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Snowdon Circular Route Section 1 Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu

By Dave Roberts   

Published – December 29, 2018

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Snowdon Circular Route Section 1 Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu

Further Details

Route Summary:

The first leg of the Snowdon Circular has some excellent views, but has some sketchy paths as you descend from the Ranger Path to Rhyd Ddu which distracts slightly.

Start and Finish: Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu

Distance: 9.24 km

Ascent: 444 m

Time: 3 hours

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 yourselfAre 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.


Pub and tearooms in Rhyd Ddu, and plenty of facilities in Llanberis. The Penyceunant Isaf Tea Rooms can be found on the route, ideal if walking the route in reverse.

Public Transport:

The Snowdon Sherpa bus travels around the foot of Snowdon, creating a link between the six main routes that travel up Snowdon, as well as the main car parks, villages and tourist attractions in the area. Check out the Snowdon Sherpa page on Walk up Snowdon for the latest Snowdon Sherpa rundown.

Traveline for UK Public Transport


Paid parking available both ends.


Some wet sections and tricky navigation might be required if you miss any of the way-markers between the Ranger Path and Rhyd Ddu.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Walk up Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon Safely Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.

Check the Weather before setting out.

We reccommend  Met Office Snowdonia and MWIS and live conditions on Adventure Smart – live conditions

Snowdon Guidebooks:

Recommended Snowdon Maps

Snowdon Circular Route Section 1 Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Snowdon Circular Route Section 1 Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu

The Snowdon Circular Route is a planned ‘official’ route around Snowdon and until it is in place, this route can be followed from Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu. We will amend the guidance as the official route becomes clearer, but this allows those keen to walk the Snowdon Circular in the meantime to  do so between Llanberis and Pen y Pass.

Snowdon Circular Route Section 1 Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu Route Description

1 The suggested route starts off on the Llanberis Path at Victoria Terrace. Follow the tarmac road up, steeply, and once past the tearooms at Penyceunant Isaf, after 200m take the footpath to the right.  The path crosses a two fields before crossing the railway, and continues in the same direction keeping the river to your right.

2 Once the path reaches the bridge, turn right along the excellent new track that carries you across the damp valley bottom to join the Maesgwm path. There are excellent views here towards Snowdon.

3 Once on the Maesgwm Path, head left on a good bridleway. This travels up the valley to Bwlch Maesgwm from which a new view of Snowdon dominates the view.

4 The Maesgwm Path has been a good track for many years, but used to be sketchy on the descent to the Ranger. This has now been vastly improved and is an excellent track as it descends to join up with the Snowdon Ranger Path.

5 The next section between the Ranger Path and Glanrafon Quarry is particularly tricky to follow, essentially following a sketchy ROW through rough and sometimes wet Grassland. There are plenty of waymarker posts but a map and a bearing or two should help on this section. Just for good measure, the route crosses a well made farm track that’s only shown on the latest OS Maps at SH577 543 – so can cause some confusion! Cross the track and the footpath basically continues on the other side, crossing a stream on a footbridge as you arrive at the quarries.

6 The Glanrafon Quarry can be complicated but just keep your eyes peeled for the way-markers and you should be fine. The path heads downhill initially to avoid the slate tips, before heading back uphill to cross the next slate tip, with the way-marker posts essential to find your way across. It’s reasonably straightforward and you’ll soon be on open hillside again.

7 The path ahead is again faint but there are plenty of way-marker posts to mark the way. It’s also particularly wet and muddy in places, something that will need improving when the route is finalised. It’s only 1km, all downhill through some interesting ever changing terrain with spectacular views across to Mynydd Mawr, Llyn Cwellyn and the Nantlle Ridge. The section ends as soon as you reach a stile over the Welsh Highland Railway.

8 Once you cross the WHR, there’s again an excellent track that’s been recently built. This brings you rapidly and easily into the centre of Rhyd Ddu – with a path that can be taken to the pub from here.

9 Continue along the footpath to emerge on a track where you turn left towards the Rhyd Ddu Path car park. From here you can take on the next section of the Snowdon Circular Walk – The Lon Gwyrfai on to Beddgelert.


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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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