Snowdon is the highest peak in both Wales and England at an elevation of over 1,000 metres.
Located in Snowdonia National Park it also is the busiest mountain in Britain and the third most visited attraction in Wales.
Last year it received 558,000 walkers and a further 140,000 people taking the train to the summit.
This is hardly surprising given the wild landscape and number of challenging hikes to its peak.
From the summit views extend for miles in every direction, looking out over surrounding peaks, jagged ridges, plummeting valleys and sparkling lakes.
On a clear day it is possible to see as far as Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Lake District.
Climbing Snowdon has become a rite of passage for adrenaline junkies from across the UK and beyond.
Snowdon is one of three mountains climbed as part of the National Three Peaks Challenge.
It is also designated as a national nature reserve for its rare flora and fauna and is one of only a handful of places on Earth where the Snowdon Lily grows.
There are six routes that can be taken up Snowdon, depending on your fitness/ability and experience.
Whichever option you decide on, a challenging 5-8 hour hike awaits you, with little shelter from the elements.
The Llanberis Path is the easiest of the Snowdon routes and also the busiest. For anyone who is summiting Snowdon for the first time or with a family, this is the ideal route.
The Pyg Track is considered the ‘classic’ Snowdon route and is taken by anyone completing the Three Peaks Challenge.
Whether it’s on your hiking bucket list, you’re doing it for charity or you just want to be flawed by the breathtaking views, Snowdon is no doubt an exciting destination.
Snowdonia has numerous road, rail and coach links for easy access.
Direct rail services (including Virgin Trains from London to Bangor) from most major cities service the area, which will require a smaller local train or bus to hop to your final destination.
For anyone driving, access from is quick and straightforward, taking the M56 and A55 from the North West, or the M6, M5 and M1 from the Midlands and South of England.
For anyone coming from further afield, transfers from the international gateways of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham take less than two hours.
Planning your transport and parking should form an essential part of your plan for climbing Snowdon.
Llanberis has plenty of parking available but the main car parks at Pen y Pass and Nant Peris fill up rapidly in the main season, so plan to get there by 7am. The car parks for the Watkin and Rhyd Ddu paths are generally a bit quieter.
If you don’t fancy driving around, the local Snowdon Sherpa bus links various starting points and runs regularly to and from Llanberis (the village at the foot of the mountain).
The cost of a single fare is £2 for adults, £1 for children and over 60s go free. A £5 one-day ticket is also available, enabling you to hop on and off the Sherpa as much as you like.
The length of your hike will depend on which trail you opt for.
There are six recommended paths, all officially classed as ‘hard, strenuous walks’ but varying slightly in difficulty.
Whichever one you select, allow up to eight hours to get to the summit and back. Below is a quick overview of the path lengths.
- The Llanberis Path (14.5 km/9 miles) is a popular ‘first time’ path that is the longest but most gradual climb up to the summit.
- The Pyg Track (11 km/7 miles) starts from Pen y Pass and joins the Miners’ Track before the final ascent to the summit. A popular circular route is to go up one and come down the other. Remember that if you’re doing this as part of the Three Peaks then climbing will take you even longer than if you were fresh.
- The Miners’ Track (13 km /8 miles) also starts off from Pen y Pass, ascending gradually before turning into a steep climb.
- The Rhyd Ddu Path (12km/8.5 miles) is one of the quieter routes but takes on a very narrow ridge near the top – so not for anyone who doesn’t like heights.
- The Watkin Path (13km/8 miles) takes you from Nant Gwynant to the summit.
- The Snowdon Ranger Path (13km/8 miles) winds up the side of Snowdon, taking longer but offering impressive views.
The following is a useful guide to understanding the different route options:
Grade and difficulty of the walk
Although it doesn’t have the same steep, rocky sections as say Scafell Pike, the sheer length of the hike to Snowdon’s peak makes it hard work.
The Llanberis Path is generally the favourite route up to the summit.
For anyone that is relatively fit, you shouldn’t have any trouble walking up this path.
That said, every route (including this one) finishes with a steep climb to the summit. As such, trainers are not suitable due to loose terrain underfoot.
Another factor is the weather, with clouds closing in at short notice and making it hard to always track the correct route down.
Snowdon might not be the toughest peak in the Isles, but can be extremely dangerous given the number of ill-equipped tourists treating it like a gentle hillside stroll and being fatefully underprepared.
In 2019 a walker died after falling more than 800 feet down a steep slope the mountainside, so always take care and go slow on tough sections.
There are no easy routes up and the challenge of summiting should not be taken lightly, as your lungs and heart will definitely get a good workout.
Anyone that does a fair amount of walking with no health problems should be able to walk up and down Snowdon in under eight hours.
No specific training or experience is needed to conquer the summit but any extra uphill walking beforehand will increase your enjoyment and reduce climbing time.
No permits are needed to climb Snowdon and the entire National Park has free admission, with no climbing fees.
The only unavoidable cost will be parking.
Guided or Self-Guided
Most people choose to hike self-guided and there are plenty of online resources to help you do so.
Visitors can download route maps that contain useful information to safely navigate the mountain, even in bad weather.
For anyone who would prefer the reassurance of climbing with a group, there are plenty of mountain guides to choose from including Anelu Aim Higher, RAW Adventures, Gradient Adventure and Bach Ventures.
As with any walk in Britain, the best conditions are between May and October.
The summer period offers the warmest temperatures but is also the most popular.
July through August is best avoided as the school holidays will guarantee you family crowds and European tourists.
We would recommend visiting in September and early October.
Remember that snow can fall on the mountains of Snowdonia from October onwards, making conditions more difficult for climbers and walkers.
Climbing Snowdon in winter should only be attempted by professionals as it requires crampons and an ice axe.
The terrain can be uneven and the weather unpredictable at any time of year.
You’ll likely need a waterproof jacket plus over-trousers if it’s chilly.
Snowdon gets about three metres of rain per year, so you may well find yourself climbing through thick cloud.
The Llanberis Path is the easiest and longest of the six main paths to the summit and is recommended for first-time visitors wanting to hike to the summit.
There is 975 metres of climbing over six or seven hours following the below itinerary:
- Set off early to make the most of the day and dodge crowds, aiming for a 7.30am start.
- The route starts at far end of Victoria Terrace, which leads down from the mini roundabout opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel at the southern end of the village.
- Go through the gate next to the cattle grid and follow the steep road, passing through a farmyard and joining a prominent path on the left signposted ‘Llanberis Path’.
- Be sure to stop at the spooky Llyn Padarn, the lake by the start of the trail.
- From here the path climbs gradually, passing some house ruins and Hebron station to arrive at a mountain gate.
- Soon after, the path runs parallel to the mountain railway then under the railway bridge.
- Continue the gradual climb with the railway on your left, grabbing a refreshment from the Halfway House, and pressing on to the steeper inclines.
- When the path forks at the bottom of Allt Moses, keep to the left and head up the slopes of Llechog. Walk under the railway bridge, past Cwm Glas Bach on your left and climb up the slopes of Carnedd Ugain to Bwlch Glas.
- From here you are on the final leg of the walk up Snowdon. About 15 minutes later you’ll arrive at the summit, taking in views of Snowdonia’s 18 lakes and 14 peaks over 914 metres (3000ft).
- The summit building, called Hafod Eryri, houses a great cafe but is only open when the railway is operating.
- En route back down from the summit, just down from the Bwlch Glas standing stone, keep left as the path to the right follows the Snowdon horseshoe over Carnedd Ugain and Crib Goch.
The Pyg Track if a good alternative for those that want something shorter but steeper.
The route offers a range of fantastic views, down the Llanberis Path and up to Crib Goch.
This track is used for the Three Peaks Challenge and takes just over five hours, starting at Pen y Pass Car Park and returning to the same point.
Picturesque villages are scattered across the region, each serving as an excellent base for exploring or just relaxing and enjoying the views.
For quick and easy access to the mountain, Llanberis is a great choice.
Lying at the foot of Mount Snowdon, Llanberis is ideally located for enjoying some of the most exciting outdoor activities in Wales.
For anyone that is travelling on a budget, bunkhouses and hostels provide ideal accommodation for walkers, mountain bikers and climbers. Situated in the foothills near Snowdon there are reasonably-priced YHA hostels and other options.
The best campsites near Snowdon are Snowdonia Park Campsite and Brewpub in Waunfawr, Bryn Gloch, Cae Du Campsite – Beddgelert, Hafod y Llan NT Campsite and Llanberis Camping.
Note that you are only allowed to camp in The Snowdonia National Park on designated campsites or on private land with the Land Owners’ consent. Wild camping is not permitted by the park authority.
For those who would prefer to stay a little further out, here is a plethora of hotel options spread around Snowdonia National Park. For the most part, expect quaint and traditional hotels that are closer to country houses.
That said, there are some slick, modern options and even castles and mansions that date back hundreds of years. If you want to relax and unwind after your hike, book in to one of the luxury spas or retreats.
Tag on a few extra days to your trip to explore Snowdonia National Park. If the summit doesn’t satisfy your appetite for walking, there are plenty of other trails in Snowdonia to enjoy.
Along with hiking, Snowdonia has the widest choice of outdoor activities available in the UK. The area has opportunities for surfing on a lake, kayaking, coasteering, rock climbing.
You can trampoline underground at Bounce Below, zipline across a Welsh quarry or ride the railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway has been in operation since 1896, utilising an old-fashioned train to transport visitors slowly up the mountain alongside the Llanberis Path, and takes in all of the glorious scenery. Round trip fares are £25 for adults or one way for £18.
It’s not just about the high peaks and jagged hills though. The Llyn Peninsula boasts plenty of beautiful beaches and the coastline of Snowdonia is rated as some of the finest in Britain.
It is here that you can visit the wonderful Italianate village of Portmeirion, feeling like you’ve taken a European road trip without ever leaving our shores. Colourful houses and quaint cafes are Instagram-worthy.
For history buffs this little corner of Wales is packed with legend, history and culture that goes back thousands of years.
Explore the haunting wasteland leftover from the slate-mining industry, check out neolithic sites, roman cities, iron age forts and medieval castles or visit the smallest house in Britain.
And with so much to do and see, you’ll be pleased to know that you won’t go hungry either.
Snowdonia prides itself on producing some of the finest local food and drink in Wales, ranging from craft beers by pub fires to handmade chocolates and delicious cheeses.
|Starts at||Llanberis, Caernarfon, UK|
|Finishes at||Llanberis, Caernarfon, UK|
|Length of route||14.5 Km|
|Average time to complete||6 - 8 Hours|
|Possible to complete sub-sections||No|
|Highest point||1085 metres|
|Equipment needed||Poles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots, Water Supplies|
|Countries visited||Wales, UK|