For hiking and mountaineering lovers, the highest mountain in Wales may sound like a respectable game.
Spoiler; it is. I’ve hiked Mount Snowdon four times – making my first ascent to the summit on the family-friendly Miner’s Track at five years old.
The best thing about climbing Mount Snowdon is its versatility. The mountain has six different routes and a train to the summit! On some routes, you’ll experience a gradually steepening but non-technical path, while others have a knife-edged arete and more exhilarating scrambles. There are also routes that stop by mountainside attractions, like the Instagram famous Snowdonia infinity pool.
For certain, there is a lot to consider before climbing Mount Snowdon. Whatever stage of planning a hike you are in, this guide should help provide answers to your most burning questions. Here is a complete guide to climbing Mount Snowdon.
What is the best way to climb Mount Snowdon?
How long is a piece of string? To be completely honest, the best way to climb Mount Snowdon depends on your fitness, technical experience, and ability.
If you are a beginner, you’ll want to avoid Crib Goch like the plague. The Crib Goch route is especially dangerous and not the best way to climb Mount Snowdon for beginners. The Miner’s Track, PYG track, or the Rhyd Ddu Path would be better suited.
For scenery and a bit of scrambling, my personal favourite is the Snowdon South Ridge. The route takes you along the Bwlch Main ridge and is great for intermediate hikers who want the ‘climbing a mountain’ experience without anything technical.
Experienced mountaineers will likely appreciate Crib Goch the most, and Sir Edmund Hilary even practised his skills on this route before tackling Everest!
The only way I wouldn’t recommend is the Watkins Path. There is a near-vertical section of scree and scrambling that felt neither safe nor enjoyable. It gets very slippery, and there were two accidents when I climbed this route in 2021 – one of which was lucky not to have been fatal. Steer clear of the Watkins Path and pick one of the others dependent on your experience.
What is the best month to climb Mount Snowdon?
I recommend May or June as the best month to climb Mount Snowdon.
Late Spring/early Summer is a perfect balance for many factors.
Firstly, the weather is less likely to be snowy or miserable and drizzly than hiking during Autumn or Winter. But, equally, it isn’t going to become too warm while hiking. You may be surprised, but (even in the UK) it is easy to become overheated, especially under strenuous exercise.
Secondly, the routes will have a little pedestrian traffic but not floods and floods of people like in Summer. You want enough people on the tracks for safety in numbers, just not so many that you can’t move to enjoy the view at the summit.
Is walking up Snowdon for beginners?
Yes! As I mentioned, I climbed Mount Snowdon at five for the first time. I then climbed at five, six, seven, and returned at twenty for a nostalgic hike to the summit. On my most recent hike, I saw a mother with a child who looked around three and had walked to the top!
Age aside, Mount Snowdon is excellent for beginners. The non-technical routes are simple and busy should you need assistance or become unsure.
Beginners should especially pay attention to the weather forecast beforehand to avoid added difficulty en-route, but apart from that, go for it!
What facilities are at the Mount Snowdon summit?
I LOVE the Mount Snowdon visitor centre at the summit. There is a gift shop, café, and toilets. I practically skipped up to the summit – massively looking forward to a warm coffee as a reward at the top.
When I got there? Closed.
More fool me because there was a temporary closing announcement on the official website, but the disappointment was still real.
The railway line to Hafod Eryri (the summit visitor centre) is closed for all of the 2022 season, meaning hikers won’t be able to access the centre for refreshments or shelter. Similarly, train passengers won’t be able to access the summit. Instead, trains stop at Clogwyn Station further down the mountain, and hikers will have to bring snacks with them.
The Snowdon website says trackwork will be completed by 2023, so staff will be able to return to Hafod Eryri and reopen the centre for visitors.
So, while there are facilities at the Mount Snowdon summit, they won’t be available until 2023 at the earliest.
How should I prepare to walk up Mount Snowdon?
While you can walk Mount Snowdon with no training and pure grit, it might be easier to stretch your legs a little beforehand!
The Miner’s Track is an eight-mile return route and typically takes between six and seven hours to complete as a round trip. Make sure you are ready to take on the physical and mental challenge.
Otherwise, just remember the basics – water, waterproof clothing, basic first aid equipment, a working phone, and food. A decent pair of hiking boots (not brand new if you don’t want blisters) and a rucksack are must-brings.
Is climbing Snowdon at night worth it?
Sunrise summits at addictive, and if you have the dedication to climb Snowdon at night to catch one – go for it! I would argue it is definitely worth it.
Make sure to bring warm clothes, get plenty of rest beforehand, pack some high sugar snacks, and (of course) a reliable head torch with extra batteries. Don’t try to climb with a phone torch as it is impractical at best, dangerous at worst, and will only drain the valuable battery that you may need in an emergency.
Also, seriously consider which route you want to take. I’d advise keeping things simple and heading up the Miner’s Track.
If this still sounds a bit too difficult, check out some alternatives in my article on the best sunrise spots in Snowdonia.
How to catch the Mount Snowdon railway?
The Mount Snowdon railway starts in Llanberis, so park in the village and make your way to the ticket office on foot.
I’d advise pre-booking tickets to avoid disappointment. The railway is extremely popular, particularly in peak seasons! But, otherwise, you can try your luck at the ticket office.
The Traditional Diesel Service runs daily from April to October every half an hour. At the summit, passengers have half an hour to disembark and explore the centre and views.
If you like to catch the worm, the 9 am Early Bird Service offers a slight discount. However, there are no concession fees and only return tickets available. I’ve included tables containing 2022 rates for both tickets in the tables below:
|Adults (sixteen +)||Children (three to fifteen)||Disabled Adults (sixteen +)||Disabled Children (three to fifteen)||Children (two years and under)|
|Price Single Fare (£)||24.00||14.00||21.00||11.00||Free|
|Price Return Fare (£)||34.00||24.00||31.00||21.00||Free|
|Adults (sixteen +)||Children (three to fifteen)||Children (two years and under)|
|Price Return Fare (£)||28.00||18.00||Free|
**IMPORTANT FOR 2022**
As mentioned above, there is no service to the Mount Snowdon summit – only Clogwyn Station. The summit route will re-commence in 2023.
As you only get half an hour at Clogwyn Station and tickets are only valid on the same train, it is impossible to climb to the summit from this point in time. The only way to do so would be by purchasing a single ticket and walking back down Snowdon.
Should I catch the train or walk up Snowdon?
If you can, I’d highly recommend walking up Mount Snowdon.
Not only is it so much more of an achievement, but it is also a much more thorough way to take in the views. Half an hour can feel rushed at the summit, and you want to experience the mountain slowly.
Furthermore, there are many beginner-friendly routes that you can take when climbing Mount Snowdon. So, most people will be capable of completing the walk to the summit.
Where is the Snowdonia infinity pool?
Fancy braving a dip? Good on you.
The Snowdonia infinity pool is a three-minute drive from Pen-y-Pass (heading towards Llanberis) on the A4086. You’ll know you are in the right spot by all the cars parked in laybys!
The pool is actually on private land, so make sure to respect the attraction when visiting and be aware that access can be revoked at any time.
To reach the pool, cross the bridge and follow the gritted path up past the farm buildings. The path fades from a gritted to a trodden route but is still relatively easy to follow.
Of course, if this sounds like too much of a detour, there are plenty of natural pools along the Watkins Path. I’ve covered the Watkin Waterfall Pools in my guide to the best waterfalls in Wales (which you can read here).
Snowdonia is easily one of my favourite UK National Parks. My family holidays were mostly based in Pwllheli, and I have many fond memories of driving through Snowdonia to climb Mount Snowdon. Don’t miss out on the rest of the region when you have rested from your climb!
Got any specific advice for those planning on climbing Mt Snowdon? Drop it in the comments below.