Day hike to the Summit of Snowdon, Wales's highest paek.

Today's challenge was to walk up England and Wales's highest mountain Snowdon at 1085m or 3560 feet. From the top are stupendous views down to the coast of North Wales, and over many mountains. There are various routes up Snowdon-Watkin Path, Llanberis Path, Pyg Track, Miners' Track etc.

We decided to walk up The Rhyd Ddu Path to the top of Snowdon, then back down the Snowdon Ranger path. This is a fantastic day walk with an ascent of approximately 895m or 2936 feet, taking about 6 to 7 hours. It was a sunny bank holiday weekend, so we took advantage of a lovely walk up the quieter side of the mountain, instead of being one of hundreds using the alternative paths.

We parked in the large car park (clearly signed), by Rhyd Ddu station, on the A4085 about half way between Caernarfon and Beddgelert. £6.00 to park with toilets. We left the relatively empty car park at 9.45am, following the lovely clear path over the railway line. Not many people were using our path. We passed the waste tip, and ruins of an old quarry, which closed in the 1860s. Following the clear path, which then swings left, becoming steeper and rougher, eventually a wall is reached. Following the wall along the ridge, the views become better all the time. Continuing along the ridge, we were buffeted by the wind, and needed to be careful as there are steep drops on both sides. I would not advise this path on a very windy day, as it would be quite scary. The path is joined by the Watkin Path, shortly before the summit.

We arrived at the top at 12.00pm, and compared to our other walks it did seem relatively easy, except for being buffeted by the wind, and some steep drops. The top of Snowdon was not as busy as it had been the previous day when apparently there were queues to stand on top of the cairn. We ordered coffee (£2.60) from the cafe, and like many others, sat out of the wind eating our sandwiches. If necessary one could buy a standby ticket on the train down to Llanberis, for £27.00 per adult or £20 per child.

We left the top at 1pm, and followed the railway line towards Llanberis for a short time. Then on the left a stone marker points out the Snowdon Ranger Path. We followed this, leaving the crowds behind, walking through some very beautiful scenery. It is possible to follow this path all the way down to the main Caernarfon road, but about two thirds of the way down from the summit, we took a left turn over a stile with SH 575 553 badge on it, This makes it a more enjoyable walk than going down to the road. The path goes over boggy ground with marker posts at intervals. The path continues through the really interesting ruins of many quarry workings, and going over slag heaps, past disused tunnels etc. Eventually we crossed over the railway line, arriving back at the car at 4.15pm.

After a while we watched as two steam trains belonging to the Welsh Highland Railway arrived, as they change lines here. The train line has been reopened and is manned by volunteers, carrying customers from Caernarfon to Porthmadog linking with a railway there. This is a different line than the one up Snowdon.


We checked the weather the day before, using BBC weather forecast and MWIS.

We followed the route given in Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia by Terry Marsh, also using Ordnance Survey OL17 Snowdon map. As always we advise wearing walking boots, taking food, water, wet weather clothes, hats, sun hats, map, compass and first aid kit etc.

The only cafe/toilets are on the top of Snowdon. These are only open after Easter, and only then on the days when the Snowdon Mountain Railway is running to carry the staff, so don't be reliant on the cafe being open. A couple of times we have arrived at the top and been disappointed to find the cafe/toilets closed.

We parked in the car park, alternatively there is a Sherpa bus which stops at the car park.

We really enjoyed this walk, the weather was great, we met a few people, and the walk was fairly quiet as it is not a popular path. It was easy to park. The views were tremendous over to Anglesey, west to Abersoch, and over many mountains to the south and east. I would recommend this walk, and look forward to doing it again.