How to Walk up Snowdon With Children
By Dave Roberts
Posted in Hints and Tips for Climbing Snowdon
How to Walk up Snowdon With Children
Can you climb Snowdon with a child? While there are plenty of easy walks in Snowdonia that may be a better starting point, walking up Snowdon with your children is one of the best family walks in North Wales. We’ll look at which walk up Snowdon is best for Children and how to keep them safe. Most of all, to make sure the little ones enjoy it! If you get a result like this on the top, you’ve done good!
However, you need to be aware that there are no Snowdon routes for beginners or any easy walks up Snowdon. They are all HARD. If you’re looking for easy mountains to climb in the UK, then you’re definitely looking at the wrong mountain! Unless you’re ultra fit, then for anyone who’s not used to hill walking, the walk to the summit of Snowdon is a challenge. It will take you from 4 to 8 hours to walk up Snowdon, and you’ll feel it the next day! So bear this in mind when talking little legs up Snowdon. Can you imagine them being able to sustain the walk for that long? Are you prepared to carry them if needed? Some sections would be tricky if you carry them a well..
The first thing you need to consider is can you safely walk up and down Snowdon?
If you’re not confident in your own abilities to walk safely up and down Snowdon, then stop reading here and either hire a guide or join an experienced group. You, as the parent or responsible adult, and you alone should know what the child is capable of and we can only provide very rough advice!
Like anything related with Snowdon – if you’re not sure it’s safe, then you shouldn’t do it.
Climbing Snowdon with a Baby, Toddler or Pushchair.
If you’re used to doing this on other mountains, then you probably know what you’re doing already! If you’ve got a toddler, then break them in gently with a walk to Llyn Llydaw for instance. Remember you’ll need some way of bringing your nappies back down with you, and also some way of actually changing their nappies! Taking a pushchair up Snowdon is not recommended, but may be possible as far as Llyn Llydaw if you’re used to going off road with a suitable baby buggy.
PLEASE – be willing as well to turn back at any point! If you’ve got more than one child in tow, then having a few more adults with you might be a wise option as you won’t have a civil war on your hand as one child wants to turn back to the disappointment of the rest.
Is your child used to hill walking?
If the answer is no, then you should probably get the train until you’ve done a few practice walks. The walk up Snowdon covers a distance of between 10 and 16km up and down, which is no mean feat. If you haven’t taken them for a low level walk of at least this distance, and they’ve enjoyed it, then you’e taking a risk walking the kids up Snowdon without proper fitness. Remember that he paths are also rough and that any steps will be much larger obstacles to shorter legs!
Is your kid properly prepared?
Make sure your kids are as well kitted out as you are (or should be). It’s not a place to cut corners, so make sure any coat they wear are actually waterproof! They may have started off waterproof, but machine washing in detergent soon ruins this and they’ll need re-proofing. They’ll also need suitable footwear, socks and clothing that’s not cotton like most tee shirts, and avoid jeans!
If you’re competent on the hill, the child is used to walking on the hill and properly kitted out then you’re doing all you can to keep them safe. Ensure that they’re not only used to hill-walking, but hill-waking in the conditions you’re planning on walking in. Remember that wind speed will easily double with height, and that little ones will find keeping their footing really difficult. It will also be a good few degrees colder on the summit than at the bottom. Combine this with a stiff breeze and you may set off in decent conditions, but it will be unpleasant to stay on the summit for long.
If it’s warm then you’ll need to ensure they have plenty of water. Walk down the Llanberis Path on a typical summer’s day and you’ll see plenty walking up with just a small water bottle, despite the heat. Overheating is as dangerous as the cold, so take care. While we’re talking about the heat, if it’s sunny then you’ll need sunscreen and a sun hat for them. Those hot summer days might be the best for breaks, but they’re often too warm for comfortable walking! Don’t rely on the cafe being open! Be self sufficient.
We recommend you check the Summer Hillwalking Checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Keeping Kids Motivated and Fed
This may be the toughest part of the whole thing! Again, you’l know if your children are keen on walking or not. You’ll know if they’re not, then you’ve got a bit more of a challenge ahead of you! There’s an article on Mud and Routes that has some hints and tips on how to motivate somebody on a walk! Adding to that is that on Snowdon in summer, at least you can motivate them with a treat at the cafe once they reach the summit!
Which Walk up Snowdon is Best for Children?
Ok, you probably get it by now. You need to know what you’re doing, and only you as parents will know what your child is capable of. Each of the walks up Snowdon with children have their own pros and cons, and any of the walks would probably be OK depending on what you’re used to. We’d say that the Watkin is steep at the final section and not ideal, and the Rhyd Ddu path can be exposed along Bwlch Main. The remaining 4 paths out of the big 6 have been outlined below.
Walking the Llanberis Path with Children. Pros – It’s the easiest underfoot, easiest gradient overall, has the half way house cafe. Cons – Longest route, less to see and very busy. They’ll also see the train often and wonder why they’re not on that!
Walking the Snowdon Ranger Path with Children. Pros – quiet, not as long as the Llanberis Path, can take the Welsh Highland Railway to the start. Cons. Some sections are quite steep and a bit heavy going.
Walking the Pyg Track with Children– Pros – Shortest path, least ascent. Cons – Pen y Pass for parking, some scramlby sections and steps. Tough but doable.
Walking the Miners’ Track With Children – Pros – Steady initially with plenty of interest. Cons – Becomes trickier the further you walk and shares final section with the PYG.
Best Route up and Down Snowdon for Children? For a first walk up Snowdon for children, we’d suggest two options.
2 – Up the Snowdon Ranger Path and descending the Llanberis Path as the going is generally easier as a descent. For a first Snowdon walk, we decided to make it a proper expedition and took the Welsh Highland Railway to the Ranger Path, wild camped on the way up and then descended by the Llanberis Path! For an 8 year old with a little bit of walking under her belt, but not a lot, this was manageable. She’s already walked a good 16km along coastal paths a few months previously, but wasn’t walking every weekend after that!
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