Destinations » UK Travel » Is Snowdon hard to climb? – First time hikers guide

Is Snowdon hard to climb? – First time hikers guide

Snowdon featured image

So you’re staying in the UK this year and looking for something a little bit different, or maybe you’re looking to take up hiking? One of the most famous mountains in Wales is Mt. Snowdon. It offers some absolutely breathtaking scenery (weather permitting) and is very popular in the summer. So if you’re new to hiking or debating giving it a go then I’m sure you’re wondering… Is Snowdon hard to climb?

tell me more about mt. snowdon

Rising 3,506ft above sea level and being the highest point in the British Isles outside of Scotland. Mount Snowdon offers a climb suited to hikers of all abilities. When climbing Snowdon you’ll witness some amazing views of beautiful lakes and countryside. Keep an eye out for many of the rare plants that can be found at Snowdon.
Snowdon is the 3rd most visited attraction in Wales and the bussiest mountain in the UK, so if you’re planning a hike here make sure you arrive nice and early so you don’t miss out on parking (especially in the summer)!

where does the hike start?

There are 6 main routes that the public can take to the summit of Snowdon. Each of them varies in difficulty, distance, and climb time. All routes take around 6 hours for an average hiker. You can generally gather the direction by following or asking others but if you’d rather take a map you can use your phone or check out this Ordnance Survey map (OS17) which shows the most detailed mappings of footpaths, bridleways, and terrain of the Snowdon range.

Snowdon Summit Path - Gate reading 'Path to snowdon Summit'
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Llanberis Path

The longest and most gradual path starts in Llanberis. You can park anywhere in the surrounding area. This route is the best if you’re a beginner, it will probably take you around 6 hours to complete (3 hours each way), however it’s a lot easier on the legs than some of the other harsher routes. The route is around 9 miles in total and is great for first-timers.

Head for Llanberis (LL55 4TD)

Miners Path

This route is a little shorter than the Llanberis Path, around 8 miles, but you’ll find the incline a little steeper so it will take around the same amount of time to complete.

Head for Pen-y-Pass Car Park (LL55 4NY)

Pyg Track

Pig or pyg? There are various rumors about how this path got its name, but nobody is really sure. It was used to carry pyg (black tar) from the old copper works many years ago, I think this seems the most sensible. This path is around 7 miles so expect a steeper incline.

Head for Pen-y-Pass Car Park (LL55 4NY)

Watkin Path

This path is named after Sir Edward Watkin who owned a house at the start of the path. He was a member of Parliment many years ago and was responsible for creating the path. Again this track is around 8 miles in total.

Head for Pont Bethania Bridge Car Park (SH 627 507/ LL55 4NL)

Rhyd Ddu Path

About 8.5 miles. Originally known as the Beddgelert Path as villages used to start their hikes from here.

Head for Rhyd Ddu Car Park (SH 571 526 / LL54 6TN)

Snowdon Ranger

Starting near the Snowdon ranger hostel which was a tavern in victorian times. The tavern was the starting point for tours in the victorian times led by John Morton… the ‘Snowdon Ranger’. This path is again around 8 miles long.

Head for Llyn Cwellyn Car Park (SH 564 551 / LL54 7YT)

what should i take with me?

Snowdon was my first ever mountain climb, and I learned a lot… like pack waterproof clothing, I chose to wear shorts and a hoodie which halfway up the mountain I found out was not a good idea. Since the climb, I’ve invested in some new hiking gear which has proved a lot more suitable for hikes I’ve taken since! 

Always make sure you check the weather forecast before heading out on any hike or walk, the weather will help you decide on what gear you should be taking with you on a hike.

If you’re still asking yourself is Snowdon hard to climb, then here’s a quick list of things I’d recommend getting your hands on;
Packable Waterproof Trousers – great if the weather forecast is mixed, you might want to wear shorts when you set off, but having some waterproof trousers in your backpack for when the rain starts can be a lifesaver!
Packable waterproof jacket – another fantastic little piece of kit to keep you dry if the weather changes!
Proper walking boots/shoes – Having a good grip and a sound footing will stop you from twisting your ankle on uneven ground or big stones. (there’s no tarmac on top of mountains).
Lightweight walking backpack – Great for carrying all your things, including snacks of course! Small, lightweight and compact. Perfect for day hikes.
Water bladder – You’ll need to stay hydrated when walking. Using a water bladder can take a little bit of getting used to but once your over the initial change you’ll love them as much as i do!

Don’t forget plenty of snacks and water to keep you going, you’ll get hungry up in the hills, trust me!

do i need to be a fitness freak?

Absolutely not! However if you’re reasonably fit then Snowdon shouldn’t be too hard for you. But don’t think it’ll be easy, the weather can change in seconds and particular sections of the climb are extremely tiring!
Make sure you choose a route that is suitable for your fitness level and for that of the people within your group if you’re hiking with others. Bring plenty of water and be prepared for all scenarios as you never know what could happen up a mountain!
Path up Snowdon
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is it for me?

So, is Snowdon hard to climb? That all depends, it’s a fairly easy hike for beginners but can be harder if you come un-prepared or are extremely un-fit. If you’re worried that it might be a bit much for you then try taking a few smaller walks first in the weeks leading up to your adventure. (Don’t forget you can always get the train back down if you feel tires).
For anyone looking to get into hiking or climbing this is definitely a day out I’d recommend. If you have any more questions or if there’s anything you think I missed then let me know in the comments!

points to note

  • Check to make sure the cafe at the summit is open if you intend to access it.
  • Check the weather before you head to Snowdon, especially in the winter.
  • If you intend to use the train at all, check before you visit to make sure it is running.
  • You can pre-book your parking for some car parks.
  • Bring some change for the pay and display car parks. 

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