top of page

How long does it take to climb Snowdon?/ Yr Wyddfa?

At 1085m Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) is the highest mountain in Wales and often takes more time to walk up and down than many people expect.


For most people climbing Snowdon takes between 5-8 hours (round trip) with 6-7 hours being the most common time. This is impacted by a variety of factors; mainly fitness and route choice. Fit individuals on the fastest route can complete the hike in around 5 hours.


Man wearing a watch with time and Snowdon in the background

In this article we will take a look at how long it takes to climb Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and all of the factors that affect this.


Factors influencing the time

The length of time it takes to climb Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) is dependant on a few variable factors. These include;

  • Fitness level - The main factor influencing how long it takes to walk up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) is cardiovascular fitness. The fitter an individual is the faster they will be able to walk uphill and the less breaks they will need. Leg strength and endurance are important too especially on the descent. Check out our article to see how fit you need to be to climb Snowdon

  • Route - There are 6 main walking routes to the summit of Snowdon. Their length, starting elevation (of the car parks) and quality of the footpath all work together to have a big impact on the time it takes.

  • Conditions - The weather and ground conditions have a substantial impact. Strong winds or ice on the footpath can really slow things down and increase the danger. Similarly, stopping regularly to drink because it is hot or to put on and take off waterproofs in rain showers adds up.

  • Experience - Walking on the steep and uneven terrain of the mountain tracks is considerably more difficult than street walking. The more experience an individual has mountain walking, the more confident they will be on their feet and the faster they pick out a route across the uneven terrain. More experienced hikers move more efficiently which allows them to move faster for longer compared to an individual with the same level of fitness.

  • Group size - Larger groups tend to be slower as, sensibly, they go at the pace of the slowest person.


Conditions such as snow can slow people down when climbing Snowdon
Conditions like this can really slow things down

How long to walk up (and down) Snowdon?

We analysed the data from over 100 walks up Yr Wyddfa and found the following information...

  • 6-7 hours is the most common time with 29% of people completing it within this timeframe.

  • 24% of individuals complete the hike in 5-6 hours, with another 24% in 7-8 hours. This means 77% of people climb Snowdon in 5-8 hours.

  • 23% of the time it takes less than 5 hours or more than 8 hours.


Graph showing how long it takes to climb Snowdon

As you can see from the graph 6-7 hours is the most common time to complete Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) which is closely followed by the 5-6 hour and the 7-8 hour timeframes. The majority of people (77%) do Snowdon in 5-8 hours.


Those with above or below average levels of fitness with the right mixture of footpath choice, luck with the weather etc. might finish in less than 5 hours or more than 8 hours.


It is possible for extremely fit individuals to climb the biggest mountain in Wales in less than 4 hours but this happens less than 2% of the time.


This total time is impacted by a variety of factors including fitness, route choice and conditions.


The Llanberis Path is the most popular route up Snowdon

How long does it take the average person to climb Snowdon?

It takes an average 6 hours and 42 minutes to walk up and down Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). There is a 2 hour 3 minute difference between the average time for the fastest route and the slowest route.


What is the fastest route?

The only route which, on average takes less than 6 hours is the PYG Track and Miners Track making it the fastest walking route. This is because it is the shortest distance from car park to summit with the least height gain.


Trail runners will often find the Llanberis Path quicker as the quality of the footpath allows for a faster pace. In 1985 Kenny Stuart used the Llanberis Path to set the fastest time up and down Snowdon in an incredible 1 hour 2 mins and 29 seconds.


The PYG & Miners Track is the fastest route on Snowdon

How long does each route take?

There is a 2 hour 3 minute difference between the average time for the PYG & Miners Track which is the fastest route and the Watkin Path which is slowest route. The reasons for this are described below.


Graph showing the average time for each route

Note that the 'Fastest time' is not the record for each route but is the fastest time by one of our instructors with our clients.


Watkin Path

Average time: 7 hours 52 minutes

Fastest time: 6 hours 23 minutes


The Watkin Path is the slowest of Snowdon's main footpaths for two reasons.


The route starts closer to sea level than all of the others, consequently there is more mountain to climb.


At over 13km the Watkin Path is one of the longest. The top section from Bwlch y Saethau to Bwlch Main covers really steep terrain made of loose scree which often slows people down on both the ascent and descent.


Snowdon Ranger Path

Average time: 6 hours 48 minutes

Fastest time: 4 hours 55 minutes


The Snowdon Ranger Path is a great alternative to the busier Llanberis Path (which is a similar difficulty). It is only suitable for those with the ability to navigate as the footpath is not obvious especially near the top.


Interestingly the Snowdon Ranger Path distance is over 2km shorter than the Llanberis Path but has a couple of steep sections which are longer and more rugged than those on the Llanberis Path. This is the reason this shorter footpath is actually a little slower.


Rhyd Ddu Footpath

Average time: 6 hours 42 minutes

Fastest time: 4 hours 21 minutes


The Rhyd Ddu footpath can either be fast or slow. From the Rhyd Ddu car park, the footpath is initially really good allowing a fast pace.


The route becomes steeper and more rugged higher up. This can really slow things down for people who are not familiar with mountain walking whereas, fit individuals who are confident on their feet frequently do this route in around five hours.


Llanberis Path

Average time: 6 hours 22 minutes

Fastest time: 4 hours 36 minutes


It takes most people 6-7 hours to walk up the Llanberis Path but this can easily take longer. It is usually the best choice for those who are worried about their fitness as it is the least steep and therefore easiest footpath.


PYG & Miners Track

Average time: 5 hours 49 minutes

Fastest time: 3 hours 22 minutes


The PYG Track is the shortest footpath and the PYG & Miners route has the least climbing to do. For this reason it is the fastest walking route up and down Snowdon.


The route starts at Pen y Pass car park which is 200m (or more) above sea level and closer to the summit than all the other car parks.


It is the traditional circular walk as both the PYG Track and Miners Track start at the same car park and meet near the summit.


Other walking routes

The PYG Track up and Llanberis Path down is a quick walking route with an average time of 6 hours 19 minutes.


It is one of the quicker options as the PYG Track is the shortest footpath with least height gain. Counterintuitively, it is not the quickest route down due to the rugged, uneven, steep and loose nature of the footpath. The Llanberis Path is a better engineered footpath and is more gentle allowing a faster descent. These routes can be linked using the Snowdon Snowdon Sherpa bus service.


Crib Goch

The narrow ridge of Crib Goch takes an average of 4 hours 5 minutes (ascent only) from Pen y Pass car park to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). This is not a route you would want to rush due to the consequential terrain and is certainly not a walking route but a dangerous and challenging grade 1 scramble.


Using a guide will ensure you climb Snowdon in a good time

Reach new heights and tackle Mount Snowdon

Here at Walk Snowdonia we are the Snowdon experts.


We offer regular and inexpensive guided walks up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) taking the stress out of finding a car park, finding the start of the route as well as finding the footpath allowing you to relax and enjoy the views.


If you are concerned about speed then consider using our Private Guiding service as you will have your own Mountain Leader allowing you to go at your own pace.


FAQ's

Can you climb Snowdon in 3 hours?

Fit individuals with very good cardiovascular fitness can ascend Snowdon in less than three hours especially via the faster routes such as the PYG Track.


To ascend AND descend within three hours requires a very high level of cardiovascular fitness and can only be done by running for much of the time.


Is it quicker walking down?

For most people walking down Snowdon is faster than walking up. The exceptions to this is if you have knee or hip problems or pick up an injury. Individuals who are not confident on their feet can go slowly downhill too especially on the more rugged footpaths.


How long does it take to walk down Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)?

On average it takes around an hour less to descend the same footpath. For most people this is around 2.5 to 3.5 hours.


Bad knees, injuries, or lack of confidence on your feet can really slow things down. The Llanberis Path would be the fastest route down if any of these apply.


It is normally faster walking downhill as there is less strain on the cardiovascular system and gravity is helping.


Can a beginner climb Snowdon?

It is possible for a beginner to walk up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).


Unless you have experience hiking in the UK mountains we would recommend using a good guiding company (such as ours) so you don't become one of the annual 300+ mountain rescue callouts on Snowdon.


For more information we have written a blog article aimed at novice hikers on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)


Alternative climbs, hikes and walks in Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia national park covers an area of 823 square miles so there are lots of other mountains to climb as well as more relaxing hikes and walks.


Snowdon is obviously the highest but some the surrounding peaks are world class and have spectacular views of Snowdon. The Glyderau, Nantlle Rdge and Moel Hebog have some of the best views of the Snowdon Range.


You don't have to climb a mountain to enjoy the tranquillity of nature and spectacular views. Less strenuous walks such as the Cwm Idwal, Aber Falls or the Craflwyn, Hafod y Llan & Llyn Dinas walk are all incredible.


Snowdon via the Snowdon Mountain Railway

It is possible to take the train to the summit of Snowdon. A round trip takes around 2 hours 30 minutes.


How hard is each route?

All of the routes are rugged and steep mountain tracks with some of the routes such as Crib Goch are graded scrambles. All of the routes are challenging and how difficult an individual finds them depends mainly on their fitness level, their experience and the weather conditions.


Snowdon Routes – Ranked from easiest to hardest

The traditional walking routes up Snowdon are the easiest ways to reach the summit. These are...


#1 - Llanberis Path - easiest (starting from Llanberis)

#2 - Ranger Path (starting from Llyn Cwellyn car park)

#3 - Miners Track (starting from Pen y Pass)

#4 - PYG Track (starting from Pen y Pass)

#5 - Rhyd Ddu Path (starting from Rhyd Ddu)

#6 - Watkin Path - hardest (starting from Pont Bethania car park)


More difficult than the walking routes are the scrambles. The most popular scrambling routes are...

#7 - The South Ridge

#8 - Crib Goch


In addition to this there are some challenge routes which are more difficult still...

#9 - Snowdon Horseshoe

10 - Welsh 3000's

Kommentare


bottom of page