The Rhyd Ddu Path – Llwybr Rhyd Ddu

By Dave Roberts   

Published – February 22, 2023

  4.75/5 (8)

The Rhyd Ddu Path – Llwybr Rhyd Ddu

Further Details

Route Summary:

The Rhyd Ddu path provides a quiet option for climbing Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).

Remember that distance and timings for this walk is for one way only! If you’re not sure of your own pace – double it to be on the safe side.

Experienced, fit walkers can easily complete this walk up and down in around 4-5 hours.

Updated for 2023

Start and Finish: Rhyd Ddu - Snowdon Summit

Distance: 5.81 km

Ascent: 859 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.


There’s a decent pub in Rhyd-ddu – Cwellyn Arms – that has a wide selection of decent ales and food, as well as a tea room.

Beddgelert in the opposite direction has plenty of pubs, cafes and a small shop.

Public toilets can be found in both villages but there are none on the route.

Public Transport:

There are regular Sherpa Buses and you can also use the Welsh Highland Railway. Both allow you to reach the Ranger from Porthmadog/Beddgelert and Caernarfon, with connections to Pen-y-pass and Betws-y-Coed.

See our page on Walking up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) using Public Transport

Traveline for UK Public Transport


Parking is usually OK at Rhyd Ddu, but can still get full on fine days in the high season. £6 a day, £3 for 4 hours – Card only.

See our Yr Wyddfa Snowdon Parking 2023 page for full information


The route does provide some exposure on crossing Bwlch Main

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

The Rhyd Ddu Path – Llwybr Rhyd Ddu Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

The Rhyd Ddu Path – Llwybr Rhyd Ddu

The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon starts off, not surprisingly, in Rhyd Ddu, just by the Welsh Highland Railway Station. It was historically known as the Beddgelert Path, as it originally started there as a pony path with the original line walkable from Pont Cae’r Gors. Taking the train to the start of this walk is highly recommended!

Route Description

1 The Rhyd Ddu Path starts off from the WHR station, which has a car park as well as a daily bus service from Caernarfon, Beddgelert and Porthmadog.

Facing the railway and Snowdon, follow the car park left and to a gate over the railway where you can cross with care.

Walk up Snowdon via The Rhyd Ddu Path

2 Follow the track, which is wide and easy, and take the first right junction. The track now meanders at a reasonably easy angle for a kilometre or so until you reach the track junction at Pen ar Lon.

3 At Pen-y-lon, the Rhyd Ddu path branches off to the left, with a useful stone marking the spot. The track otherwise continues to Bwlch Cwm Llan and the South Ridge.

4  The Rhyd Ddu Path now becomes narrow, and due to past erosion has been restored into a stone path with the going good. It continues at an easy gradient for around 1km before passing through or over a wall (the gate is occasionally open) and arriving at a conspicuously flat area known as Rhos Boeth soon after. There are a couple of old ruins here that were probably a hafod, but could also have been the spot at which Victorian travellers left their horses and were made to walk!

The Rev Williams Bingley, 1804 North Wales, Including its Scenery, Antiquities, Customs and some sketches of its Natural History

We set out, commencing our mountain journey by turning to the right, from the Caernarvon road, at the distance of about two miles and a half from the village [Beddgelert]. We left the horse at a cottage, about half way up, from whence taking a bottle of milk to mix with some rum that we had brought along with us, we continued our route over a series of pointed and craggy rocks. Stopping at different times to rest, we enjoyed to the utmost, the prospects that by degrees were opening around us.

Towards the upper part of the mountain, we passed over a tremendous ridge of rock, called Clawdd coch, the red ridge. This narrow pass, not more than ten or twelve feet across, and two or three hundred yards in length, was so steep, that the eye reached on each side, down the whole extent of the mountain.

Rhos Boeth is, you’ll be glad to know, roughly half way up, and you can imagine the travellers pausing at this cottage (though probably a hafod – summer dwelling) and leaving their horses.

5 It becomes clearly apparent why the Rev Bingley left his horse at this spot as the route becomes rougher and steeper from this point onward. It’s a slog to reach the top of this section of slope, at which point the views open out and the going becomes much more pleasant.

6  Following the top of Llechog, the views are extensive across to Bwlch Main and the Summit, with one of the best aspects towards the summit of any path.

The Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon

7 There follows a final slog up zig-zagging scree before you reach the gem of the route; Bwlch Main.


8 We wouldn’t recommend you drink milk laced with rum as you’ll need to take some care on this narrow ridge. Bwlch Main is not quite as exposed asCrib Goch, but it’s probably one of the narrowest walking ridges in Snowdonia and provides the best walking approach to Snowdon of any route!

The Rhyd Ddu Path weaves its way through the rocks, but barely becomes a scramble at all, with a couple of rocky steps as technical as it gets.

8 Finally the ridge widens out, and you arrive at the Watkin Path/ Rhyd Ddu waymarker. Continue past this, and up a short section of loose path and you’ll arrive right at Hafod Eryri in a matter of minutes.

To the Summit

Rhyd_ddu_path_018 Rhyd_ddu_path_016

Descending the Rhyd Ddu Path.

Ensure that you pass Hafod Eryri and do not descend the Watkin Path! Continue on down Bwlch Main, keeping an eye on where the path branches off towards the South Ridge proper. The Rhyd Ddu path veers right.

The Rhyd Ddu Path is easy enough in descent, but does seem to stop just before you reach the ruined hafod at Rhos Boeth. At SH 592 534 the path seems to end in a bog at the top of a steep slope, but actually turns sharply left. The path should be easily followed in reverse after this point.


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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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8 thoughts on “The Rhyd Ddu Path – Llwybr Rhyd Ddu”

  1. Hi there, I am taking a group of 9 up Snowdon next week (November 30th), some of which are not experienced in walking/climbing. Is this route suitable if I take proper precautions of course? I have printed a kit list for all, which includes proper mountain management – proper clothing, food, water, survival bag etc.

  2. Sam Boggis-Rolfe

    Hi, I am looking to do a route over the weekend of the 26th November. We are both young, fit and have some experience. We have good walking shoes but no cramptons etc. Do you think this route is doable at this time of year?

Comments are closed.