How to Hike the Snowdon Pyg Track
Hiking Trail Name: Pyg Track
Distance: 7 miles (there and back)
Total Ascent & Descent: 723m (2,372 ft)
Time: 4-6 hours
What is the Snowdon Pyg Track?
The Snowdon Pyg track is a famous hiking trail in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. It is a 7-mile out and back trail that ascends the highest peak in Wales, called Snowdon. The route is considered challenging but can be completed in a single hiking day.
The Snowdon Pyg track follows a paved path all the way to the summit with no specialist equipment required. The track is a hike open to a wide range of ages and abilities which makes it a fun and accessible route to climb Snowdon. More advanced hikers choose to follow this trail before branching off to ascend the famous Crib Goch scramble – a precipitous route not for the faint-hearted!
How to Reach the Trailhead?
Snowdonia National Park is in the northwest of Wales in the United Kingdom. It’s a relatively challenging place to reach via public transport. The main method of traveling to the trailhead is by car.
The Pen y Pass car park on the A4086 is the location most walkers choose to start their hike up the Snowdon Pyg Track. However, due to high demand, the car park often fills up early in the day. To have a chance of bagging a space, book your parking in advance.
If you arrive on the day and find the lot fully booked, continue down the road to the A498 where there are more roadside parking spots. However, these spots are also limited, and parking here will add a further 3km to your hike. Make sure you bring cash as these parking machines don’t accept cards!
How to Navigate on the Snowdon Pyg Track?
Beginning from the Pen y Pass car park, you will see a visitor’s centre, a few cafes, and a toilet block. This is your last chance to use the restrooms or eat anything before you summit Snowdon so make use of the facilities.
The car park is likely to be busy with hikers getting ready to climb the mountain as there are two trails that depart from Pen y Pass. If you’re facing away from the road, the path to the left will take you along The Miner’s track, while the right path takes you up the Snowdon Pyg Track.
Both routes are marked with signposts but make sure you’ve checked you’re on the right trail before you set off! Once you’re en route, it’s a simple task of following the paved track up the mountain.
There’s one turn-off point to Crib Goch, but that is clearly labeled and involves clambering up a rock face. The Snowdon Pyg Track follows a route along the side of the mountain above Llyn Llydaw. For that reason, it has more of an aerial view than the Miner’s track in the valley below.
After Glaslyn, both trails connect and follow a long series of stone steps up to the summit. When you reach the top of the ridge, alongside the railway track, multiple hiking trails merge. From here, you follow the train track up to the summit marker of Snowdon!
After reaching the top you can stop for refreshments and information in the Hafod Eryri Visitor’s Centre before turning around and retracing your steps back to the car park.
Snowdon Pyg Track Difficulty
All the routes up Snowdon have some level of difficulty. Whatever route you choose, you’re going to have to reach the 1,085-meter summit somehow! The Pyg Trail is a mile shorter than the nearby Miner’s Trail.
This means the route is slightly steeper during the initial section. The trail climbs straight up the mountain after leaving the Pen y Pass car park while the Miner’s trail curls around past the lakes, steadily increasing in incline.
Although this may sound challenging, it makes for some wonderful views. Arguably, the beginning of the Snowdon Pyg Track is more panoramic than the Miner’s trail. This makes it a popular option for those wishing to make the most of the scenery.
One thing to know about Wales is that it rains a lot. It’s important you pack equipment that’s suited for this. A waterproof jacket is a must. Waterproof trousers couldn’t hurt either. Snowdonia is a mountainous area, and the weather can change rapidly.
It may be mild and dry in the car park but snowing or hailing up at the summit. So make sure you bring a hat, gloves, and extra warm layers in your backpack to prepare for this.
The Pyg Track follows a stone path most of the way so hiking boots might not be a necessity. Waterproof trail running shoes may be more comfortable and help to avoid blisters. Whatever footwear you choose, make sure it’s something comfortable that gives you good support.
Food & Drink For The Trail
Snowdon is different from many UK mountain ascents in that there is a visitor’s centre at the summit. So technically you can get refreshments after reaching the peak. That’s a pretty unusual luxury in mountaineering!
In any case, be sure to pack snacks and plenty of water for the trail. Hiking is challenging and climbing the Snowdon Pyg Track will wear you out. Bring a couple litres of water and some snacks to graze on. Keep your energy levels up and stay hydrated!
Snowdon Pyg Track Bonus Tips
Set off early in the morning. The longer you have to hike the trail, the more you can enjoy it. There’s nothing worse than rushing down the mountain in a panic that you won’t make it back to the car park before dark.
Check the weather forecast in advance. The microclimate around Snowdon is truly tempestuous. Powerful winds can, and have, knocked hikers off the mountain. Keep an eye on the forecast for any weather warnings and try to summit on a day with mild conditions. Although, that may prove harder than expected!