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Snowdon Circular Walk
By Dave Roberts
Published – December 27, 2018
Snowdon Circular Walk
Our far from official take on the soon to be official route around the base of Snowdon.
Start and Finish: Llanberis - Pen y Pass (via Beddgelert) - though eventually all the way to Llanberis.
Distance: 30.01 km
Ascent: 1162 m
Time: 8 hours on a very good day.
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.
There are pubs and cafes at Llanberis, with plenty of facilities on the entire route. Cwellyn Arms and tea rooms in Rhyd Ddu, selection of pubs and cafes in Beddgelert, Caffi Gwynant in Nant Gwynant and of course Mallory’s and the cafe at Pen y Pass. The Pen y Gwryd hotel is only slightly off path, and we think anyone looking to complete this route should stop or even stay there for the full experience.
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.
Each of the main villages along the way have parking.
Getting lost at Glanrafon Quarry on the descent to Rhyd Ddu, which also has some boggy sections. The rest of the route is on good paths all the way.
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.
Snowdon Circular Walk
The Snowdon Circular Walk is a waymarked trail around the mountain of Snowdon in Snowdonia that’s currently under development. While the final route is being finalised, you can still walk around Snowdon on a combination of new trails (probably part of the new trail!), waymarked paths and slightly more sketchy rights of ways. There’s no way to finish the loop as a low level walk currently (not on right of ways) but you can walk the route from Llanberis to Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert and on to Pen-y-pass before finishing the walk by climbing over Snowdon.
The low level option outlined below is around 30km in length with links to our full description to the individual sections. The entire length is serviced by the Snowdon Sherpa bus route, and you can easily base yourself and walk the route in that way.
Height Gained – 450 metres , Distance – 9.3 km, Time –3 hours
The Snowdon Circular Walk starts off in Llanberis, though being a circular walk you could start off at any of the villages on the route. There’s an initial climb on the Llanberis Path before heading across the valley to the Maesgwm path and over to the Snowdon Ranger Path on a brand new track. From here, the next section is sketchy, with old way-markers marking the way. They’re easy to miss! The route passes through the quarry and then through some wet ground to meet a newly built path that takes you into Rhyd Ddu. These new trails at either end suggests that this is probably not far off the official route.
Height Gained – 120 metres , Distance – 8 km, Time – 2 hours
The Lon Gwyrfai is an established trail, and one of our favourite trail runs at only 8.5km, views and minimal ascent. While the section is through plantation forestry, it’s a much better route than that suggests, with expansive views for most of the distance. It also passes and crosses the Welsh Highland Railway numerous times, so you may be lucky and time your walk to go with the trains.
Height Gained – 170 metres , Distance – 5.6 km, Time – 2 hours
From Beddgelert, there has always been a popular and clear path to Nant Gwynant along the Afon Glaslyn. However, it’s recently been spruced up and Lon Gwyrfai posts placed along the walk, making it an absolute joy to walk. It can be a tad busy however! Llyn Dinas is one of the highlights of the entire walk.
Height Gained – 450 metres , Distance – 7 km, Time – 2.5 hours
The final section includes a length along permissive paths through National Trust land, and then established right of ways through ancient woodland to a viewpoint high above Llyn Gwynant. So impressive is the view, that I once spent the night here in a bivvy bag (you don’t want to sleep here if you roll about in your sleep!). The trail continues up the valley, with no work or way-marks placed on this section, but reasonably easy to follow. Only after Cwm Dyli Power Station do we encounter some more new paths with a new footbridge and an excellent path up to Pen-y-pass.
Snowdon Circular Route Section 5 – Pen y Pass to Llanberis
Height Gained – n/a metres , Distance – n/a km, Time –n/a hours
There is currently no option to walk this along public right of ways, other than the road which is NOT RECOMMENDED! There’s a section of footpath between Gwastadnant and Nant Peris and there’s a pavement that can be walked from there into Llanberis. We’ll update this section as soon as there’s some information on the route forthcoming.
For anyone contemplating this walk at present, we’d suggest finishing the walk off by ascending Snowdon via one of the many paths up from Pen y Pass such as the Miner’s Path or the PYG Track. You can then descend to Llanberis via the Llanberis path.
Live Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon Conditions
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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