Walk up Snowdon via the Pyg Track

Location Map

Recommended Maps

Post Code for Sat Nav: LL55 4NY

Parking: 

LIMITED! £10 a day, £6 for 4 hours. Very early arrival advised. Park in Nant Peris for the Park and Ride.

Public Transport:

Sherpa Buses from Llanberis and Betws y Coed

Weather Forecast:  Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

Route Summary:

Shortest route up Snowdon with the least amount of ascent – but far from being the easiest!

Distance: 5.2 km

Ascent: 704 m

Time: 3 hours

Start and Finish:

Facilities:

Good cafe and YHA with bar, public toilets at Pen y Pass.

Hazards:

Zig Zags are an accident blackspot when iced and navigation from the PYG/Miners juncition to the zig zags can be tricky in mist.

Snowdon and Snowdonia Guidebooks:

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.

Walk up Snowdon via the Pyg Track Details

The Pyg track is both the shortest walking route up Snowdon, and the one that involves the least amount of ascent. Despite this, the Pyg Track is not the easiest path up as it can be steep and rocky in places but the paths are generally very good all the way and reasonably straightforward to follow.  The Pyg Track is 5.5km in length and involves around 800m of ascent. If you’re reasonably fit, you should make it up in three hours. Remember to allow time for breaks and stopping to take in the sights, of which there are plenty.

The views of Snowdon are among the best of any route up. The Pyg is also one of the busiest routes up, so consider setting off very early in the morning or mid-afternoon to avoid the crowds. If you do set off later in the day, make sure you’ve got enough hours of daylight left to descend safely. In winter conditions, the upper section of the path becomes very treacherous and in common with all the other routes up, should not be attempted in snow unless you’re properly equipped and experienced.

The Pyg Track Walk up Snowdon Route Map and GPX Download

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The Pyg Track Walk up Snowdon Route Description

You’ll find that the Pyg Track is straightforward from here as the path starts off gradually on short rocky steps with a few sections requiring scrambling. The peak that dominates the view ahead isn’t, as you may think, Snowdon, but Crib Goch (which translates as the Red Ridge – the reason for which is obvious if you can see it). This is a knife edged Arête with sheer drops on either side and is regarded as one of the classic scrambles in the country. The Pyg Track  skirts below this ridge and if you look up then you’ll probably be able to see the people on the airy traverse far above.

Pyg track walk up snowdon from Pen y passThe walk starts from the Pen y Pass car park. You need to cross this to the left of the main café building and the start of the path should be obvious as the gate is marked as the Pyg Track.

Pyg track walk up snowdon from Pen y pass

The path is reasonably straightforward. It descends initially in big steps towards Bwlch y Moch before levelling out. Just make sure you don’t take the path to the right here, marked Crib Goch! You should get your first views from here of the summit, if you’re lucky. I’m yet to walk up this path without hill fog.

Pyg track walk up snowdon from Pen y passThe Pyg Track contours along the hillside below Crib Goch and above Llyn Llydaw and is a good path all the way, ust take care in the wet as the rock is well polished in places. It’s only once the Miner’s Track joins the Pyg Track that the going becomes rockier and often threads in different directions. I tend to keep right, the routes to the left tend to find scree. Be careful to keep to the path on this stage as it can be easy to stray off as some points.

Pyg track walk up snowdon from Pen y pass

If it is thick mist and you have any doubts then turn back, the mountain will still be there next time. Chances are there will be a crocodile train of people going the same way, making keeping to the path a lot easier. On old maps and still by some, this section was know as Llwybyr Mul – the Mule Track, though it’s hard to imagine mules hauling passengers up this part.

Ascending slowly, the Pyg Track / Miner’s Track eventually reaches the sheer cliffs below Garnedd Ugain before the wire gabions mark the point at which the path turns right up the infamous zig-zags. In fact, it’s just a zig and a zag and you’re on the crest of the ridge marked by a finger post, Bwlch Glas. If you’re descending, keep to the path. Taking short cuts acoss the zig and zags just causes erosion. In winter, this section is a notorious accident blackspot, so beware.

Take the path to your left, and the summit of Snowdon is close now, but still another 100m climb. There are steps either side of Snowdon summit and it can often be quite a melee to get to the top on a busy summer’s day. If you do, then you may be able to see the brass plate on the trig point that can be used to identify all the different summits.

If you face down the railway you’ll see Llanberis and its lakes, then clockwise towards Elidir Fawr and the Dinorwig Quarry that scars its surface. Inside is a massive pump storage power station which you can visit on guided tours and is well worth the few hours it takes. Across to Y Garn and the Glyderau with the Carneddau behind. The next peak, standing alone is Moel Siabod, and then the views become more distant and more difficult to discern.

You can certainly see the Arenig Hills, Aran Fawddwy and Cadair Idris far to the south and then Cardigan Bay, Moel Hebog and the Nantlle Ridge. The solitary lump of Mynydd Mawr and finally the grassy ridges of Moel Eilio stretching off from Yr Wyddfa itself and you are back in Llanberis.Pyg track walk up snowdon from Pen y pass - Snowdon Summit Views
Even if the cloud is obscuring the summits, you will certainly be able to see the new summit building, Hafod Eryri – or Summer Dwelling, which while some do not welcome its presence on the mountain it is certainly much easier on the eye than the previous lump of concrete. There has been a building on the summit for a couple of centuries, and it was William Clough Ellis – who built the most beautiful Portmeirion – who built the previous café. He must have been having an uncharacteristic bad day. This building was described in many ways, usually negative, given  the unflattering tag of ‘highest slum in Wales” by Prince Charles. Anyone who remembers the old building, regardless of their philosophy, would agree that Hafod Eryri is certainly less intrusive and much easier on the eye than the carbuncle it replaced. Remember that some people still refer to it as a hotel but be under no impression that it is, there is no accommodation available on the summit and the building closes with the last train, and for winter.

Hafod Eryri is open for refreshments and an exhibition, but is also the station for the railway. You may be able to get a return ticket down, but it is not guaranteed and you are recommended to ring and book if you intend on doing that. It doesn’t feel very remote now, so take a quiet route down to make sure your day’s been worth it. Better still, if you’re confident of your fitness and hill skills, walk up in the late afternoon. This is the only time I’ll go up for pleasure these days. You’ll rarely see another sole/soul up there at that time, and usually get the summit to yourself. Of course, you’ll get the comments on the way up that you’re going up late. I just smile and tell them I’ve got a bed booked in the hotel!

Now visit Snowdon summit.

Don’t Forget a Map and Guidebook:

 

30 Comments
  1. […] Visit Walk up Snowdon for the full route description. […]

  2. linda kemp 7 years ago

    Hi
    I would just like to say what a website truly is amazing i have really enjoyed reading so much information on snowdon thank you.
    My husband and i are planning to “walk” snowdon this year around the end of summer. We wanted to do something together that takes our breath away and brings us back to mother nature we have always wanted to do snowdon but never had the chance so we will be camping and leaving the kids at home it will be just us for the first time in 18 years!. We are novice mountain walkers this will be our first, we are looking for a easy ish walk not the easiest but nothing demanding that would include the use of ropes! or rock climbing as we have no experiance of either.
    We live on the coast in cornwall and often walk costal paths and beacons i go to our local beacon and surrounding area 5- 6 times a week but it is tiny (st.agnes)I walk around 5 miles per day over differant terrain (trying to get fit for snowdon and myself) My husband has put the routes well the whole thing into my trusted hands im trying to find out as much information as possible i was thinking the pyg track up? any help and information greatly apprceatied we would also be looking to camp somewhere we could walk one of the easier paths too and from.many many thanks in advance
    once again thank you so much for a lovely informative website i still have so much to read! and beautiful pictures to gaze over well i dream of snowdon before it becomes a reality. Cant Wait!
    lin x

    • Author
      Dave Roberts 7 years ago

      Hi Lin,
      Glad to hear you find the site useful.
      The pyg is an ideal first time up, and from what you say you’ll probably be fine. Navigation on one central section is the main problem (where the Miners joins it), but if you can find your way around the Cornish coast and can use a map and compass you’ll be OK. On a fine day, you’ll find there’s usually enough people on the route to follow anyway. I think coastal walking of the type you mention is actually superb practice, I hear some sections of the SW Coastal Path involves more ascent than Snowdon in places!
      Let us know how you get along on – http://www.mudandroutes.com/groups/walk-up-snowdon/

  3. linda kemp 7 years ago

    fantastic! I will let you know how we get along many thanks
    lin x

  4. Tina Oldfield 7 years ago

    Hi Dave
    As we now only have 4 weeks left before our 4 girl challenge to get to the summit of Snowdon, I have been looking for a good website to help me really get to grips with the route. You website is great!
    My friend Vicci has struggled with her weight and non fitness for many years now, and this year decided it was time to get her life in gear and set herself a challenge to lose weight get fit and get to the summit of Snowdon. She asked me to go with her as she wanted to do this as a charity challenge and raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign and in my daughters memory who tragically died in 2004 at just 26 from the beastly disease. In 2006 I did the Everest Base camp trek, got caught in freak snow storms and had to turn back just 700 mtrs from target, went back in 2007 and made it!!! So because of this I have been nominated leader!!! I have maps and compass etc, and three novice mountain walkers, but feel after reading through your site fairly confident now, just hope the weather is good, two of the girls have never seen anything from a height more than a block of flats. lol! The scenery if clear will leave a lasting impression on them. Thanks for all the info. with regards Tina – ‘Summit to Do!’ Girls. x

    • Author
      Dave Roberts 7 years ago

      Hi Tina,
      Hope the weather holds for you. If you have a just giving link, I’ll put it on the post.
      I’m taking that’s the bank holiday weekend? You’ll be able to navigate by following the other people. You’ll find that the car park at Pen y Pass is likely to be full very early on, especially on a fine day. One option is to park in Llanberis – get the sherpa bus to Pen y Pass and then walk up PYG/Miners and then down the Llanberis Path to finish. That has a cafe half way down which might help entice the others onwards!
      Best of luck, and let us know how you get on.

  5. pete greenway 7 years ago

    Hi dave,
    We are doing a walk up n down the pyg trail on the 15 july to raise money for charity that saves akitas, so there is a group of akitas that have already been saved doing it to save more in the future. Question is what would be the post code for a good meeting place as we will all be coming together from all over the uk
    Thanks for all the info on your site its very informative pete

    • Author
      Dave Roberts 7 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback!

      I’d advise that you’ll probably not get a parking space at Pen y Pass on the 15th if the weather is anywhere near decent, unless you meet well before 8am.

      The safer bet is perhaps to meet in Nant Peris and make use of the park and ride. I don’t recall the parking costs there, but they’re certainly lower than the £10 charged in PYP. The Faenol Arms pub is in front, and the post code for that is LL55 4UF – use the link below in order to get the driving directions.

      View Larger Map

      Let me know if you want any more info, and best of luck with the fundraising!

      • Helen 3 years ago

        Parking at Nant Peris is £4 make sure you have change and the Sherpa bus is £1.50 single each person . Don’t do what I did and think that it’s a return or you will end up with an added walk you didn’t plan from pen y pass to Nant Peris to collect your car! Don’t rely on the understand of your mistake by the Sherpa driver either they couldn’t care less if you have mistaken the price !

  6. Jackie Ward 7 years ago

    I’m heading to Snowdon on Saturday 14th July, but have a 4.5 hour drive, so wont get there until about midday and after a short lunch break want to start going up. I’m in my fifties and relatively fit, (Aerobiking, zumba and such like). I can walk for miles, but dont do much in the way of hill walking. I’m not too bothered about the strenuous side of it, slowly and surely is my way…..but I really dont like to feel exposed on narrow ledges. No-one mentions any ‘exposure’ on the Pyg route, but I would appreciate your view. My two sons (in their 20s) will be with me and can help me over the tough bits.
    I’ve noted your comments about the parking, as that is likely to prove very helpful for us.

  7. daniel biggs 7 years ago

    Hi ,
    ive not done many mountain walks but i have done skarfell which i really did enjoy and now im looking to go up snowdon in december , will it be safe to do this ?

  8. […] Obviously our aim as ‘hikers’ was to go up Snowdon. It had been really hot weather and we picked a day when it would be a little cooler. Walking up Snowdon isn’t exactly a stroll in the park. The route we chose to go up the mountain is called the ‘Pyg Track’ […]

  9. […] with a crocodile of others then just get to Pen Y Pass by around 7am and join them on the PYG. If you’re looking for a bit more solitude, then why not try these walks from the Walk Eryri […]

  10. […] Digital copy of hand print – negative shot on 35mm film in summer 1994. (click to enlarge) Pyg Track, Snowdon, Wales, UK. […]

  11. […] Pyg Track –  Height Gained 705m, Distance 5km, Time 2 hrs 15 min. […]

  12. BethL 3 years ago

    Wonderful tips and guidance on this site. I’m planning my first solo walk up snowdon and thinking I might do the Pyg track. I’m not very fit, but what I lack in strength, I make up for in sheer stubborn determination! Any tips on this journey would be received gratefully 🙂

  13. Allan Paul 3 years ago

    Great walk up the Pyg Track and down the Miners trail, but the day was marred when I got a parking ticket for parking on A4086 just down from the cafe near the T juction. We were well down (200m) from the pay and display section, no road markings our signs nearby. There were many others with tickets too. Leaves a very sour taste when we’ve come to spend our cash here and its being pinched from us. Poor show Wales.

    • Author
      Dave Roberts 3 years ago

      Sorry to hear that, we’re looking to add a public transport and parking article in the spring.

  14. emma wainwright 3 years ago

    Hi Dave
    Just looking for a bit or friendly advice really! Myself, my friend and my mother are planning Snowdon on 17th April and as we are novice climbers we have decided on the Llanberis path to the top and was going to do the same on the descent but feel that another way down would be even better and not sure the best one for beginners?? We are reasonably fit, spin classes, circuit training etc but thought we would start reasonably easy. Is a compass and map also recommended or can we just follow the guided instructions? Much appreciated!!!

  15. cjhwrites 3 years ago

    My wife and I are heading back to Snowdon for our 25th wedding anniversary. My wife is going up the Llanberis path and I’m torn between the Miner’s path and the Pyg track. We’re treating it as a race and although she has the longer route, she is also considerably fitter than me.
    I’ve been up the Llanberis route before and taken the Miner’s path as far as Glaslyn (where my wife wimped out on facing the steep climb). Time wise, which would you consider to be the quicker route out of the Pyg track and Miner’s path?

  16. Mandy 3 years ago

    Thanks for all the advice on here … we did the pyg track yesterday in the fog and rain (believe it or not it was the best days forecast during our 5 day stay in Snowdonia!) … just wanted to say if I can do it any reasonably fit person can! I am a 52 year old who does absolutely no regularly exercise and did no preparation for the climb … we took about 2.5 hours going up (perhaps it would have been longer if we could have seen the views!) and about 2 hours coming down. Today I am slightly stiff (particularly doing stairs) but as the other 3 members of my family who all do a lot of sport are also slightly stiff I don’t feel too bad! My only advise to others would be to maybe take a map of the route as we did lose the path on a couple of occasions but luckily there was someone else around to ask on each occasion. Also despite the weather when we got to the car park at 7.30am we got the very last space, so get there early!!.

  17. charlie 3 years ago

    Hi I am planning on jogging snowdon this Sunday 9th October. Going up the Pyg track and back down the Llanberis Path. Plan is to leave the car at the Pen y Pass Car Park (LL55 4NY) and get the bus from Sherpa Bus Stop: Llanberis Interchange (LL55 4TY) back to the car. We are arriving at 9am, will there be spaces in the Pen y Pass Car Park at this time? If not where would you advise to park? Thanks

  18. Lee Goodwin 2 years ago

    With a group of Friends we completed the three peaks challenge with Snowdon being the last and the best.
    Ice Snow but paths were clean and maintained and wow that last 100m was in 4 ” snow in crampons head down against the wind
    Pure adrenaline and drive the best feeling I have experienced for a long time

  19. Author
    Dave Roberts 2 years ago

    Great option for walkers up Snowdon.

  20. Marie 10 months ago

    Hi i am staying in talybont and it says its around an hour drive to either starting point to climb snowdon. Ive read the comments but am a bit confused i think we ade going to try the pyg track we were going to do the llanberis but changed our minds. We are going on the 18th august reading the reviews i see we have to get there early. Please can you tell me tge best place to park for tge pyg track coming from talybont and do you have fo use a map were not great with maps and im worried about coming off track. Thanks 🙂

    • Author
      Dave Roberts 10 months ago

      Hi Marie, You’ll need to park at Pen-y-pass for the PYG track, but you could also catch a Sherpa from Beddgelert which is a bit nearer (I’m assuming the Tal y Bont near Harlech, not Conwy??) There’s a good path all the way, and most people make it up and down in fine weather with no problems – but people do end up on the wrong paths, descend the wrong side of the mountain and so on. We don’t recommend that anyone walks up Snowdon without knowing how to use a map and compass and in that case we suggest seeing if you can get a place on a group walk with a qualified guide.

  21. Retired Smiler 9 months ago

    Hi Dave,
    In the early 70’s I was in Snowdonia every month with groups of young people including completing the 14 peaks at one go. I’ve not been there since! At the October half term I will be leading a motly group of grand parents, parents and grandchildren including my own… So boning up on my map reading and compass skills and rope/knot handling in case of scrambling/exposure reassurance. Having done the “standard horseshoe” route many times in reading your Walkupsnowdon I realised I had never done the Southern Horseshoe route. It won’t be on our itinary this time as your route estimate of 8 hours will probably stretch the interest and stamina of some very unfit people! But your photo’s have stimulated the interest for a possible future occasion.. Thank you for a very informative set of routes and illustrations..
    We’ll probably set off on the Pyg Track to give the young mountain goats (grandchildren) something to keep them interested and down by the miners.. I’ll share your routes with them so that they can see where we are going and the route information so that they can have a bash at leading us.. Just hope the way marks are not loads of people ahead of us!!

  22. Sally Elson 9 months ago

    Hi, please can someone confirm if the Sherpa bus picks up/drops off in Nant Peris to Pen y Pass on a Sunday?
    I keep seeing about a Saturday-only park and ride there, but it looks like from timetables the Sherpa bus operates there on Sundays? Planning on parking there this Sunday if we can’t get on Pen y Pass car park.

  23. Ian 5 months ago

    Hi Dave

    Great advise on your site and very helpful indeed

    We are looking to climb snowdon in may with our 6 year old daughter who has walked in the lakes before. Thinking of the PYG or Snowdown Ranger routes. Do any if these have any sheer drops that would be safe children wise. From what I have read PYG is fine?, just a lot of climbing at times to do, which she will love.

    Thanks

    • Author
      Dave Roberts 5 months ago

      Hi Ian – thanks for the feedback! Snowdon Ranger is the easiest and arguably least interesting of those two but still a decent walk. But as you mention, the PYG should also be ok with just the usual dangers (that is, it isn’t Crib Goch and doesn’t have the sheer drops that makes the Rhyd Ddu / South Ridge exposed over Bwlch Main).

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