Trip duration: Weekend | Approx cost: £100 | When: All year round
Doinit factor: Simply get away from it all and immerse yourself in Snowdonia, fully refreshed for work on Monday!
Perhaps Great Britain’s most popular mountain to climb, Mount Snowdon stands at an elevation of 1,085 meters above sea level and provides an exhilarating as well as challenging climb, particularly for first timers. Located in the beautifully scenic Snowdonia National Park, there are a plethora of walking and climbing routes throughout the park. Even if summiting Snowdon is not on your agenda, it’s certainly worth spending some time in the park to soak up the natural beauty and friendly Welsh atmosphere.
There are no two ways about it – I freaking love this place and think everyone else will too. It’s the place I first summited a mountain, tested new gear and fell in love with the outdoors. I can stay away from here for to long as I find myselve here over a weekend every few months. For anyone whose bucket list includes climbing a mountain, Mount Snowdon provides a great training ground. An ample number of routes lead up to the summit catering for all levels of fitness and experience. For those who’d rather take in the view at the top with a cup of tea without putting in the hard work, Snowdon even caters for you, with its mountain railway and café. Return tickets from Llanberis to the summit cost £25 per adult, and singles are £18. It’s worth noting the railway only runs if weather conditions are favorable and the café at the top is only open throughout the summer months.
Visiting on the weekend is probably the most practical time, but expect hoards of tourists especially over bank holiday weekends when the peak can get exceptionally overcrowded. If you want to avoid crowds it’s worth considering a visit in autumn or generally when the weather forecast scares most people away.Due to its central (ish) location, Snowdon is reasonably accessible from most of the UK. Travelling up on a Firday (after work) and making it in time for last orders is the preferred option. You can then wake up fresh on Saturday knowing that you have all day to walk, climb or scramble up to the top… and back down again. The evening is best spent putting your feet up and basqueing in your own sense of achievement. Sunday is home time, but no need to rush back home, Snowdonia offers a great deal in terms of ancient heritage, castles, and ruins scattered all over the park. The area also has a rich industrial heritage snuggled between hills and lakes. It’s best popping into a tourist information office to find out what’s on route home.
Each of these routes through the Snowdon Massif requires variable levels of experience or fitness. Start and finishing points should also been taken into account as routes don’t start in one location but rather are dotted around the range. The last thing anyone wants after hours of climbing is to realize that their car is parked on the other side of the mountain. However the network of tracks allow you to take one route up and take a different route on your return journey, whilst still ending up at the same start point.
The Pyg Track and The Miners Track Loop
This is by far the most popular route to the summit of Snowdon and back down again. The trail head is at Pen-y-Pas car park (limited parking at £10 a car and fills up normally before 8am). There is additaional parking on the A498 which can add a futher 20 minuets on to your hike.
Taking the Pyg track you gain elevation rather quickly until the trail levels out an runs below the ridge. The scenery is spectacular. Above are the towering screers belonging to the Crib Goch ridge and below you can see the lakes and just about make out ant sized people walking the Miners Track.
A very gradual path/track that takes you via a causeway through the lake and then it runs along the shore line past the abandoned mine buildings. Eventually this route makes up for its gradual beginning by providing walkers with a very steep accent route. It then joins with the Pyg Track. Often this route is taken when returning from the summit after taking the Pyg Track up.
The Watkin Path
Often forgoten about but the watkin path starts at the lowest elevation of all the routes up meaning that you physically ascend the most out of all the routes. It starts of with a lovely walk throught the woods before reaching the open country side. As you progress deeper into the valley the route is fairly straight forward untill it starts to steepen closer to the end as it leads you to a ridge which you’ll need to make way way accorss towards the summit of Mt Snowdon. The great thing abour this route is you wont see too many people.
The Crib Goch ridge is the most dramatic route. Not one for the faint hearted or if you suffer from a fear of heights. This should be considered a mountaineering route which will require scrambling. The approach is along the Pyg Track and is clearly signposted at the relevant junction. As you traverse over the peaks, you will see sheer drops either side. This is a very exposed ridge so it’s not advisable to attempt this in bad weather conditions, fatalities do occur. The route takes you over 2 peaks (Grib Coch and Garnedd Ugain) on route to the summit of Snowdon. The Crib Goch route makes up part of the Snowdon horseshoe. A circular route around the ridges surround the lakes below.
Rhyd Ddu Path and Ranger Path Loop
Taking the Rhyd Ddu Path to the summit and returning back down via the Ranger Path is a truly rewarding experience. At almost 15km look its certainly a tough one. The scenery is spectacular but what this circuit really offers is solitude. This is a much quieter side of the mountain, and you’ll probably only see a few souls.
The Llanberis Path
As the name suggests, this route begins at Llanberis and follows the route of the mountain railway. It’s the longest of the routes, with less gradient then the others. Some say this is the least interesting route to the summit but for those who don’t wish to push themselves too much, this is a viable option to summit a great mountain. There is a small café around the half way point.
What else can I do in Snowdonia?
Snowdonia National Park is an outstanding place for all kinds of out door activity. Theres caving, rock climbing, bouldering opportunites. If you’re after something less exhausting then Snowdonia is rich in history with its amazing castles doted around the countryside.
There’s a lot more to Snowdonia then Snowdon, there are so many different walks available including Tryfan and Moel Siabod. Here are a few other things you can do:
- Go Surfing and other adrenalin activates: Adventure Parc Snowdonia
- Outdoor activates with Plas y Brenin
- Go caving with: Go Below
- Do some Tree Top Adventuers
- Visit loads of castles. Highly recommended is Conway Castle and Harlech Castle (to name a couple)
- Or you can just get the Snowdon Mountain Railway up to the summit and have a beer.