Best Snowdon Horseshoes and Circular Walks
While we may have all the Walks up Snowdon, the best walks are usually circular or horseshoe routes. So here’s our rundown of the best day’s outing on Snowdon. Or in other words – which of the routes up Snowdon combine well for a horseshoe or circular walk – as it can be tedious going up and down the same way!
Without a doubt, this is no 1 Snowdon circular route. Involving the ascent of Crib Goch, an involved grade 1 scramble that’s not for the faint hearted, before a final scramble over Crib y Ddysgl to Carnedd Ugain. It’s then a comparably easy stroll over to the summit of Snowdon. But the day’s not over yet. There’s a final scramble over the wonderfully rugged Lliwedd to finish off a perfect day in the hills! Finish off with a pint at Mallory’s at Pen y Pass.
2 The Alternative Snowdon Horseshoe
If the scrambling over Crib Goch sounds too hairy for your liking, then this route from Nant Gwynant is the ‘other’ classic Snowdon Horseshoe. Setting off up the Watkin Path and up into Cwm Llan, the route takes you up the splendid Snowdon South Ridge (Allt Maenderyn) from Nant Gwynant. This route involves a couple of sections of scrambling before you cross the slightly exposed Bwlch Main. After the summit of Yr Wyddfa, you continue onward to Y Lliwedd and optionally Gallt y Wenallt before heading off path to hopefully find the copper mined and the good track that leads you back to the start. You could also descend via Pen y Pass and follow the footpaths into Nant Gwynant from there for a truly big day out, that also means you can make a slight detour to the Pen y Gwryd!
3 Up the South Ridge Down the Watkin Path
This is similar to the Alternative Snowdon Horseshoe above, but without the added complication of the pathless descent. Instead, this route descends the Watkin Path. You could still walk up Y Lliwedd as a dog leg and still descend the Watkin path back to Nant Gwynant. There’s an excellent cafe in Nant Gwynant (it just happens to be licenced).
4 Up the PYG Track and Down the Miners’ Track
The route up the PYG and down the Miner’s is one of the most popular circular Snowdon walking route. You can walk it in either way, with both being excellent choices. Both have excellent views on the ascent with the Miner’s being easier going and for us, makes a good finish. This is a circular route in the loosest sense as the paths join up for a good deal of the final ascent. You’ve the choice of the Cafe or Mallory’s for after walk recovery.
5 Up the South Ridge and down the Rhyd Ddu Path
This circular walk is similar to the PYG/Miner’s combination in that both paths share a significant section of the route. The Rhyd Ddu and South Ridge share the first section and the final ascent, diverging only in the middle. You get the added bonus of crossing Bwlch Main twice! The Cwellyn Arms is the essential post walk recovery station.
6 Up the Snowdon Ranger and Clogwyn y Gwin Paths and down the Rhyd Ddu Path –
What path? Well the Clogwyn y Gwin path is a little known track that takes you on a slightly convoluted route from Rhyd Ddu to join the Ranger Path and then on up Snowdon. It has some excellent views, but can be sketchy to follow in places. Don’t be fooled at the start, as there’s a shiny new path that only makes it as far as the Welsh Highland Railway before vanishing! Again, we’d recommend the Cwellyn Arms for post walk refreshment.
This is a much longer option, ascending Moel Eilio before taking the Ranger Path up Snowdon. Allow a good day for this walk. We’d suggest descending via the Llechog Ridge, but the temptation of the Half Way house might be too much! Pen y Ceunant is the essential stop at the walk’s end – being a licensed cafe and highly recommended. Or you can plod on into Llanberis for more options.
Missed your favourite? Add it in the comments below.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.