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Mount Snowdon covered in snow

Each year, over 500,000 people tack the Mount Snowdon and many opt for The Pyg Track to reach the summit. It’s a route that provides challenging sections that often require a slight scramble, as well as easier stints with a gentle incline alongside the lakes.

The route is popular among novice hikers who are looking to test their fitness, as well as more experienced individuals who can’t help but come back to the Pyg track to enjoy the awe-inspiring views it has to offer.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know before hiking Snowdon and a detailed explanation of the route – a virtual trip along the trail if you like. You’ll also find some recommendations of things to do and places to see in the area that we managed to squeeze into our itinerary and we have no doubt you’ll love this place as much as we did!

The Pyg Track Snowdon details

Girl sitting on The Pyg Track up Snowdon
Girl sitting on The Pyg Track up Snowdon

Distance | The distance of this hike is 10.1 kilometres. It’s a moderate distance, but the distance isn’t the challenge here.

Elevation | The total elevation of this hike is 696 meters, which is covered in 5 kilometers, since this is an out and back trail. This is a big climb, however it is the highest peak in Wales, so hopefully you weren’t expecting this to be easy ride.

Duration | Typically, this takes most walkers around 4 hours to climb up and down Snowdon via The Pyg Track. However, if you’re wanting to stop for a few breaks here and there, then I’d recommend you budget just over 5 hours for this hike.

Difficulty | The majority of this walk is easy, with the exception for one short section which leads back to the car. There is one other section which leads closer to the one of the waterfalls which is a little steep, however this is optional.

How to get to the start point of the hike

A lake along The Pyg Track

The starting point of the hike is the Pen-y-Pass car park. The postcode for this is LL55 4NU.

By public transport | If you’re heading to Snowdonia from another part of the country, then you’ll need to take the train to Bangor. From here, you’ll need to either rent a car, or hop on the S2 bus/coach. This will take you to the start of the walk and has a journey time of approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

  • London to Bangor: 3 hours
  • Birmingham to Bangor: 3 hours
  • Liverpool to Bangor: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Manchester to Bangor: 2 hours 15 minutes

By car | For those heading to the trailhead by car, then it’s straightforward. You’ll need to head to the Pen-y-Pass car park and pay £5 to park for the day. During peak season, this car park fills up very quickly and you’ll need to be there by 9 AM to get a space. If the car park is full when you arrive, then there is an overflow field further along the road where you can park and take the shuttle bus to the start of the trail.

  • London to Snowdon: 4 hours
  • Birmingham to Snowdon: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Liverpool to Snowdon: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Manchester to Snowdon: 2 hours

What to expect on the day of climbing Snowdon via the Pyg Track

People hiking along The Pyg Track to Snowdon
People hiking along The Pyg Track to Snowdon

The Pyg track up Snowdon starts off along a steep and rocky staircase, with views of a knife-edged mountain top above. However you’ll be pleased to know that this is not Snowdon as we initially thought, but rather Crib Goch – one of the most treacherous scrambles in the area.

The staircase soon levels out as you head towards Bwlch y Moch – a popular spot for climbers, with routes up to 250ft!

Shortly after, and providing there is no fog, you should be able to get your first view of Snowdon’s summit. And, although the path is well signposted, from here on up you’ll be able to follow the stream of like-minded hikers to the peak.

Lakes in Snowdonia

The path comes to join the Miners track, and weaves its way around an undulating path above Llyn Llydaw – one of the most popular natural lakes in Wales. This is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat while absorbing the stunning scenery, as the route is about to get tough.

After a short spell of rest, the route quickly steepens as you zigzag your way to the summit, which appears to be within touching distance, but don’t be fooled as you’ve still got a way to go! This part often requires some scrambling and is known to be dangerous in tough weather conditions.

Once you arrive at the mountain ridge, you’ll discover what’s been hiding behind it; the town of Llanberis, many lakes, Y Garn mountain and much more.

As the trail to the summit draws to a close, the peak really is within arms reach this time. You’ll find steps to the final path of the accent that is parallel to the Snowdon Mountain Railway tracks.

As to be expected, the views from the summit are spectacular. You’ll also find a café, gift shop and toilets upon arrival.

After you’ve snapped enough photos to record your achievement, it won’t be long until you’ll want to embark on your descent, as it’s significantly colder at the top.

Lakes in Snowdonia

Descending from Snowdon’s summit is arguably tougher. Your feet are tired, your legs achy and you’re thinking to yourself ‘how great it would be if there was a space on the Snowdon Mountain Railway for the return trip’.

Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to get a space on a whim. And anyway, you’ll thank yourself when you reach the bottom using those tired feet and achy legs when the sense of accomplishment washes over you that you’ve just completed the highest mountain in Wales!

You’ll need to concentrate a lot for the first half of the descent; as you’ll have seen on the accent, the surface is uneven with loose gravel, making it easy to slip.

Lakes near Mount Snowdon
Lakes near Mount Snowdon

Once you’ve made it back to the path above Llyn Llydaw, it’s much easier on the knees and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the remaining descent.

You’ll also have the option here to join the Minors track here if you fancy a change of scenary. You’ll be lead around two lakes: Glaslyn and Llyn Teyrn, before arriving back to the Pen-y-Pass car park.

The Pyg Track route map

The Pyg Track to Snowdon

My go-to platform when heading on any hiking trip is Alltrails. This is because you can download the map for offline use ahead of time so that even when you don’t have any signal, you’ll still be able to follow the correct route. Popular trail this like one are usually already on the platform, however if they’re not and I’m putting together a hiking guide, then I’ll create one for you guys to use too.

Download the trail: map

Preparing to hike The Pyg Track up Snowdon

The Pyg Track to Snowdon

Hiking the Pyg track (Snowdon) isn’t going to require the same level of training as hiking Everest, but it’s certainly no mean feat. The route is undulating and, at times, requires a bit of a scramble!

To prepare, we found some long and challenging hikes closer to home with some steep and lengthy inclines. Although these were nowhere near the same distance or level of incline as the Pyg track (Snowdon), doing some reps up and down these hills strengthened our legs and mentally prepared us for walking for long periods of time.

We also found the stair master in the gym was a useful piece of equipment to build some muscle ahead of the hike. It’s also one of those weird machines where you feel like you’re barely moving yet dripping in sweat, so you can get stuck into Netflix at the gym – the perfect workout scenario.

Snowdonia weather and the best time to hike

Lake and Mount Snowdon

The best time to do this hike is between May and September. This includes the summer season, so with a bit of luck you’ll have a good chance of having some good weather during this time. Anytime from December to March has the potential for some snow.

However, the weather in Snowdonia is much like the rest of the UK: very hit and miss. I’d recommend checking a weather app such as Accuweather which shows a live radar of what’s likely to happen over the next few hours. Additionally, it’s worth checking the webcam, as the weather at the base of the mountain can sometimes be very different to whats going on at the summit.

What to wear for hiking Mount Snowdon

Hiking boots

Since the weather can be hit and miss, you’ll want to pack clothes that will protect you for pretty much all the elements. Plus, even if you’re hiking Snowdon on a hot day, the summit will be much colder than it will be at the base. On the day of my trip, I wore shorts and a t-shirt for the climb and then had a jumper and waterproof jacket on by the time I reached the top.

Below is a packing list:

Where to stay near The Pyg Track in Snowdonia National Park

You’ll find numerous small towns and villages along the coastline and within the mountains, some of which you’ll likely want to visit or base yourself if you’re planning an overnight trip. Some of our favourites which we found to have the perfect combination of stunning scenery and things to do were:


Harlech Beach
Harlech Castle

Harlech is a small seaside town 40 minutes south of Snowdon. It’s home to little more than a few pubs and Harlech Castle – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, however, there are things to do within arms reach.

Most notably, you’ll find canyoning, white-water tubing, rock climbing and more that are available to book through Adrenaline Addicts.

One of the best restaurants we found in Harlech is Castle Bistro Harlech. It’s a small independent restaurant and they do an epic mango cheesecake that is to die for! We would 100% recommend that you visit Harlech, even if it’s just for that cheesecake.

Alternatively, grabbing fish and chips from the local chippie and setting up camp on the beach to watch the sunset is also a great thing to do.

Recommended for: Beaches, castles, water-sports, remote staycations


Bala boats

On the middle eastern side of Snowdonia National Park and approximately 1 hour from Snowdon is Bala.

It’s slightly more built-up than Harlech and lies on the edge of Llyn Tegid – the second largest lake in Wales. At 3.7 miles long and 0.5 miles wide, it’s the perfect spot for those who enjoy water sports, with plenty of opportunities to rent kayaks, canoes and boats for the day.

There are also some great hiking trails from Bala and its surrounding areas, most of which provide awesome views of the lake.

If you enjoy being immersed in nature and spending time on the water, with a few shops and restaurants nearby then Bala would be a great base – we would definitely consider it next time if we wanted to be somewhere a little more remote.

Recommended for: Lakes, photography, nature


Betsws-y-Coed waterfall

Betsws-y-Coed is on the right side of Snowdonia National Park and is around 30 minutes from Snowdon.

It’s where we chose to base ourselves for our trip and found it to be a great hub for our needs – we love nature, we love cobbled houses, we love cute little pubs – and Betsws-y-Coed is basically that.

Swallow Falls and Pont-y-Pair Bridge are worth visiting while you’re in the town, as well as Stables Bar for some traditional pub grub. Betsws-y-Coed is also home to a golf club and Zip World Fforest which we highly recommend if you love high ropes and forest coasters!

It’s is also a popular spot for mountain bike riders, with the infamous Marin Trail less than 10 minutes north of the town.

Recommended for: Nature, pubs, activities, photography, biking

The Pyg Track FAQ

A dog and man sat in Snowdonia
  • Is The Pyg Track suitable for dogs?

    Yes, you’ll see plenty of dogs enjoying themselves on this route. Although the climb is steep in places, young and fit dogs will be just fine. Much like us, you’ll need to keep them hydrated on a hot day. You’ll also want to take a lead for times when you want to keep them closeby.

  • Is this hike suitable for children?

    Most families tend to opt for the Minors track if they’ve got children as this is the easiest route. However, if you’re child/children have some experience hiking then this route will be fine. On the day of my hike, I saw a few children tackling this route, so it’s certainly do-able if they’re capable.

  • Has anyone died climbing Snowdon?

    Yes, unfortunately approximately 8 people die per year climbing Mount Snowdon. However, it’s worth noting that these cases are usually when conditions are unsafe.

  • Is this trail suitable for beginners?

    If you’re relatively fit but don’t have much hiking experience, then you will be fine on this trail. However, if you’re fitness levels need some improvement and you also have no hiking experience, then you may be better off taking the Minors track.

  • Are there any facilities along the trail?

    At the start of the trail, you’ll find some toilets. At the summit, you’ll find toilets and a restaurant.

Things to do near Snowdon

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway
Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway operates two types of trains – one traditional diesel and two heritage steam engines. They both start in the town of Llanberis and chug along at little more than five miles per hour along a five-mile route to Snowdon’s summit.

The trains pass through waterfalls and a plethora of diverse scenery before stopping at the halfway station, where the 100-year-old steam trains re-fill their water tanks.

The train tracks then lead through the Rocky Valley and Clogwyn Station before arriving at the summit of Snowdon where the Hafod Eryri visitors centre is situated for indoor viewing, refreshments, gifts and toilets.

From Clogwyn Station, you can walk to Snowdon’s summit; it’s roughly 2km over 300m elevation and takes approximately 1 hour.

You’ll need to bear in mind that you cannot book a return trip from Clogwyn Station if you disembark from the train, however, they will allow you to jump on board if there is space on the day. For this reason, you need to be prepared to descend from Snowdon by foot should you need to.

Addional hiking in Snowdonia National Park

Cadair Idris

Although Snowdon is by far the most popular climb to tackle, the mountain range is home to an abundance of spectacular trails that range from 3km to 142km. Some popular hiking trails in Snowdonia National Park include:

  • Llyn Idwal Circular Walk

    Llyn Idwal is the lake that you see from above when hiking the Pyg track and walk beside if you’re taking the Miners track. However, instead of starting from Pen-y-Pass, you begin this walk from Llanberis.

    It’s a fairly short loop at just 4.7 km, with only a few tricky sections requiring a scramble. We found this the perfect leg stretcher the night before hiking the Pyg track and enjoyed chilling with the wild ponies!

  • Cadair Idris Circular Walk

    Cadair Idris circular walk is possibly the second-best walk in Snowdonia National Park (or at least we thought so!).

    The route starts in Minffordd and it was a challenging 9km hike, to say the least! There are many steep and treacherous sections to overcome, however, the views that this route provides are absolutely stunning.

    You’ll need to allow 5-6 hours to complete Cadair Idris circular walk and bear in mind that there are no amenities like there are on Snowdon.

    However, Minffordd is 15 minutes north of Harlech, which we previously mentioned was worth visiting. As such, pairing this walk with fish and chips on the beach in Harlech sounds like an opportunity we missed!

  • Snowdonia Slate Trail

    Ok…we did not do this. It’s 142km long and way beyond our little legs, but we think it’s worth mentioning for those who are really looking to test themselves and cover some significant mileage around Snowdonia National Park.

    It begins in Bangor and looks like a stunning route, so perhaps one to add to the list for next time!

Zip World Adventures

boy on a Zipline

Zip World operates at 4 sites in Snowdonia National Park – 3 are in the north and 1 is in the south. They all offer a host of adventure activities for children and adults, including some unique activities we’ve not experienced anywhere else in the world!

Check them out: Zipworld

Explore Wales further


If you like the sound of The Pyg Track up Snowdon and want to explore the country further, then you’ll find some more guides which may be useful on our Wales page.

Some of my favourites in the country are The Four Waterfalls Walk and Pen Y Fan.

Stay Wild Travels.

Disclosure: just a heads up that some of the links within this blog are affiliated which means that we may receive a small commission. We only recommend things that we truly believe in. If you use any of these links, it really helps support our blog, so thank you!


Sunday 9th of May 2021

Wow! I had no idea about Snowdon let alone the Pyg track! It looks absolutely beautiful and I am definitely going to be adding this to the places I want to visit as I love hiking. Thank you for sharing this fantastic post!


Monday 10th of May 2021

Ah thanks Nancy - it's an awesome place! :)

Emotions Chaser

Sunday 9th of May 2021

Beautiful post! I have read a lot of good reviews about Snowdonia National Park, so it is definitely on my bucket list!


Sunday 9th of May 2021

Thanks so much! Definitely worth a visit! :)

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