by Jane Sandwood
Climbing Mount Snowdon: Which Path Should You Take?
At 1085 metres above sea level, Mount Snowdon is the highest peak in England and Wales. This makes it an extremely popular hiking destination and a common part of the outdoor adventurer’s bucket list. Since it is so popular, there are a number of different footpaths to cater to the abilities of hikers. The easy footpaths should be accessible by amateurs with average fitness levels, but they will tend to be busier. The harder routes will be quieter but can be extremely dangerous if not approached with caution by experienced climbers. So which path is right for you?
Why Climb Snowdon?
Climbing Snowdon should be in the top two or three of any British hiker’s to do list. It is part of the three peaks challenge, where participants aim to climb the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours. Outside of Scotland, it is the highest peak in the British Isles, which is why it is so famous and popular.
While it offers staggeringly beautiful views from a great height, the real charm of Snowdon is its accessibility. Given the number of footpaths, any reasonably fit person can make it to the summit. It offers a challenging yet rewarding climb, that is within the grasp of all keen hikers.
The easiest path of all six is probably the Llanberis Path. With a rail station and large car park, it is easily accessible by car or public transport. In the summer months this footpath will be very busy, but it is a great beginners footpath with views of the trains. At 5 miles, it is the longest footpath, but that is because it is the least steep.
The Miner’s Track gets steep towards the summit, but the first part is much easier. So if you don’t wish to reach the summit, this could be for you. The surface is a good solid road and it climbs very gently. Due to the difficult final stretch, this path tends to be quieter than the Llanberis Path, so it’s good to escape the noise of other people. The whole journey is only 3 and three quarter miles, the shortness as a result of steepness towards the end.
The Snowdon Ranger Track goes from a Youth Hostel to the summit. It is named after John Morton who would lead tours up the mountain. This is a popular footpath due to being fairly easy with some of the best views available. It is the same length as Beddgelert Path, but much busier. For that reason consider Beddgelert Path which is mostly easy except for a steep path at the very end, yet is less used than the Snowdon Ranger Track.
For experienced climbers, who have visited other challenging National Parks, you have a choice between Grib Goch and The Watkin Path. Grib Goch is a steep and narrow path with sheer drops either side. This should only be attempted if there are low winds and you have proper climbing equipment. If you have a dog or a fear of heights, then avoid this path.
The Watkin Path is probably the hardest trail of all because it has loose footing and steep drops. This means that it is the quietest path but requires extra care and experience. Consider undergoing professional training with a course in mountaineering and climbing before attempting a dangerous trail such as this one.
Snowdonia has something for everyone. There are long shallow paths for absolute beginners and their dogs or treacherous trails for experienced mountaineers. The path you choose will be based on your ability and what you value, but there is no doubt that Snowdon’s Peak is within your reach.
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. She decided to move into freelancing to take advantage of the flexibility and work-life balance it offers. When Jane isn’t writing, she is busy spending time with her family. She also enjoys music, reading and travelling whenever she can.