The ultimate guide to the most popular hiking routes up the Snowdon Mountain.
Conquer the tallest mountain in England & Wales with our easy hiking guides and have a great walking day out in the Snowdonia National Park.
We’ll start with the most user friendly route up Snowdon known as the Llanberis Path, this path was originally designed to carry tourists up to the summit on pony back and still to do this day you may see ponies travelling along this route. Being the most gradual gradient up Snowdon it is the longest covering 9 miles in a return walk to the summit and back.
It follows quite a wide rocky walkway all the way up and is very a clear path making it hard to get lost it or go off track. The start is located a short walk from the town on Llanberis with plenty of car parks so you don’t have to fight for a space. We recommend using the Padarn Country Park Car Park which is run by the council as it’s a lot cheaper than the privately owned ones. This route should take you 6 hours all in but allow some extra time for breaks and to enjoy a coffee at the top.
If you want to see some stunning waterfalls then the Watkins path is a lovely and usually less crowded route to the top. The path was opened in 1892 and named after Sir Edward Watkin who was responsible for creating it and had a summer house at the start. The path begins in a lovely forest walkway followed by a walk along the valley bottom alongside waterfalls, it then starts to climb up the side of Snowdon to the final destination on a much tougher gradient.
In the summer months you may even see runners tackling the first section as warm up jog! The path is pretty clear but it’s worth having a map as there are a few splits for other routes which lead up to different peaks. Once again it will take you about 6 hours to fully cover this route and is slightly shorter at only 8 miles long, this is made up for in the final sections where it get’s a lot more challenging and rises more quickly to the summit.
There are limited spaces in the Pont Bethania Bridge Car Park at the start so arrive early to get a space.
I’m covering both these paths in the same section as they start at the same point at Pen Y Pas then join up further along the route. They’re predominantly the most popular routes however have the worse parking, there is a very very small car park at the Caffi Gorphwysfa Cafe at the start but this will literally be full before sunrise. Further back down the road a good 30 minute walk away there are a few pay and display spaces along the road side but be careful, the parking wardens here are notorious and worse than in Camden! If you find a random space that isn’t a dedicated bay you will come back to a new shiny yellow ticket to keep as a souvenir. To overcome this a park and ride is available towards Llanberis. For more information on the buses please visit the Snowdon Sherpa website which is the local bus that picks up and drops off around the base of Snowdon.
The miners track follows the bottom route along the base of the mountain via a beautiful scenic lake path which is very wide, in earlier stages it’s a lovely wide grit path and slowly turns into larger rock style stepping stones as you get closer to the base of Snowdon and the incline increases. It then becomes a pretty steep scramble zig zagging along the mountainside in which your fitness will be tested, you can however take breathers along the way and take in the surrounding beauty of the landscape and the lakes you have just climbed up from. At this point you then meet up with the Pyg Track and they both make the final climb up towards the top, this rockface is very well worn with lots of little lose bits of slate but extensive work has been done to make the route up as safe as possible and is easily achievable with a bit of grit and determination. Towards the final section the footing below grows a bit more technical so get a good grip on the larger steps up and take your time using your upper body to grip onto something and get some more support.
The Pyg track takes a higher route looking down on the miners path and is more of a scramble over large rocks from the very start, it isn’t dangerous but has more of an adventurous feel and really get’s the heart racing as you tackle obstacles in your way. The route is a more narrow footpath (when there is one) and winds its way along the mid level of the mountainside providing more stunning views along the whole route. We recommend having a waterproof set of boots as you may be cutting across some downhill streams and don’t want soggy feet by the time you reach the top. The path then once again meets up with the Miners track as you come to the final push with the more technical climb to reach the summit.
One reason many people choose these routes over the others is because you can turn it into a circular path, we recommend taking the Pyg Track on the way up and the Miners Track on the way down as you don’t want to be tackling awkward rocks on your decent once you start to feel tired. The choice however is yours and you may wish to try something completely different while on your Snowdon climbing adventure.
Yes that’s right, there’s a train. The cog driven train will take you all the way from the town of Llanbaberis right to the summit in under an hour. It’s been open since 1896 and taking tourists to the summit while they get to take in the surrounding landscapes ever since. It doesn’t operate during the harsher winter months of November to March but the rest of the year it is a very popular way to reach the summit and the visitor centre at the top.
We highly recommend booking your tickets in advance for this as it does get very busy and you’re not guaranteed a ride up on the day if you just turn up. You can only buy singles up and walk back down or return tickets, to get a single ticket from the top back down is very very hard to get and you will have to wait for a space if they have one. So if you are considering getting the train and walking plan to park in Llanberis then take that path back down unless you’ll end up on the other side of Snowdon if you take a different track down.