Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu
Yr Aran is a shapely summit to the south of Yr Wyddfa that makes a worthy outing in it’s own right if time is short. Better still, you can tack the summit onto the start of an ascent up Yr Wyddfa via the South Ridge for an epic day out.
Start and Finish: Rhyd Ddu
Distance: 10.1 km
Ascent: 524 m
Time: 4 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.
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.
Beddglert 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.
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
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
Some easy scrambling on the way up, while the descent involves route finding as the path is often non-existent. Some of the descent back to the quarry track can be boggy, but most can be avoided if you choose your line wisely!
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.
Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu
There’s always something special when you manage to fit a decent walk in on a weekeday. It’s almost like stolen time as we aren’t meant to do fun things on a weekday. It’s all work, work, work. So you have to work around that, and make the most of things. Well, I live so close to the hills that a bit of organisation means we can be treading the footpaths by half five (and this was later than I’d anticipated). What for? To bag a peak that’s been like a stone in my shoe for years. I’d been to Bwlch Cwm Llan somany times, and on all but one occasion gone straight over or turned left for the South Ridge. On the one occasion i turned right, i found my boots had no grip and had to turn back. So I was finally going to go up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu.
Yr Aran is an ideal easier winter summit, especially if you’re building up your winter skills. There’s a couple of sections that are steep enough to need care without being overly easy.
Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu Route Description
The walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu is quite straightforward from the car park at Rhyd Ddu following the path across the Welsh Highland Railway and towards Yr Wyddfa. This is a wide and easy path, posing no problems.
After a while, you will come to a gate that says “Footpath to Snowdon” or similar on it. Don’t turn off here or you’ll end up on the Rhyd Ddu path to Snowdon. Instead, continue on the path, through the spoil heaps, and eventually to Bwlch Cwm Llan. There is one point where you are nearly at the bwlch, and there will be a lake to to your right and a steep slate path ahead. Both lead to Bwlch Cwm Llan, and it’s personal preference. Going along the lake side is marginally shorter, but may also be boggy. This is definately an interesting place for people with interest in industrial archaeology. The slates here are less sterile than the tips above Llanberis, and are softened by thick lichen growth. From some angles, the tips almost look green.
At the bwlch, there is a dry stone wall. Follow this right. The path can be steep, and is polished rock in places (why i had to turn back before when wearing inadequate boots), and loose scree where it isnt! Fortunately it follows the wall for most of the route up. Once the wall starts veering left, you will find yourself on a shoulder with no wall. Following the path right will take you hassle free to the summit. Views from here are extensive, from Snowdon to the Rhinogydd..
The time has come to descend, and you can do that the way you came if you wished. In that way you could combine this summit with an ascent of Snowdon’s South Ridge. The quickest way down is to follow the path along the ridge. There is no clear path to take you back to the track, but the gound isn’t too difficult to cross. We left the path at SH 601 514, which is as soon as you can descend safely in reality. If it’s clear you need to be aiming for the dam at the lake in the bwlch, or take a bearing. Trying to cut across to hit the path lower down will bring you a problem of a barbed wire fence, so the route on the map is the better one. The ground towards the lake becomes a little boggy, but once on the dam it’s an easy task of retracing your steps to Rhyd Ddu.
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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