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 : 6.93mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 2684ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 2677ft
Highest point Highest point : 3396ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 1181ft
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

Description

(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 : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Pen-y-Pass car park
1 : mi 0.98 - alt. mi 0.98 - Bwlch y Moch
2 : mi 2.85 - alt. mi 2.85 - Bwlch Glas
3 : mi 3.16 - alt. mi 3.16 - Snowdon
4 : mi 4.46 - alt. mi 4.46 - Y Lliwedd
5 : mi 5.5 - alt. mi 5.5 - Llyn Llydaw
D/A : mi 6.93 - alt. mi 6.93 - 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

Other walks in the area

Crimpiau from Capel Curig
distance 6.07km Vertical gain +279m Vertical drop -282m duration 2h25 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Capel Curig - Conwy

The minor Snowdonia summit of Crimpiau provides an excellent walk from Capel Curig. The route crosses quite mountainous terrain and the view down Llyn Crafnant is one of the great panoramas in the area. Do make sure you are suitably equipped for this walk.

distance 14.04km Vertical gain +950m Vertical drop -939m duration 6h15 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Llanberis - Gwynedd

Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, is the objective of this walk. This route is the easiest way to Snowdon's summit. Starting in Llanberis, it must be remembered this walk is a serious mountain expedition so you should go fully prepared.

distance 11.45km Vertical gain +844m Vertical drop -844m duration 5h15 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Betws Garmon - Gwynedd

This ascent of Snowdon is realatively quiet yet allows the walker to appreciate the grandeur of the highest mountain in Wales. The outward route uses Snowdon's south ridge with the return route following the Rhyd-Ddu path.

distance 9.03km Vertical gain +286m Vertical drop -288m duration 3h15 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Caerhun - Conwy

This walk on the eastern side of the Carneddau mountains in Snowdonia offers a sense of solitude and excellent mountain scenery. The route is generally easy to follow although careful navigation is needed on the section from Dulyn Reservoir back to the start.

distance 3.42km Vertical gain +572m Vertical drop -572m duration 2h20 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Capel Curig - Conwy

This challenging route to the summit of Tryfan is one the great walks and scrambles of Snowdonia. Starting from the Ogwen Valley, much of the ascent up Tryfan's north ridge involves the use of hands. In winter this route takes on a different character when ice and snow are present and should only be attempted by those experienced in winter mountaineering.

distance 4.19km Vertical gain +94m Vertical drop -93m duration 1h25 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Llandygai - Gwynedd

Llyn Idwal lies in a spectacular location under the Glyder Mountains in Snowdonia. This walk provides a mountain experience without too much effort walking through a rocky amphitheatre in the mountains.

distance 9.63km Vertical gain +838m Vertical drop -839m duration 4h45 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Llandygai - Gwynedd

This walk takes in the three key summits in the Glyders - Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr and Tryfan. It also includes the Y Gribin ridge with its excellent opportunuties for scrambling. Do choose a fine day as the views are spectacular throughout.

distance 13.52km Vertical gain +719m Vertical drop -715m duration 5h35 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Llanfrothen - Gwynedd

This Snowdonia walk explores four peaks in the Moelwyns. These summits are not the most popular in the area but offer excellent walking and an insight into the now defunct slate quarrying industry.

distance 14.89km Vertical gain +975m Vertical drop -974m duration 6h35 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Bethesda - Gwynedd

The Carneddau in Snowdonia provide for some tough walking and this route is no exception. Good navigational and map reading skills are required in the early stages of the route.

distance 15.6km Vertical gain +906m Vertical drop -907m duration 6h35 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Llanberis - Gwynedd

A Snowdonia walk that explores two less frequented summits from Llanberis. The walk offers grandstand views over many of the high peaks of Snowdonia and is more challenging than first impressions might suggest.

For more walks, use our search engine.

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