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Snowdon Ranger Path Snowdonia footpaths

Rhyd Ddu path Snowdon Footpaths.jpg

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Snowdon Ranger Path

Distance: 8 miles (13km) (there and back)

Ascent: 3071 feet (936 metres)
Time: About 6 hours (there and back)


Grade: Mountain Walk

Meeting Place Click Here

Start / Finish: Llyn Cwellyn Car Park, off the A4085 (SH 564 551)

Relevant Map: Ordnance Survey OL 17 (Snowdon & Conwy Valley)


Pay and display car park – make sure that you have enough loose change. In the high season, you may descend by another of the Snowdon paths and catch the Sherpa bus back to your vehicle.

One accessible unisex toilet, benches.

Snowdon Ranger footpath a little about the path...

1. Across the road and to the right of the car park entrance you will see a bridleway sign. Follow the sign that directs you along the path to the right of the entrance to Cae’r Orsaf. Go through the gate and to the left along a fenced path. Go through another gate and turn right over the train tracks, through a gate beside the cattle grid and continue towards Llwyn Onn farmhouse.

When you reach Llwyn Onn farmhouse, you will see an old waterwheel on the gable end of the house. The wheel was driven by water from a small reservoir to grind corn and cut gorse to feed the farm’s working horse.

2. Once you pass the farmhouse the path will fork. Go to the right and through the gate. You will shortly reach another gate, after which the path will zigzag up the mountain pasture. Please keep to the path and don’t take shortcuts – the public right of way is along the path only.

As you climb, there are fantastic views down towards Llyn Cwellyn and the slopes of Mynydd Mawr rising from its shores. The prominent rock on the right at the far end of the lake is Castell Cidwm (meaning Cidwm’s Castle), and it is said that Cidwm was a giant who lived in a cave in the rock.

3. Shortly after going through another gate you will reach a sign providing information about biking restrictions on the path. The public footpath to the left from here leads through Bwlch Maesgwm which is between Foel Goch and Moel Cynghorion, and then down to Llanberis. You need to follow the path straight ahead.

After crossing a stream and passing through a gate, Maen Bras will shortly come into sight on the right ahead of you. This huge boulder is known locally as Maen Camp – ‘boulder of feat’ because climbing up this boulder is not an easy task!

4. In a while, you will cross another fast flowing stream and reach another gate. From the gate, the path will veer to the left around the lower slopes of Moel Cynghorion.

As you get closer to Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas lake will come into sight on your right. The name means ‘the lake of the servant’s spring’, and it is thought that it was named after a shepherd who drowned in its waters while washing his master’s sheep. The remains of an old stone sheepfold can be seen on the northern end of the lake – perhaps proof that there is truth behind the story…

5. After walking around the northern end of Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas you will arrive at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog.


6. From Bwlch Cwm Brwynog the path climbs very steeply and loose underfoot nearly all the way to the summit, so take care from now on. After walking parallel with Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas for a while the path will start to zigzag steeply up the shoulder above Clogwyn Du’r Arddu.

As you climb the shoulder of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu you will see a fantastic view of the Llechog ridge and Cwm Clogwyn with its three small lakes – Llyn Glas, Llyn Coch and Llyn Nadroedd. (Blue Lake, Red Lake and Snakes’ Lake).

7. Above Clogwyn Du’r Arddu the climb levels out a little not very well defined so take care on this section, especially in misty or wintry weather. The path will begin to climb again shortly, but more solid underfoot. In a while, you will reach a standing stone that marks the crossing of the Snowdon Railway line (remember about it on your way down – especially if it’s misty as the start of the path can be very difficult to locate otherwise).

8. From the standing stone, cross the Snowdon Mountain Railway line and walk straight ahead until you reach another standing stone that marks the junction of the Snowdon Ranger path and the Llanberis path.

You have just crossed the railway track of the Snowdon Mountain Railway which has been carrying visitors to the summit since 1896 on the only public rack and pinion railway in the UK.

9. Follow the path to the right and after walking around 50 metres you will reach another, much larger, standing stone at Bwlch Glas. This stone marks the spot where the Pyg and Miners’ tracks merge with the Llanberis and Snowdon Ranger paths. From the standing stone, walk straight ahead – by walking at a leisurely pace, you can expect to reach the summit in around a quarter of an hour.

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.

To the right, the valley extends down towards Llyn y Gadair and Llyn Cwellyn, and between the two lakes is the pass of Dyffryn Nantlle. On the horizon, from left to right are the summits of Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof, Moel Lefn, Mynydd Drws y Coed and Y Garn, with the Beddgelert forest covering the lower slopes.

Over to your left, there is a striking view down towards Cwm Brwynog with the Llanberis Path and Snowdon Mountain Railway on the other side of the valley. At the far end of the valley, you can see the village of Llanberis on the shore of Llyn Padarn, with the slate heap of the old Dinorwig slate quarry on the other side on the slopes of Elidir Fawr.

Look down towards Rhyd Ddu and enjoy the striking view of Llyn y Gadair and Llyn Cwellyn lakes in the wide valley below, with Dyffryn Nantlle through the pass between the two lakes. On the horizon from left to right are the summits of Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof, Moel Lefn, Mynydd Drws y Coed and Y Garn, with Mynydd Mawr behind Llyn Cwellyn lake.

Ogof Owain Glyndwr (Owain Glyndwr’s Cave) is on the slopes of Moel yr Ogof. Legend has it that when Owain Glyndwr was being pursued by English soldiers, he climbed up a 300-foot rock crevice on Moel Hebog. The soldiers refused to climb the crevice after him so they returned to Beddgelert. Owain came across a cave nearby where he hid until the soldiers returned to England, and this cave has been known as Ogof Owain Glyndwr ever since.

At one time, quarrying, as well as farming, was the area’s main livelihood, the remains of which are still very evident. The waste heaps of Glan yr Afon Quarry can be seen behind you in the distance, and this path was used to reach the Bwlch Cwm Llan Quarry and the South Snowdon Slate Quarry in Cwm Llan. The village of Rhyd Ddu (where this path begins) like many of the areas’ other towns and villages, were built to house the miners and their families.


Day Trip


  • Rucksack

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Waterproof trousers

  • Map

  • Compass

  • Torch plus spare battery and bulb

  • Walking boots

  • Drink

  • Lunch

  • Hat + Gloves

  • Spare food

  • Sunglasses and sun cream

Snowdon Mountain Hillwalking Footpaths 

Llanberis Path PYG Track Miners Path Watkin Path Rhydd Ddu Path


Guided walks

Available throughout the summer and winter for groups, families and explorers.


Matthew Shaw
NGB Qualified ML & SPA Holder
Mountain First Aid
Mountain leader, single pitch award

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