Snowdon via Cwm Clogwyn
A pathless route up Snowdon for experienced walkers looking for solitude.
Start and Finish: Snowdon Ranger - Yr Wyddfa
Distance: 8.29 km
Ascent: 957 m
Time: 3.5 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 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.
Small portapotty at start and a Youth Hostel.
Sherpa buses plentiful. Parking and WHR
This is an off path route and should only be attempted by experienced hill walkers. It shouldn’t be seen as an alternative route up if the other paths are too busy, and certainly not a route for groups. Navigation is a challenge.
Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path, Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.
Snowdon via Cwm Clogwyn
It seems sometimes like all the walking routes up Snowdon are busy and far too civilised. Looking at the map, there’s been one route up that’s a little contrived, but pathless for a the most part.
It does start off on one of the paths, and ends the route on another path, but somewhere in between you get to explore Snowdon’s least known cwm (probably along with Tregalan) and some beautiful mountain tarns where you can lunch and generally waste some time on the way up.
The route starts off from the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel and follows the Snowdon Ranger path of the same name. This is very straightforward, following the zig-zags at first, before the path gladly levels out. You can see Cwm Clogwyn to your right, below the summit. The blunt Llechog curving up to enclose the cwm and meet the South Ridge at the sharp ridge of Bwlch Main, before the final sweep to the summit.
The lower end of the Llechog ridge rises precipitously from the boggy Cwm Treweunydd and might make a scramble from the base if you feel adventurous. Instead, we’ll be tacking the ridge from Cwm Clogwyn.
To reach Cwm Clogwyn, we’ll need to get off path. Follow the Ranger path until you’re nearly at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, above Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas (at around SH588 557). There’s a pretty obvious low ridge that hides the lake, and it is this that you’ll need to aim for. The first section is a little wet, but once you’re on the higher ground it becomes much easier and a faint path leads down to the low dam.
Now you might be tempted to cross directly to the Afon Goch that tumbles from the cwm above, but that course is very wet. Instead, the faint path, if you find it, contours around the flat area centred on SH594 550 along easy ground before making for the fence that follows the Afon Goch steeply up to Cwm Clogwyn. When I did this, we camped on the rim of this boggy area near some boulders – a little gem of a site.
The path is largely lost now, but the river guides us. After slogging up, you can walk directly to Llyn Coch, and then Llyn Glas yet higher up. These aren’t where we’re headed, so just before Llyn Coch you can cross the fence at a stile and see if you can cross the river. We had to descend slightly (to where the map shows the stream braiding) before we could cross, but this didn’t prevent a bootful of ice cold water.
Take a rough bearing across the rough grass towards Llyn Nadroedd and follow its shore to the outlet stream. Take the line to the right of the steeper cliffs (obviously!) and this is where you’ll need to choose your line carefully. If in doubt, you can probably contour around to the Rhyd Ddu path and there was a faint path that seems to do just that. It was pretty steep, but the line was easy enough when we did it. There wasn’t much to see as the clag was down at 500m, the wind was gale force and rain as heavy as it could get.
The climb is only around 100m before flattening out (SH594 539) and suddenly there are a couple of cairns to follow. Your choice, you can continue uphill and keep away from the crowds as much as possible, or continue along the flat area to meet the path in a couple of minutes.
From there you can follow the Rhyd Ddu path up to the summit.
IO Weather Widget
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
Gear You May Need