Snowdon and Y Lliwedd from Pen-y-pass

A Llanberis walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 10/10/16

This Snowdonia walk starts from Pen-y-Pass and uses the Pyg Track towards the summit of Snowdon. The route then crosses Y Lliwedd to pick up the Miner's Track for the return to the start. Good navigational skills are essential when leaving Snowdon and because of this, the walk is recommended for experienced walkers only.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h10[?]
Distance Distance : 11.15km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 818m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 816m
Highest point Highest point : 1035m
Lowest point Lowest point : 360m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Llanberis
Starting point Starting point : N 53.080243° / W 4.020454°
Download : GPX track


(D)The route starts at the car park at Pen-y-Pass and follows the Pyg Track with Crib Goch looming ahead. There is only one path as far as Bwlch y Moch, where it divides. To the right is the route up Crib Goch but this route takes the path to the left which drops down for a while before regaining height later. From the top of Bwlch y Moch, Crib Goch appears starkly ahead, showing its north face in a way that suggests there could not possibly be a way up there for walkers rather than rock climbers, yet of course there is, as you will know from having read about it, if not from personal experience of having gone up that way.

(1)The downwards trajectory does not last for long before it is a case of onwards and upwards, though with the Pyg Track, height is gained more gradually than with the Miners' Track. At least, you are spared anything remotely as steep as the bit of the Miners' Track after it leaves Glaslyn when it heads up a very steep slope of jumbled rocks and stones before it joins the Pyg Track higher up. Glaslyn (Blue/green lake) comes into view below Snowdon, towering a thousand feet above it. There is also a fine view at this stage of the walk of the cliffs of Y Lliwedd, to be climbed later in the walk.

(2)At the top of the Pyg Track you reach Bwlch Glas where Garnedd Ugain, the second highest mountain in Wales, is an optional extra on this route, to the right while the main path turns left to lead you to the summit of Snowdon, the highest point in Wales.

(3)Descending from Snowdon, navigational care is required to ensure that you come down the Watkin Path rather than the Rhyd Ddu path. The Watkin Path is very step in descent but the prospect of the next mountain looms ahead, the impressive Y Lliwedd with its cliffs to the left. But before you descend to Bwlch Ciliau, look out for a spectacular view to the left looking down and along the full length of Llyn Llydaw (Brittany Lake) with the much smaller Llyn Teyrn (Tyrant Lake) beyond.

(4)Anybody who suffers from vertigo need not worry when it comes to Y Lliwedd as there is no obligation to go near the edge of the cliffs off to the left. Instead, rather than one single path up it from the bwlch, there are a series of steep stony paths which tend to meet up with each other further up until finally the top is reached. As it turns out, Y Lliwedd has three tops, the west and east peaks and Lliwedd Bach. There are spacious views from each across to Yr Aran (looking more Matterhorn-like than Cnicht from this angle), Snowdon and Crib Goch as well as the Moelwyns to the south east across the Nantgwynant valley.

(5)Descend from the third top to reach the south shore of Llyn Llydaw near the causeway and then follow the route back to Pen-y-Pass via the Miners' Track.(A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Pen-y-Pass car park
1 : km 1.57 - alt. km 1.57 - Bwlch y Moch
2 : km 4.58 - alt. km 4.58 - Bwlch Glas
3 : km 5.09 - alt. km 5.09 - Snowdon
4 : km 7.17 - alt. km 7.17 - Y Lliwedd
5 : km 8.86 - alt. km 8.86 - Llyn Llydaw
D/A : km 11.15 - alt. km 11.15 - Pen-y-Pass car park

Useful Information

The Snowdon Horseshoe is one of the best known walks in Snowdonia, so the only originality I can bring to a walk description of such a well-known walking route is to offer my own personal perspective on it. This is a variation on the Snowdon Horseshoe, omitting Crib Goch for vertigo sufferers to give the narrow ridge a miss, or else a common sense option should adverse weather conditions mean that Crib Goch is not a realistic option.

Click here to see how to reach the starting point.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

See map and elevation chart

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.