How to Hike the Snowdon Llanberis Path
Hiking Trail Name: Snowdon Llanberis Path
Distance: 9 miles (there and back)
Total Climb: 975m (3,199 ft)
Time: 5-6 hours
What is the Snowdon Llanberis Path?
The Snowdon Llanberis Path is one of six routes to the top of Wales’ biggest peak. It is one of the most accessible trails to the top of Snowdon due to its gradual incline and well-paved track. It is the longest of the hiking trails but, like the Miners Track, this allows for a steady ascent which less-experienced hikers may find more palatable.
Llanberis is a small town in the north of Snowdonia National Park. It sits at the base of Snowdon and has a history of slate mining, hydroelectricity, and outdoor sports. Situated on the shores of Llyn Padarn, Llanberis is a beautiful town and a perfect place to begin your ascent up Snowdon.
The Snowdon Llanberis Path also follows the famous Mountain Railway that climbs to the summit. It ascends through the Llanberis Pass alongside the 13th-century ruins of Dolbadarn Castle. The trail has a high footfall and can be very busy during the high season (June – August).
How to reach the Snowdon Llanberis Path?
To begin this trail, you must first reach the town of Llanberis. As with many of the hiking trails up Snowdon, public transport can be an issue. The closest large transport hub is Bangor.
From Bangor, you need to catch the S2 bus to Llanberis which takes 35-50 minutes depending on the number of stops it makes. Once in Llanberis, you can easily walk around the town and access the trailhead on foot.
For those driving, there are multiple parking options to access the Snowdon Llanberis Path. The Llanberis Pay & Display Car Park and the Parking for Snowdon lots are both situated next to the trailhead. Parking costs £8-10 for the day and slots fill up fast so make sure you arrive early!
Out of town, there’s more parking in Nant Peris but you’ll need to catch a bus or opt for a 2-mile walk back into Llanberis to reach the trailhead.
How to Navigate on the Snowdon Llanberis Path?
The Llanberis Path commences from the Mountain Railway station. This is located on the A4086 road beneath the knoll of Dolbadarn Castle. The trailhead is well marked and follows the railway track up the mountain alongside Afon Arddu – a river that produces the lovely Llanberis falls.
The trail is paved with compact gravel and stone steps. It ascends along the side of the valley before eventually joining the ridge at Bwlch Glás. At this point, multiple Snowdon hiking routes converge to follow the train tracks up to the Gorsaf Copa’r Wyddfa Summit Station.
Next to the railway track, there’s a spiral staircase of stone ledges. If you climb these last few steps, you’ll find yourself on a platform marking the summit of Snowdon. From here, you can head to the visitor centre for refreshments and toilets before hiking back down to Llanberis.
There are a few reasons why the Snowdon Llanberis Path is a good choice for newbie hikers. It has a well-defined starting point in the town of Llanberis and it is clearly marked, making it very hard to get lost. It also has a steady incline with very few steep sections. This is good for hikers who struggle with joint and ligament pain as they can take their time gradually ascending the trail.
Of course, the Snowdon Llanberis Path is still a challenge that requires a reasonable level of fitness. With almost 1,000 metres of ascent over 9 miles, this trail will require commitment and perseverance to complete.
Recommended Kit List
Wales has some extreme weather conditions – particularly in Snowdonia National Park. Poor weather often blows off the Irish Sea with little or no notice, striking the mountains and valleys of Snowdonia and drenching its inhabitants.
As with many mountain climbs, weather becomes more severe and unpredictable with height. In Llanberis, conditions may be mild, but if you look up at Snowdon, the summit might be cloaked in fog. In this cloud, it can be raining, hailing, or snowing, with high winds to boot.
Any attempt to hike up the Snowdon Llanberis Path should involve preparations for all weather conditions. Waterproofs are essential, as are a good set of hiking boots. Some hikers carry waterproof ponchos that can be draped over their clothes without much hassle. Whatever you choose, be ready for cold and rain!
Food & Drink
The options for refreshments on the Snowdon Llanberis Path are surprisingly good considering you’re ascending the second highest peak in the British Isles! In Llanberis, there are a few small shops and cafes to visit before beginning your hike.
There are some excellent spots to get a big Full English Breakfast such as at Pete’s Eats. Alternatively, there are quaint tea rooms that offer a cream tea or the famous Welsh tea cakes (check out Caffi Deli Llygad Yr Haul or Pantri, Llanberis).
After summiting Snowdon, many hikers stop in for a pint at one of the pubs in Llanberis to celebrate their achievement (The Heights is a classic spot for hillwalkers).
Near the start of the Snowdon Llanberis Path, the Pen Ceunant Isaf offers a final chance to buy some simple snacks and hot drinks before you tackle the route in proper. Once you reach the summit, you can stop at the Hafod Eryri Summit Visitor Centre for some more refreshments before descending again.
Llanberis Path Bonus Tips
As always when mountain hiking, try to start early in the day. The weather is generally calmer in the morning, the trail will be less busy, and you’ll give yourself more time to complete the summit without undue stress.
Llanberis is a quaint town with plenty of things to do. It may be worth staying in a hotel or BnB for a few days while completing the Snowdon Llanberis Path. After your hiking day, you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage slate mines, take the scenic railway around the lake, or go on other short walks in the surrounding mountains to complete your itinerary.
Check out the other guides we have on routes up Snowden here