Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, located in the stunning Snowdonia National Park in the north-west of the country.
I remember climbing the mountain multiple times on family holidays as a child. Recently, I returned as an adult to climb it with my partner Theo on his 30th birthday.
We stayed in the nearby village of Llanberis and were treated with extraordinarily good weather for the month of April.
I would highly recommend exploring the village and the surrounding area as it is truly beautiful.
The weather on Snowdon can change quickly and drastically. Always make sure you have checked the conditions in advance with MetOffice.
5-7 hours return
The Pyg Track is the classic option for hikers as it is fairly short but gets pretty tough at times.
This track can get busy, but there are usually more people on the easier Llanberis Path, which runs up alongside the railway line to the summit.
Transport to Pen-Y-Pass
There is a car park at Pen-Y-Pass, where the track starts, but it fills up very early. We caught the Sherpa Bus which runs through Llanberis and stops at the car park.
The bus is supposed to run every hour but unfortunately the one we wanted to catch didn’t arrive, so we ended up starting the hike an hour later than we originally intended.
This was slightly irritating but didn’t affect our climb.
Once you’ve alighted the bus, make use of the toilets and then head to the top right corner of the car park to find the start of the track.
The first section of the track is a bit of a steep climb with some rocks to scramble over, so your heart rate will rise pretty quickly!
You’ll be able to see the road snaking back down Llanberis Pass towards the village and the lake below before you reach the crest of the rise.
Once you’re over the crest, a spectacular view of the Llyn Llydaw lake below will greet you. You can see the Miners’ Track cutting across it.
The Pyg Track is pretty level from this point as it continues along the side of the slope. With Crib Goch high above you, this is where you will catch your first sighting of the summit of Snowdon.
If it’s a clear day, that is.
This part of the track is not difficult at all; although there are a few rocky sections, they shouldn’t give you too much trouble.
Before long, you will come around to the smaller Glaslyn lake, with the summit of Snowdon towering over it.
The Pyg Track continues above the lake and is joined by the Miners’ Track, before it starts to steeply ascend.
This next section is the toughest part of the whole track to Snowdon’s summit!
The path zig-zags up the steep slope, and this is where you’ll need to take your time.
We found ourselves overtaking and being overtaken by the same people as we all stopped to take a breath at different stages.
Considering how sunny it was for April, we were all extremely hot and sweaty. The few patches of snow that we found near the path provided a welcome relief to our hot skin!
The final stretch
Eventually, we reached the top of the ridge. This is where many of the different Snowdon Summit tracks converge for the final climb to the top.
The last stretch is not too tough compared to the previous part and it runs alongside the railway track to the cafe at the summit (yes, there is a train and a cafe on Snowdon!).
Finally, there are some steps to the true summit of the mountain, which is always busy, no matter the weather!
As we were there on a beautiful day, there were many climbers at the top. It was somewhat difficult to reach the summit stone.
However, we discovered that the train was not running that day so there were a lot less tourists than there would have been otherwise.
This also meant that the cafe was closed, so we didn’t get the cup of tea we had hoped for. Theo whipped out his hip flask to enjoy a birthday drink at the top, instead!
On a clear day, the views from the summit are truly breathtaking in all directions. If it’s exceptionally clear, you can see Ireland, Scotland, England and, of course, Wales.
When you’re ready to return to Pen-Y Pass, you can follow the Pyg Track back the same way, or you could opt to take a different route via the more difficult Crib Goch Track or the easier Miners’ Track.
The Llanberis path does not take you back to Pen-Y-Pass but to the village of Llanberis, so this is also an option if you caught the bus from the village at the start of the day, and will save you from catching the bus back again.
We decided to descend on the Miners’ Track as we wanted to experience those beautiful lakes up close!
Head back in the same direction that you came from and look out for the finger stone marking the top of the Pyg Track, where it drops down to the right.
There will be plenty of other people taking different routes from this point so be sure not to miss it!
You’ll see the familiar zig-zagging track below you; be careful on the rocks as you descend and take care not to block the path for others still climbing up.
Although it can be tricky climbing down, we made good time, and as we looked up at the summit of Snowdon above us, it was hard to imagine that we’d been up there not long beforehand.
The marker stone for the Miners’ Track seemed further along than we remembered it being, and we were worried that we had missed it. Eventually it appeared and we left the Pyg Track, heading for the lake below.
This is another part which can be rather tricky with loose rocks, scree and slippery stones, so take your time and be careful with your footing.
Lovely lakes and easier walking
Finally, the track comes out at the edge of the incredibly clear Glaslyn Lake and then continues around it and across to Llyn Llydaw.
Before we left the edge of Glaslyn, we hopped over some stones in the water to reach the far side so that Theo could paddle out into the ice cold water.
He didn’t last long! But he was braver than I was as I sat on a large rock in the sun and watched him get cold feet.
We soon rejoined the track and enjoyed the pleasant stroll along the waters’ edge and the walkway across the lake.
Once you’ve left the lakes behind you, the track continues at an easy pace past some disused mining works and eventually brings you around the last hill and back to the car park at Pen-Y-Pass.
We found the last part a little dull after the majestic beauty of mountains and lakes, and our feet were starting to feel a bit sore, so we were happy to reach the car park and catch the bus back to Llanberis.
Our Snowdon adventure complete, we had a few celebratory drinks in the village before a well-earned rest.
Ready for the challenge?
Snowdon is very popular among hikers and the tracks are usually quite busy, but it is still a tough climb.
Make sure you bring plenty of food and water, wear suitable hiking footwear and bring layers to account for sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.
We were very lucky with the weather! Wales is known for its regular rain and cloud cover, so be prepared for the visibility to be poor at times.
Snowdon is a very enjoyable mountain to climb if the weather conditions are suitable and you’re well prepared; I can’t wait to go back and attempt one of the many other tracks that I’ve never tried before!
Have you climbed Snowdon on the Pyg Track or one of the others? Maybe you’re planning to hike it for the first time?
Let me know what you think of it in the comments!
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- Mount Taranaki summit track
All images in this post belong to lastminutewanders.com