LLanberis path Snowdon Hill Walking Footpath
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Distance: 9 miles (14½km) (there and back)
Ascent: 3199 feet (975 metres)
Time: About 6 hours (there and back)
Grade: Mountain Walk
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Start / Finish: Far end of Victoria Terrace, Llanberis, off the A4086 (SH 581 594)
Relevant Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL 17 (Snowdon & Conwy Valley)
There isn’t a car park at the start of the path but there are car parks in Llanberis village itself (near the Victoria Hotel). In the high season, you may descend by another of the Snowdon paths and catch the Sherpa bus back to your vehicle.
There are no facilities at the start of the path but there are toilet facilities and several cafes and shops in the village.
Snowdon mountain walks a little about the Llanberis path…
Llanberis Path is the longest and most gradual of the six main paths to the summit of Snowdon and offers fantastic views of Cwm Brwynog, Llanberis and over the Menai straights towards Anglesey. This is the most popular path amongst leisurely walkers as it is thought to be the easiest to walk in mild weather, but in winter, the highest slopes of the path can become very dangerous.
The path mainly follows the Snowdon Mountain Railway track, and goes by Hebron, Halfway and Clogwyn stations. Before the railway was opened in 1896, visitors employed guides to lead them to the summit along this path on mule-back.
A remarkable geological feature can be seen from the Llanberis path, the Clogwyn Du’r Arddu syncline. The syncline was formed over thousands of years, as the earth moved and transformed horizontal deposits into vertical layers of rock.
The Llanberis Path and Snowdon Mountain Railway cross above Clogwyn Coch. Walkers who are not wearing, or carrying the appropriate equipment are advised not to walk this path in winter when ground conditions can lead to serious falls.
Don’t be tempted to walk along the railway! It leads along high, narrow ledges on steep slopes that can be very dangerous on foot.
1. The Llanberis path starts at the far end of Victoria Terrace, which leads down from the mini roundabout opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel at the southern end of the village.
2. Go through the gate next to the cattle grid and follow the steep road. The road will pass Pen y Ceunant Isaf, and then through a farmyard. Shortly after going through the farmyard, follow the prominent path on the left signposted ‘Snowdon’.
During the first part of the journey, you will see fantastic views back towards Dinorwig Slate Quarry on the slopes of Elidir Fawr. It is now the enormous site of the Dinorwig Hydro-Electric Power Station – the largest of its kind in Europe. Electricity is generated through releasing water from Marchlyn Mawr reservoir on Elidir Fawr, through underground tunnels to turn six turbines in a massive cavern deep inside the mountain.
After passing through the turbine the water is stored in Llyn Peris before being pumped back up to Marchlyn Mawr reservoir to be used again.
If you walk this path during the summer months, you are sure to see one of the Snowdon trains on its way up or down the mountain. A rack and pinion system enables the engines to climb up the mountain, pushing the carriage in front of it. Some of the steam engines are over a hundred years old and have been climbing the mountain since the railway first opened in 1896!
3. The path climbs gradually, and in a while, you will pass the ruins of an old cottage on your left, and Hebron station below on the right. You will shortly reach a mountain gate and a stile.
4. From the mountain gate, the path will continue to climb gradually and parallel with the railway.
On your right, from left to right, are the hills and ridges of Moel Cynghorion, Foel Goch, Foel Gron and Moel Eilio. Below is Cwm Brwynog valley, where you can see the ruins of farmsteads and crofts of once an old close-knit community who used to live here.
The families of Gwaun Cwm Brwynog were tenants to the Faenol Estate, Y Felinheli, who also owned the Dinorwig slate quarry. Many of the men worked at the quarry during the week, as well as keeping animals on the smallholding.
There were twenty-five dwellings in Gwaun Cwm Brwynog, but no school, or shop, or pub, and no electricity or telephone – but there was a chapel! The remains of the chapel, called Capel Hebron, can be seen over your right shoulder, on the far side of the railway and Hebron Station hut.
Before the chapel was built, religious services and Sunday Schools were held on local farms, but as the Sunday School membership increased, the farms became too small. The chapel was built in 1835 and at its peak, there were 78 members. The chapel was the heart and soul of this unique community and all kind of social events were held there.
Early in the twentieth century, families began to emigrate from the valley, and one by one the crofts were left empty. By the mid-twentieth century the community of Gwaun Cwm Brwynog had scattered, and the buildings left for the elements to decide on their fate.
5. Shortly, you will walk under the railway bridge.
6. After going under the bridge the path will continue to climb gradually with the railway on your left. You will shortly pass the Halfway House, where refreshments are sold in the summer months. From here on the path will begin to climb more steeply.
After passing the Halfway House, you can see the summits of Mynydd Drws y Coed and Garn beyond the Cwm Brwynog pass on your right.
7. In a while, you will reach the bottom of Allt Moses, where the path forks. Keep to the left and follow the path that climbs up the slopes of Llechog.
The path to the right was originally used to reach the copper mines on the slopes of Clogwyn Coch, but today it is used to reach Clogwyn Du’r Arddu. This is, apparently, the most difficult rock climbing face in Wales!
As you climb Allt Moses you will see Llyn Du’r Arddu lake, and a large boulder is known as Maen Du’r Arddu on its shore. Legend has it that anybody who spends a night under the rock will be either a poet or insane by the morning!
8. At the top of Allt Moses, you will walk under the railway bridge. Once you have walked under the bridge, Cwm Glas Bach will come into sight on your left. Be careful on this section.
The local name for this spot is Cwm Hetiau (translated ‘Valley of the Hats’). When Victorian visitors travelled in the train’s open-top carriages, the wind would take hold of their hats and down they went to the bottom of the Llanberis Pass. Local children would collect the hats at the bottom and sell them to visitors in Llanberis!
9. After Cwm Glas Bach the path climbs steeply up the slopes of Carnedd Ugain with Clogwyn Coch on your right. Take care on this part of the path. You will shortly reach Bwlch Glas.
10. At Bwlch Glas a standing stone marks the spot where the Pyg Track and Miners’ Track join the Llanberis Path. Over your right shoulder, on the other side of the railway, you will see the Snowdon Ranger path rising up from Bwlch Cwm Brwynog and crossing the railway to join the Llanberis Path.
You are now on the final leg of your walk up Snowdon. Walking at a leisurely pace, you can expect to be on the summit in around a quarter of an hour.
From here there are fantastic views down to your left of Cwm Dyli and its lakes, Llyn Glaslyn and Llyn Lydaw. On the left-hand side of the valley, you can see the knife edge ridge of Crib Goch, which forms part of the famous Snowdon horseshoe.
From the summit on a clear day, you will be rewarded with fantastic views – 18 lakes and 14 peaks over 914 metres (3000ft) can be seen. Sometimes, you can even see as far as Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Lake District.
11. On your way down from the summit, a little further down from the Bwlch Glas standing stone, keep left – the path to the right follows the Snowdon horseshoe which leads over Carnedd Ugain and Crib Goch.
Snowdon Mountain Hillwalking Footpaths
Available throughout the summer and winter for groups, families and explorers.
NGB Qualified ML & SPA Holder
Mountain First Aid
Mountain leader, single pitch award