Moel Eilio and Yr Wyddfa Circular Route from Llanberis
Start and Finish:
Distance: 21.04 km
Ascent: 1287 m
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Before You Walk up Snowdon, ask yourself – Are you equipped? Do you know what you’re doing? Are the conditions safe? If you answer no to any of these, stay safe, don’t go! Check the weather forecast and make sure you know about walking up Snowdon in the Snow. If you lack experience – hire a Snowdon Mountain Guide.
Most in Llanberis
Sherpa buses plentiful.
Distance and ascent
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Moel Eilio and Yr Wyddfa Circular Route from Llanberis Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
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Moel Eilio and Yr Wyddfa Circular Route from Llanberis
The walk up Moel Eilio from Llanberis is a classic half day from this popular Snowdonia village. It’s also a lesser known ascent of Snowdon from Llanberis, albeit a really long approach! Don’t let that put you off however, as the approach along the Moel Eilio ridge and Moel Cynghorion provides plenty of interest along the way. Just make sure you’ve got enough energy to ascend the Ranger Path after all that. It is a committing walk, but you can at least cut it short if you find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew by ascending back to Llanberis via Bwlch Maesgwm – see Moel Eilio From Llanberis for the details. It finally descends to Llanberis via the Llanberis path, but a better option would be to descend any other path and get a Sherpa Bus back to the start.
You can start this walk from many points in Llanberis. You can walk up a minor road that goes past the Pantry and The Outdoor Shop – clarly signposted for the youth hostel, before turning right and then left uphill. That takes you to the road head at SH567 594 (marked Maen Llwyd). A better route up starts by the Snowdon Railway viaduct, at SH579 595 on a track marked Waterfall. Start on this track uphill rather than turning immediately left to the waterfalls (although a quick walk to the Ceunant Mawr Llanberis Waterfalls won’t add a lot to the days’ walking) It’s a steep pull to start with, but you are quickly crossing fields and arrive at the good track (SH 575 587) where you turn right and keep to the same direction on the track ,then path to arrive at Maen Llwyd above.
The route up from here to Moel Eilio is straightforward. Follow the track northwards initially as it turns west to the quarry scarred wide Bwlch-y-groes. There is a gate here that marks as far as you go on the track. You now take the path up the long, wide northern ridge of Moel Eilio. You can leave the track much sooner if you want to cut across. This climb takes about an hour or so.
The summit shelter is a huge affair, and it was a welcome respite from the weather today. The temperature was meant to be mild, but it felt hostile on there. I had to hang about as I was meeting a friend who was climbing from the Llanberis side (I’d come up from the crossroads at SH526 600 – just above Waunfawr). Of course, best laid plans, we had our messages crossed. I thought I was waiting for him, while he thought he was catching up to me, so it turned out he was a further kilometre or so along the ridge.
The continuation from the summit is again straightforward, heading towards the fence you crossed and following it down to a stile over a stone wall. It’s undulating, with some safe exposure if you keep left and views straight down into Cwm Dwythwch. The path is faint in places, but keep to the highest part of the broad ridge and you won’t go far wrong. The final lump on the ridge is Foel Goch – you can go over it, or contour around its southern flanks to reach Bwlch Maesgwm.
This is where you want to keep your willpower. It’s so easy to turn down to Llanberis for a pint, but much better to keep on over Moel Cynghorion or drop down to the Ranger path. Moel Cynghorion is another straightforward yomp, following a fence all the way and descending it’s steep Clogwyn Llechwedd Llo to hit the Ranger path at a respectable 500m. Descending a little to the Ranger is an easier option from Maesgwm, and we went that way. There was an unusual group of walkers at Maesgwm who went over Cynghorion. They had no map, a compass they were proud to say was at home and one was in wellies which looked quite uncomfortable.
The ascent from the Ranger is nothing difficult. Of all the paths up, it’s possibly the most straightforward path up. It doesn’t have the unpleasant loose rock of the Llanberis path, or the scree sections on the Miners, and i find it’s a comfortable walk, if steep and sharp. After zig zagging many times, you’re on more open hillside and you can see the summit. But it’s still deceptively far off. Just below the railway, you may find there’s stone for building the new ‘caff’ that appear to have been trundled.
The railway is your target, keep an eye out for the trains, and there’s a small standing stone here. Cross the raiway and up a steep grassy section (with an unclear path) to reach the marker stone for the Pyg track (SH 607 548). Follow the crowds right to the summit!
The return to your starting point in Llanberis is far too easy. We did so today as we’d wasted time waiting for each other on the hill. At least follow the ridge down, rather than the path by leaving the path at Clogwyn Station. The views into the Pass from there are superb and you’ll probably have it to yourself on the busiest of days. Or make it a really long summer trip by descending Lliwedd to Pen y Pass, or the longest day by descending the South Ridge and end the day on Yr Aran. Definately one of the epic walks.
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Recommended Walking Guides: A Pocket Guide to Snowdon: A Guide to the Routes of Ascent, The Ascent of Snowdon: The Six Classic Routes Up Snowdon, Snowdon – The Story of a Welsh Mountain: Biography of a Mountain
Walking Books – Snowdonia Ridges of Snowdonia: The Best Ridge Walking, Mountain Walks: The Finest Mountain Walks in Snowdonia, Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia , Day Walks in Snowdonia, Mountain Walking in Snowdonia
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