Snowdonia National Park until later in the day, so you can begin your hike in the solitude that is necessary to fully experience the sights and sounds of the mountain.
12:30 PM: Stop For Lunch
From the beginning of your hike straight through to 12:30 PM, you should be on the move. This is the longest portion of the walk, but it’s also the time that you’ll have the most energy, so you’d be a fool not to utilize it.
By 12:30 PM, you’ll be more than a third of the way up the mountain. This is the perfect time to stop for lunch and enjoy the nature that surrounds you.
Even if you’re not particularly hungry, you should be sure to stop for rest at 12:30 PM. While you may feel like you can continue walking, pausing for rest at this juncture will allow you to rest up and replenish your energy.
Remember to choose wisely when packing snacks for your hike. You need to pack nutritional foods that you can draw energy from, as opposed to junk foods that will slow you down.
Some of the snacks we suggest bringing along are:
- Trail Mix
- Protein Bars
- Ham/Cheese/Tuna Sandwiches
- Granola Bars
- Carrot Sticks
- Peanut Butter
- Nuts and Seeds
1:00 PM: Resume Hike
We suggest pausing for a full half hour. This will give you time to enjoy and digest your lunch.
When the clock strikes 1:00 PM, you should get moving again. You should continue walking until 3:00 PM, making this portion of the hike shorter and less taxing than the starting walk.
3:00 PM: Pause For Rest
By 3:00 PM, the bulk of your hike will be behind you. While this is an accomplishment in itself, it’s important to remember that you still have an hour and a half to go.
To make sure you have the energy to complete the trek, you should pause for a short rest at this point. If you have a small snack – which we recommend bringing along – this is the time to eat it.
Don’t get too comfortable though!
The evening is approaching and darkness may soon start to fall. You don’t want to hike in darkness, so you should be moving again by 3:15 PM.
3:15 PM: Begin Final Ascent
3:15 PM marks the beginning of your final ascent.
Most of the mountain’s trails become steeper and more challenging as they near the summit. To compound the difficulties of the final portion of your hike, tiredness will start to set in at this point, even with your rest.
The good news that this is the shortest section of the hike. As long as you trudge on without stopping, you’ll be at the summit of Mount Snowdon by 4:45 PM.
4:45 PM: Enjoy The View!
At the summit of Mount Snowdon, you’ll be 1085 meters above sea level. From there, you’ll see some spectacular views of the Welsh countryside to which no photograph could do credit.
We suggest taking 45 minutes to relax and enjoy the view from the top of Snowdon. After all, you earned it!
You should also use this time to check out the Summit Café. There, you can enjoy a selection of hot beverages and snacks while you reflect on a climb well done.
5:00 Board Train To Base
When you walk up Snowdon, get a train down from the summit. This will allow you to enjoy your time at the top without worrying about another three hour hike to your base.
The summit houses a train station, with trains departing to the bottom of the mountain every half hour. Make sure you get a window seat, because you’ll see many more amazing sights to compliment what you saw while climbing Snowdon!
Train Timetable and Prices
Starting in May of 2021, Snowdon Mountain Railway will be operating return journeys to the mountain’s summit every 30 minutes.
The train departs from Llanberis, with a half hour stop-over at Clogwyn.
It returns to Llanberis from Hanford Eryri Visitor Centre, again with a 30 minute stop-over at Clogwyn.
All in all, a return journey takes about two and a half hours. However, many people prefer to take the train only one way.
The most popular option is to travel up the mountain by foot and take the train down, as outlined in the itinerary above.
If you would rather take the train to the summit and walk back to base, you should take advantage of the railway’s 9 AM early bird discount and follow the below itinerary.
- 9:00 AM: Board Train To Summit
- 10:30 AM: Enjoy The View!
- 11:45 PM: Begin Hike
- 2:15 PM: Stop For Lunch
- 2:45 PM: Resume Hike
- 4:45 PM: Pause For Rest
- 5:00 PM: Begin Final Descent
- 6:30: Return To Base