Search
Close this search box.

Snowdon Routes: The Six Big Ones

A giant named Rhitta Gawr once terrorised North Wales, he would slay kings for fun, just to collect their beards.

Brave King Arthur tracked him to his lair on the highest peak and after an almighty battle cut the brute down, laying him to rest beneath a mound of stones.

This burial site was known as Rhitta’s Tomb or Gwyddfa Rhitta in Welsh. Over the years this name morphed into Yr Wyddfa, the local name for Snowdon. The highest mountain in the British Isles outside of the Highlands.

What an origin story?! Before this Summer I knew none of this, as shamefully I’d never even been to Snowdonia National Park let alone climb Snowdon. Now just a month later I’ve stood on Rhitta’s Tomb, the Roof of Wales, not just once but five times.

Below I’ll give you a quick rundown of the six main routes and I might even go through a bonus route or two since we’re friends ‘n’ all.

Llanberis Path cover photo

1. The Llanberis Path

Difficulty

Hard

Duration

6 h

Distance

14.6 km

Elevation

980 m

Route

Out & Back

Car Park

There are multiple car parks in Llanberis Village

The majority of the 600,000 brave souls who take on Snowdon each year will go by the Llanberis Path. Due to its popularity, it’s known both as the “superhighway” and as the “tourist path”.

But does popular mean good? Well, that depends on how you define good. The Llanberis Path is the easiest hike up Snowdon. It’s also the longest route. But of all the Snowdon Routes I did, this was the dullest.

Now, that’s only dull relative to the others. It’s by no means a dull hike. Snowdon is always impressive. If your goal is just to get up Snowdon and back, then Llanberis Path is a great option.

The views across Eryri National Park are stunning; it just the walk itself lacks the drama of the other Snowdon routes.

The hike starts and ends in the popular tourist village of Llanberis which makes logistics such as parking and finding pre and post-hike food easy.

To check out the trail I took, click here.

Or read my full review of Llanberis Path route.

Miners Track Cover

2. The Miners’ Track

Difficulty

Hard

Duration

4-6 h

Distance

13 km

Elevation

836 m

Route

Out & Back

Car Park

Pen Y Pass on the A4086

The Miners’ Track starts and finishes at Pen Y Pass. This hike shares the car park with the Pyg Track so pre-booking is essential. In summer this means a week in advance at least.

Don’t worry the Sherpa Bus can drop you at the trailhead here as it can all the other routes.

This is a hike of two halves. The first is a pleasant stroll around the stunning Snowdon lakes of Llyn Laidlaw and Glaslyn, the second is a calf-burning climb to the peak.

Apart from Rhyd Ddu, this was my favourite route of the lot. I loved the contrast in terrain. I loved seeing the ruins of the copper mines and the gentle sections around the lakes. On a sunny day, this is ideal for a post-hike picnic and swim.

The ascent is tough but doable.

To check out the route I took click here.

Or read my full review of the Miners’ Track.

Snowdon Pyg cover

3. The Snowdon Pyg Track

Difficulty

Hard

Duration

6 h

Distance

10.8 km

Elevation

753 m

Route

Out & Back

Car Park

Pen Y Pass on the A4086

Like its brother the Miners’ Track, the Pyg Track leaves from the always popular Pen Y Pass car.

park. Booking ahead here is essential, especially in high season.

The Pyg Track is technically the shortest of the main Snowdon routes but that just means it has to pack more climbing into its 6.7 miles. It starts straight out of the gates, no easing into it like the Miners’ Track. The two paths come together for the final ascent.

This was the route I took for my very first attempt at climbing Yr Wydffa and I’m not ashamed to say I underestimated it. By the time I reached the zigzag section I was cooked, both by the heat and the steepness.

But the views over the lakes are special indeed. Although if you are hiking on a sunny day like we were you are going to be jealous of all the people on the Miners’ Track stopping for a splash.

To check out the path I took click here.

Or read my full review of Snowdon PYG Track.

Snowdon Ranger Path Coverphoto

4. The Snowdon Ranger Path

Difficulty

Hard

Duration

4 h 30 min

Distance

12.9 km

Elevation

954 m

Route

Out & Back

Car Park

Llyn Cwellyn Car Park on the A4085

The Snowdon Ranger Path comes at the peak from the west. Alongside the Llanberis Path, it would be considered one of the easier routes to the top. Unlike Llanberis however, it feels like less of a slog and it’s definitely less busy.

We hiked this 8-miler on a sunny day in June and we had the Llyn Cwellyn Car Park and the trail almost completely to ourselves.

There’s a lot of history attached to this route, it’s thought to be the oldest of the six main Snowdon routes and it’s named in honour of the guides who would take early Victorian climbers to the summit of Yr Wyddfa when climbing high things first became popular.

To check out the trail I took, click here.

Or read my full review of Snowdon Ranger Path.

Rhyss Ddu Cover

5. The Rhyd DDu Path

Difficulty

Hard

Duration

5-6 h

Distance

12.1 km

Elevation

938 m

Route

Out & Back

Car Park

Rhyd Ddu Car Park on the A4085

Rhyd Ddu was my favourite of the Snowdon routes. It was the only one I did that felt a little adventurous.

It tackles Snowdon from the southwest taking you first up to LLechog, then close to the summit of Clawwd Coch. Then comes the fun part, the exposed ridge line of Bwlch Main, which translates as “narrow pass”.

There’s nothing technical about Bwlch Main, it’s just a narrow ridge with big drops on either side, as long as you’ve got a good ol’ head for heights you will be fine. I wouldn’t like to be up there on a seriously windy day, mind you.

To check out the walk I took click here.

Or read my full review of Rhyd Ddu path in Wales.

6. The Watkin Path

Difficulty

Hard

Duration

5 - 6 h

Distance

13.2 km

Elevation

1158 m

Route

Out & Back

Car Park

Pont Bethania Car Park on the A498

An 8 mile there and back, this is the only one of the six walking routes I have yet to climb. Though I’ve heard it’s great. It’s often considered the toughest of the six Snowdon routes.

It’s definitely one that is not recommended to walkers who are new to Yr Wyddfa as there are loose scree and exposed sections to contend with.

The path takes its name from Sir Edward Watkin, a Member of Parliament and a railway entrepreneur. He had a crib near the start of the path and invited his buddy the PM William Gladstone to open the route in 1892.

The Watkin Path starts closer to sea level than any of the other climbs up Snowdon so you have that bit more climbing to get to the peak. As one of the hardest routes, it’s likely you won’t get stuck in any of the traffic jams you might find on the Miners or Pyg Tracks.

The trail starts and finishes at ​​Pont Bethania Bridge Car Park in Nant Gwynant. Although there can be limited parking here. If in doubt you can always use the Sherpa Bus park and ride service.

To check out the Watkin Path route I didn’t take but would’ve then click here.

Final Thoughts: Over to You, Pick A Route

There is no bad route up Snowdon. Climbing Yr Wyddfa will be an unforgettable experience no matter which you take. The views of Snowdonia National Park and North Wales are genuinely breathtaking.

I had the luxury of spending a few weeks in the area so I got used to the different personalities of five of the six main Snowdon routes. I even learnt about the personalities of the designated car parks.

But I understand most of you will just be looking for a clear answer on which of the Snowdon Routes is best for you.

So here goes…

You’re Fit with a Head for Heights = Rhyd Ddu Path

If you are fit, have a good head for heights and it’s a nice day, then Rhyd Ddu will not disappoint, the ridge of Bwlch Main is truly stunning. This would not be a fun route however on a windy day.

You’ve Little Experience but You’re Fit and Healthy = The Miners’ Track

If you are in a group of mixed experience and ages, say a family group, but you are all pretty healthy then do the Miners’ Track. For me, it had the best “all day on a mountain experience” vibe.

You Just Want to Make to the Summit = Snowdon Ranger Path

If you are a little worried about being able to make it to the top at all, then do the Snowdon Ranger Path. It’s pretty gentle but doesn’t quite feel like the long slog that LLanberis Path can be.

That’s it, that’s my two cents for what they are worth. I will stress one final time however, there are no bad routes up Snowdon. Just being on such a majestic mountain is awesome.


Bonus Snowdon Routes: Crib Goch and Snowdon South Ridge

The following two are not part of the regular Snowdon Routes.

I understand why Crib Goch isn’t mentioned much as the authorities rightly don’t want inexperienced hikers attempting it. Why the South Ridge isn’t better known I’m not so sure. I only discovered it by watching a chap climb it while I was having a snack break on Clawdd Coch.

Crib Goch

The Crib Goch route should only be attempted if you are very familiar with mountains. It involves exposed ridge walks and a grade 1 scramble up to the first summit of Crib Goch.

That means you are going to be climbing short sections with your hands. Whilst it’s not technically difficult, you are very exposed on a very high mountain top so there’s little room for error. Crib Goch is known as “Snowdon’s deadliest ridge” for a reason.

As well as a couple of falls, The Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team get a tidy amount of “cragfast” callouts to Crib Goch every year, that’s people who have underestimated it and become too scared to move up or down. So they just cling to the rock face until someone in high vis comes and peels them off.

If you’ve never been scrambling before please don’t test yourself here. Find something a little less high.

To check out the Crib Goch route click here.

Snowdon South Ridge

The South Ridge is one of the lesser-known ways to climb Yr Wyddfa. Like the Watkin Path, it starts at the Pont Bethania / Nant Gwynant Car Park and initially traces the same route.

Where the Watkin Path continues northward to Bwlch Ciliau, the South Ridge Route swings west and upward to Bwlch Cwm Llan. This is where the scrambling begins as you use your hands to navigate the exposed rock ridge of Allt Maenderyn until you reach the top of Clawdd Coch.

The route then joins with the Rhyd Ddu path as you cross the dizzying exposed ridgeline of Bwlch Main, definitely not a path for those with vertigo. After that, it’s a stroll to the top.

The South Ridge involves a bit of scrambling but nowhere as near as much Crib Goch. I’ve actually seen this route described as “the walkers’ Crib Goch” so it could be a good option for those who want a little more adventure but don’t like the idea of being cragfasted.

To check out the Snowdon South Ridge route click here.

These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by Hike Hero.
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.

This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.

This reflects the Hike Hero difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.