The Llanberis Path provides the most gradual, although longest, route to the summit of Snowdon. It leaves Llanberis village by way of a steep tarmac road, one of the most challenging sections of the route – be warned! Take it slow initially...
- Distance: 9 miles / 14.5km
- Ascent: 975m
- Time: 5.5 – 7 hours
- Start Point: Llanberis
- Grid Ref: SH 582 598
- Ordnance Survey: OL17 / 114
- Harvey Maps: Snowdonia North
The route is considered suitable for families, groups and those new to walking as it does not pose many technical difficulties in summer conditions. Most of the path is well engineered and maintained to a good standard – with some slightly steeper loser sections the higher up the mountain you go.
Check back with us if you intend to use this path in winter conditions, as there are specific hazards to be aware of in the snow.
Standing with your back to the Snowdon Mountain Railway Station in Llanberis, turn to the right and walk along a short section of road until a mini roundabout is reached, outside the Royal Victoria Hotel Snowdonia. Here you will a signpost with ‘Path to Snowdon’ on it – this is the way to the start of the Llanberis Path.
You will be walking along a residential street initially, towards its end and a cattlegrid – where the path is marked with an information board from Snowdonia National Park. Do make sure you’re courteous to local residents as you walk past their houses – either through monitoring noise levels, not leaving any litter and keeping to the pavement.
At the cattlegrid, take some time to read the interpretation board about the Llanberis Path, which gives further information about the route, its history and points of interest. And then you will see the steep tarmac road ahead of you! This is a short lived but steep section – which will take you to the start of the actual mountain path.
It’s only about half a mile...but do take it slowly as it’s easy to walk too fast on this section and really tire people out unnecessarily. You will pass the delightful Pen y Ceunant Isaf (also known locally as Snowdon Café) which is a popular resting point on the way up.
Stefan, the owner of the café, usually has the latest weather report for Snowdon on a board outside, and there are toilets inside for customers. This café is an excellent place to drop in to, on your way back down – for some tea and bara brith, home made lemonade or a 1085 Snowdon beer.
But, we’re not stopping here and the tarmac route continues to rise until you reach a gate on your left, a large marker stone with ‘Llwybr Llanberis Path’ and a wooden sign pointing towards ‘Copa’r Wyddfa/Snowdon Summit’.
Yet some people do miss this turn off onto the mountain path and continue along the road into the valley of Cwm Brwynog ahead. A lot of people rest here after the steep ascent on the road – please make sure you remember to take all your items away with you (it’s not uncommon to find hats, gloves, plastic bottles and litter left here – unintentionally we’d like to think).
Another 15 minutes of walking on a slightly rocky section of path will bring you up to Hebron Gate and here is another common resting spot for folk, as the path levels out after this – which is much welcomed!
From this point, on clear days, you will clearly see towards Snowdon pyramidal peak, above the dark crags of Clogwyn du’r Arddu and Clogwyn Coch. Below lies the valley of Cwm Brwynog, where you can still see the remains of a deserted community – farm buildings, an old mill, derelict chapel and sheepfolds.
From here, you are now on a good track for approx. 45 minutes as it gently rises towards Halfway House, which is now a low key café that is open during busier months. You will cross under the track of Snowdon Mountain Railway at one point, en route to Halfway House, which can afford good views of the trains track should you be interested in capturing a photo of a carriage trundling past.
This rack and pinion railway track was built in just over a year, from Llanberis to the summit and was opened in 1896.
Another half a mile from Halfway House and the Llanberis Path steepens as it ascends a section called ‘Allt Moses’ (Moses’ Hill?) up towards Clogwyn Station, perched high on the slopes overlooking the Llanberis Pass.
From Allt Moses, you gain an impressive view of the steep cliffs of Clogwyn Coch and Clogwyn d’ur Arddu – a popular place for climbers to congregate on long, summer days when the rocks are dry and warm! You will also see where the train track crosses the top of the precipitous crags to your right.
This particular area, above Clogwyn Coch, is a known accident black spot in winter months. It can be thought that when the higher slopes are laden with snow it’s easy to navigate by using the train line.
But, where the train line crosses the cliffs below, this can become a very slippery convex slope that can cause people a serious amount of trouble if they are not well equipped to deal with the snowy ground (ie have suitable boots/crampons, ice axe and the ability to move across the ground confidently and safely).
It will take approx 15-20 mins to get Allt Moses under your belt...take your time on this steeper section and shorten your stride if it’s feeling tough. On a clear day, upon reaching Clogwyn Station (770m), you will see a tremendous view open up over the Llanberis Pass on onto the Glyderau and Carneddau mountain ranges to the north.
Watch out for the steep slopes below you to the NE/E – leading down to Cwm Hetiau (Valley of the Hats). The first trains of 1896 had open sided carriages with only curtains to protect the passengers from the elements outside...inevitably the wind would sometimes blow an unsuspecting hat into the valley below...
Ahead of you now is the ‘final push’ of the Llanberis Path. Gear up for one final challenging ascent on a short, steep section of path as it climbs to the side of Clogwyn Coch and eventually onto the summit plateau.
Allt Coch can look intimidating from below, it’s a short, steep climb on slightly loser, more eroded ground. But, with frequent breaks if you need, short steps and some determination – it will take another 15 mins to overcome this short difficulty.
From the top of this steep section, it’s another 30 mins flatter walk to the summit, with views opening up to the south and west towards Porthmadog and beyond.
You’ll reach Bwlch Glas, before hitting the summit, which is a useful place to orientate yourself from. Check which path you ascended by, visually check it and confer with your map – just to make sure you know which path to follow on your way down.
Bwlch Glas can be a busy place on a weekend, as four routes join here (Snowdon Ranger, Pyg Track, route from Crib y Ddysgol and Crib Goch and the Llanberis Path). 15 mins more along a slightly steeper and rockier section of good path, and you’ll be standing on the summit. Amazing.
Yr Wyddfa Summit
The summit of Snowdon is a unique place, a strange juxtaposition of human interaction and natural wonder.
There is evidence of ancient fossils just beneath the summit area – proof that this whole area was underwater in a semi-tropical sea millions of years ago!
Most people manage an ascent of the Llanberis Path within 3-3.5 hours.
If you’re walking back to Llanberis, then just be sure to locate the correct path from the convergence of paths at Bwlch Glas. From the summit area, you will need to travel NNE for approx 500m to reach Bwlch Glas and then follow a northerly direction to align with the Llanberis Path.
Do not cross the railway line (that’s the Snowdon Ranger path) and do not gain any more height (that takes you towards the route to Crib Goch). Once you’re happy descending the broad Llanberis Path, it will take apx 2.5 hours to reach Llanberis village – more if you’re taking more rest stops or need to take it slowly down the rockier/steeper sections.