The South Ridge: At a Glance
Difficulty: Challenging +
Distance: 8 miles (13km)
Time: 6 - 8 hours
Fear factor: 8/10
2024 Group Dates
To request Private Guiding please contact us
The South Ridge (The Connoisseurs Route) is the most adventurous walk up Snowdon and those brave enough to complete it will be rewarded with over 2km of a thrilling rocky ridgeline and intoxicating views culminating on the peak of Wales' highest mountain.
Snowdon Route: The South Ridge
Who is it for?
Because South Ridge is the most challenging and exciting route up Snowdon, it is perfect for people who are fairly fit and want a challenge. The top section of the walk is along a ridgeline with steep drops so isn't suitable for people with an acute fear of heights.
We accept children of 13 years and over on our Group Walks. Anyone under the age of 18 has to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times. Please contact us to arrange a Private Guiding walk for parents and children under 13 years of age.
What equipment do I need?
We will send you a detailed kit list upon booking and again shortly before the event.
Normal hiking gear is needed and this varies a little depending on the time of year and the forecast on the day. Items that are always required which you may need to go out and buy include walking boots/ walking shoes (not trainers), a waterproof jacket and a rucksack.
We can give you advice about what to buy if you have booked onto one of our walks.
Where does it start?
We will send you out detailed Event Notes by email before the walk which include where and when to meet and parking instructions.
All of our instructors are fully qualified Mountain Leaders with a minimum of a 16 hour First Aid certificate. All participants are covered by our Public Liability Insurance.
The South Ridge: Route Description
The South Ridge & Watkin Path start closer to sea level than any of the other climbs up Snowdon at the Bethania pay and display car park. You will take the southern exit of the car park and over the road you will see the ‘Llwybr Watkin Path’ stone pillar and stone steps leading into the woods.
This is the start of the route and the first section is through this enchanting oak woodland which would have been part of a vast ancient forest covering much of the national park. Continue over and through a series of streams and gates until you reach the loop of Castell which has nice views along the Nantgwynant valley.
Continue ascending past a disused incline, which was used to carry slate from the mine further up the Cwm (Valley). The footpath is good and runs alongside the Afon Cwm Llan stream and a series of eye-catching waterfalls. This is one of the most magnificent parts of the walk and continues for several hundred meters until an obvious loop in the stream where there is a weir.
Here there is a fork in the footpath and the Watkin Path crosses the stream to the north while the South Ridge path continues towards west between the pyramidal peak of Yr Aran and its neighbor Allt Maenderyn.
After a gentle climb, you will cross an old stone wall to reach the Bwlch Cwm Llan and a small lake. This is where the South Ridge starts and the fun begins.
The first section is steep and rocky so hands will need to be used as you scramble up a gully of steep rock. The gradient soon eases and the views become spectacular as you ascend. There are a couple more sections of fun scrambles up exposed rock as you work your way higher and higher over the rocky cliffs of Clogwyn Du until it joins up with the Rhyd Ddu path. The ridgeline then narrows providing epic views above the Bwlch Main with steep drops either side giving you an exhilarating feeling of exposure.
Walk along this carefully as it is dangerous, particularly in wet and/or windy conditions. Those with nerves of steel will be treated to heady views of the summit of Snowdon as well as the ridgeline which connects it to the dramatic peaks of Y Lliwedd East and Y Lliwedd West (Part of the Snowdon Horseshoe). After 300m the ridgeline becomes less sharp and continues 500m past some rocky pinnacles to the summit. Here, Snowdon, queen of the national park, center stage is surrounded by the other mountains of Snowdonia unfolding into the distance.