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Can a beginner climb Snowdon? | Your ultimate guide

Updated: Jan 25

Over half a million people climb Snowdon every year, making it the most popular mountain in the UK. There are six main footpaths of varying difficulty making it a mountain for almost everyone.


Zigzags on Snowdon

As a general rule beginners should walk up the easier and more obvious footpaths (such as the the Llanberis Path or Miner's Track) in favourable weather. You should always take the right clothing and be willing to turn around if necessary.


At 1085m Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa/ Mount Snowdon) is the tallest mountain outside Scotland (UK). On a clear day, whilst climbing Snowdon you will be rewarded by spectacular views of the Welsh countryside.


Snowdon information infographic

How long does it take a beginner to climb Snowdon?

Depending on the route, conditions and fitness level it takes the average hiker around 7 hours to summit and get back down. This is just an average though and it can take longer.


Quickest route up Snowdon

The quickest route for many people is the Pyg Track. This route starts at the Pen y Pass car park which is situated at the top of the Llanberis Pass. At 359m above sea level it is almost exactly one third of the way up Snowdon's 1085m.


Because of its altitude it is probably about an hour quicker than the other routes making it a popular route for the Three Peaks Challenge.


Snowdon, lake, watch, time


When is best for a beginner to climb Snowdon?

Favourable conditions with good visibility, moderate wind, comfortable temperatures & dry rock are more suitable for hiking. This will give you a memorable day for the right reasons.


The summer months are a good choice for first timers but I'm sure you don't need us to tell you that summer doesn't guarantee good weather.


Snowdonia weather
Weather in Capel Curig near Snowdon


Start your hike early

We recommend getting an early start especially in spring and autumn as this will give you the whole day.


Mountain rescue are frequently called out to people getting benighted on the mountain after starting too late and underestimating how long it will take (and not having the right equipment such as headtorches).


Check out our blog about when you shouldn't climb Snowdon to learn more about when is the best time to stay at home.


Stay safe on Snowdon

There are a range of inherent and variable risks on Snowdon which increase in bad weather.

There are a few things you can do to manage these risks. For more information about this check out our article What are the dangers of Climbing Snowdon?

Snowdon in winter

Snowdon weather

Check the weather forecast for Snowdon summit before you set off. The weather near the top of Snowdon is usually colder, windier and wetter than the car park below so make sure you are prepared for the summit conditions.


Check in/ check out

Let someone know your intended route and when you plan on returning. This was sensible in the pre mobile phone days and is still good practice today.


Female Hiker. mountains, clouds
Hiker looking at the Glyders from Llanberis Path

Which Snowdon routes are beginner friendly?

The Llanberis Path and Miners Track are the best routes for novice hikers as they are relatively easy and the main footpaths.


It is more difficult to get lost on these routes.


A really good 'Snowdon circular route' is to go up either the Pyg Track or Miners Track and back down the other path as they both start at the Pen y Pass car park.


What is the easiest route up Snowdon?

The easiest route up Snowdon is the Llanberis Path. This is because the footpath is the most substantial and is the least steep.


What is the hardest route up Snowdon?

The Watkin Path and South Ridge starting at Pont Bethania car park are the most difficult hiking routes up Mount Snowdon because they start closest to sea level. The South Ridge is technically a Grade 1 scramble and The Watkin Path has a steep and loose scree section at the top.


Is the Snowdon Ranger Path suitable for beginners?

This is one of the less physically challenging and quieter routes. It is named after John Morton, the self styled 'Snowdon Ranger' who guided Victorians to the summit.


Bear in mind that it's quiet aspect makes it more difficult to route find and easier to get lost on than other routes. After reaching the lake Llyn Ffynnon Y Gwas the route steepens and the path becomes less obvious as it crosses over the cliffs of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu.


The route starts at the Llyn Cwellyn car park.

Snowdon Ranger Path
Snowdon Ranger Path


Is the Rhyd Ddu Path suitable for beginners?

The Rhyd Ddu Path, formally known as the Beddgelert Path, is a great route with a rugged feel. Route finding through the middle section can be tricky especially in bad weather. The ridge at the top requires a good head for heights and shouldn't be attempted in strong winds.


This route starts at the Rhyd Ddu car park in the village of Rhyd Ddu.


Consider climbing Snowdon with a qualified guide

To experience Snowdon in the safest way possible and to have an enjoyable experience we, and our customers, recommend getting a Private Guide.


This will enrich your experience by learning about the history and geology of the mountains and the surrounding area.


It will also allow you to get away from the more popular routes without the fear of getting lost.

Hikers with flag on mountain


What should I pack as a beginner?

Hiking boots, waterproofs and extra layers will significantly reduce the risk of having to call mountain rescue.


Take plenty of food to maintain high energy levels. High calorie snacks are perfect! Can you guess why we like climbing mountains?


You should take lots of water (at least 2 litres per person) to stay hydrated, especially if it is a hot day (3+ litres).


A map and compass are only really useful if you know how to use them. Consider booking onto an inexpensive Map Reading Course to get the most out of climbing Snowdon and allow you to explore 22,660 square kilometres of the UK's 15 National Parks.


For more information about what to wear check out our video...


Can I buy equipment in Snowdonia National Park?

Snowdonia one of the best places to buy outdoor equipment in the UK.


The villages of Betws y Coed and Llanberis both have a range of really good outdoor shops. The staff who work in them are really knowledgeable and have a genuine interest in the great outdoors.


Joe Browns in Capel Curig and Go Outdoors in Bangor are perfect for picking up anything you need such as walking boots or a first aid kit.

Hiking Boots, rocks, mountains, sky


Alternative routes up Snowdon


Is Crib Goch suitable for beginners?

Crib Goch is one of the best mountaineering adventures in the UK and although a separate mountain, is a good way to access Snowdon.


It isn't a hike but a Grade 1 scramble so requires the use of hands to climb sections. The knife-edge ridge has huge drops.


Mountain Rescue say Crib Goch is "extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by novice walkers".

Crib Goch
Crib Goch

FAQs

Do I need to train to walk Snowdon?

Most people are physically capable of climbing Snowdon without doing any specific training.


It will however, make it easier and your day more enjoyable if you go on some long walks to prepare.


Do I have to book to climb Snowdon?

Snowdon is a popular tourist attraction located within the Snowdonia National Park. One of the best things about National Parks in the UK is that they are free to use and you don't have to book, register or buy permits to access them. National Parks UK say "Anyone can visit at any time for free".


Can you just turn up and climb Snowdon?

This is like crossing a road without looking. You might make it to the other side but this is more good luck than good judgement. You should use good judgement and follow our Snowdon checklist to make your day as safe and enjoyable as possible...

Snowdon Checklist for beginners


Conclusion

Novice hikers often walk up Mount Snowdon. Make sure you stay safe and consider booking onto one of our inexpensive Snowdon Group Walks to get the most out of your Snowdon experience.

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