Llanberis – the little village at the foot of Snowdon
Snowdon's paths: a quick guide
- Paths up Snowdon:
- Llanberis Path
- Mount Snowdon
- Snowdon Ranger Path
- Watkin Path
- Betws Garmon
- Llyn Dinas
- Llyn Gwynant
- Llyn Llydaw
- Llyn Padarn
- Llyn Peris
Snowdon Car Parks
The car parks at the starting points for the Watkin, Miner's and Snowdon Ranger Paths have limited spaces and get full very quickly.
Llanberis is the best option for parking spaces and general facilities.
Bus and train timetables
Ask at Snowdon Honey Farm for Sherpa Bus timetables and for train times for the Welsh Highland Railway.
A question we are often asked is, 'How do we walk up Snowdon?' Well there are a number of routes and this map is designed to show you
how to get the starting points. However, there are many safety considerations to take into account when planning your trek up the mountain.
Every year, serious accidents and fatalities occur purely because people underestimate the mountain. This guide points out the potential
problems and what you should do to avoid trouble.
Mountain clothing and footwear
Always be prepared for a sudden change of weather and temperature, even if it is a fine sunny day when you set off on your walk. It may
sound stupid, but many people have got themselves into difficulties by wearing inappropriate clothing and attempting Snowdon in pumps and
even high-heeled shoes or wearing nothing but T-shirts in winter. Wear boots or strong shoes with a good tread and the National Park recommends
you take spare clothes, a map, compass, a whistle, torch spare food and a first aid kit.
On Snowdon, the weather can be a killer! NEVER underestimate it! Apart from stating the obvious, that even on the hottest summer's day you
should always check the weather forecast, people don't realise that the temperature difference between, say, Llanberis and the summit can be
considerable. For example, it may be a balmy 18 degrees C in Llanberis whilst at the same time struggle to an extremely chilly 5 degrees C on
the summit. In winter, a respectable 8 degrees in the valleys can quickly turn to -5 C on the summit (and a wind chill on top of that). If you
get tired or think that the weather may change — — — turn back! You are welcome to check the latest weather details at the Snowdon Honey Farm as we
have up to the minute access.
Timing your walk up Snowdon
— — until too late in the day, finding themselves stranded in the dark.
Always allow plenty of time. Generally, any of these paths is an all-day activity. Time and time again, people have been stopped from setting off
mid- to late afternoon even in winter thinking that they can get to the summit and back in an hour or so.
Some have made the fatal error of setting off late up Snowdon expecting to catch a train back down. The most infamous example was when a
family with a 6-month-old baby got stranded on the summit in 20ft snowdrifts in January, thinking that they could have got a train back down.
DON'T TAKE FOR GRANTED THAT THE TRAINS WILL BE RUNNING! Even in summer, they may be cancelled due to the weather. Always check first.
Food and drink for climb
Always take plenty to eat and drink. Prepare for all day to walk up and down. Remember, you will need to intake a lot of liquid as you will
sweat a lot during the walk. People do get dehydrated on hot summer days.
The most popular route is also the longest (it is nearly 5 miles to the summit) but can be the easiest on a good summer's day. Upper parts
are treacherous in winter.
Probably the hardest of the paths up Snowdon. The Watkin involves an ascent of over 1,000 metres and will take you 4 hours just to get to
the summit and 2-3 to get back.
Snowdon Ranger path
There is a path linking walks to Rhydd Ddu. Probably one of the easiest but still has a steep climb (or ascent) near the Welsh Mountain
Railway's Snowdon Ranger Station (ask at the Snowdon Honey Farm for train timetable). An all-day walk.
Starting from Pen-y-Pass it is the easiest route until you get to Llyn Glaslyn from where the path is extremely steep that should only
be attempted by the experienced and well-prepared walker, especially in adverse conditions. A 6-8-hour walk for some. The PYG TRACK also
begins at Pen-y-Gwryd and should only be attempted by the very experienced walker.
Walk No. 1: Circular walk around Padarn Lake
- Length: 4 miles
- Terrain: difficult at times
- Recommended for experienced walkers only
- Some sections are easy walks suitable for anybody
This symbol pertains to the symbol on the map detailing places of specific interest. Walk is easy and flat from the Snowdon Honey Farm to
point 2. Alternatively, the walk is also flat and easy in the opposite direction from the Snowdon Honey Farm to point 6.
From Snowdon Honey Farm, proceed down lane to cross the A4086 at the traffic lights. Turn right and follow the lakeshore.
- Looking up the valley, you see the tower of Dolbadarn Castle, built by Llywelyn the Great around 1216. In a power struggle, he imprisoned his brother Owain here for 20 years. The valley is the result of glaciation. Fig. 1 is a simulation of the view from this point at the end of
the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago.
- Cross the bridge and the lake railway crossing and carry on the road opposite. This is the end of the easy walk.
- Walking up the hill you pass many relics of the slate quarries. The quarry hospital is the building at the top of the hill. Over 300
quarrymen died here between 1790 and 1969.
- This cessile oak forest is one of the last remaining virgin forests in the UK. It was a hunting ground for medieval princes.
- — — mill dating back to the late 18th century.
- Turn left at point 5 and proceed downhill through the village of Fachwen. Spectacular views abound. This level crossing like others along
the line of the quarry railway was the scene of fatal accidents. The railway was built in 1840 to replace an earlier tramway.
- This bridge was built to carry slate by horse and cart to Caernarfon in the 18th century. The view of the lake and Snowdon is the most
spectacular in Wales. Turn left at end of bridge.
- Along the old main road a plaque commemorates the site where the quarrymen gathered to organise the great strike of 1903.
- Taking care, cross the present main road and join the disused passenger railway line from Caernarfon to Llanberis, closed by Beeching in
the 1960s. You now walk through the abandoned railway tunnel still covered in soot.
- You have reached Padarn Country Park, situated on a delta made up purely from slate waste from the nearby Glyn Rhonwy Quarry.
- Be very careful when crossing the road at this point. Proceed along High Street back to the Snowdon Honey Farm.
A 'Snowdon Honey Farm' Map
Cadnant, High Street, Llanberis Gwynedd LL55 4HB
Tel. 01286 870218
Devised, photographed and illustrated by Gareth Roberts Images (tel. 01286 872462)
Walk nr. 2: Llanberis to Rhyd-Ddu
Length: 5 miles to Rhyd Ddu
Experienced walkers only
Alternative circular walk including Snowdon summit: all day
Walk, train and bus combo: all day
Walking Tour nr. 2
Llanberis to Rhyd-Ddu (with alternative walks to Snowdon summit and steam train journey via Caernarfon).
Remember: These are recommended walks along recognised footpaths. Please take care. Walkers walk at their own risk.
Capel Coch Road
Snowdon Ranger station and youth hostel
This symbol pertains to the same on the map detailing places of special interest. This walk includeds a difficult climb and should only be
attempted by experienced walkers.
SHF Turn left from the honey farm for 100 yards and turn right to take Capel Coch Road, continuing up steep hill past the youth hostel at
- These fields were extensively farmed during the Iron Age, and the eagle-eyed among you may notice the foundations of round huts (dwellings, like those pictured on the right), field boundaries and a burnt mound (where water was trapped and heated by fire for cooking).
- The concrete structures nearby are what remain of a Second World War army firing range. Take care when walking not to fall into one of the
numerous craters left behind by exploding practice grenades.
- On your left are the western slopes of Moel Cynghorion — the location of the biggest landslide in the British Isles. When the glacier that
filled this valley melted at the end of the last Ice Age, it undermined the whole mountainside which then collapsed in one single catastrophic
event. You will notice that a whole chunk of the mountain seems to have been clawed away, now lying in a massive heap below. Once over in the
next valley, you have a choice of routes (and modes of transport).
- Descend the slopes of Nant-y-Betws toward Cwellyn lake where you can stay at the youth hostel or catch the steam train at the Snowdon
Ranger Station for Caernarfon where a bus will bring you back to Llanberis.
- Alternatively, take this path down to Rhyd-Ddu itself for a well deserved rest at the Cwellyn Arms (number 6) where they make wicked meals.
Before taking the steam train at the station (number 7) back to Caernarfon where you can catch the bus back to Llanberis. Or ...
- Once in Nant-y-Betws valley, take this well-marked route, the Snowdon Ranger Path, to the top of Snowdon, later descending back to Snowdon
Honey Farm by the 'Llanberis path' that more or less follows the railway line back to the village. This last alternative is for serious walkers only. From start to finish, this walk is approximately 10 miles, with hill climbs, but with a lunch break in at the
Cwellyn Arms in Rhyd-Ddu ... why not make a great day of it!
Ask at Snowdon Honey Farm for the timetable of trains at Rhyd-Ddu for Caernarfon and for the bus timetables back to Llanberis. Route 8 is our
recommendation for a great day out!
Walk nr. 3: Llanberis to Cwm-y-Glo circular
Length: 5.5 miles
Hilly at times but not too difficult
Walking tour nr. 3
Llanberis / Cwm-y-Glo circular
Glyn Rhonwy Quarry
Gareth Roberts Images 07867 810576
This symbol pertains to the symbol on the map detailing places of specific interest.
Turn right out of Snowdon Honey Farm for 150 yards and then left at Goodman Street (1, opposite Pete's
Eats). The first half a mile is a bit of a climb but this walk is well worth the effort.
- The ruin on the left of the road at this point is what remains of a house built by a Dr. Goodman, the Dean of
Westminster early in the 17th century. Later, he bequeathed it to help establish Christ's hospital in Ruthin.
- You are now entering Glyn Rhonwy Slate Quarry, which was closed in 1930. During the Second World War, the quarry
was commissioned by the Air Ministry to store 18,000 tons of explosives. Remarkably, the last of these explosives
were not cleared until the 1970s. The deep quarry to the left was where Ron Howard filmed "Willow' with Val Kilmer in 1988.
- Look closely enough and you will notice small rings of stones in the grass next to the road. These are the remains of Iron Age Round
Huts (dwellings). The simulation above shows what this spot would have looked like over 2,000 years ago.
- Pause at the top of this hill to wonder at the amazing views of Snowdonia to the south and
Anglesey to the north, then carry on downhill ...
- At the bottom of this steep hill, take the footpath to the right down to the village of Cwm-y-Glo. Turn
right at the village street and follow the pavement to cross the main road by the Snowdon Inn. Once over go right and
first left to join the old Llanberis road (or visit the pub).
- Some twenty yards along this old abandoned road was the exact location of one of the most tragic events to have
occurred in the vicinity. On Wednesday 30 June 1869 (a very hot day), two carts, laden with nitro-glycerine heading
for Glyn Rhonwy slate quarry, exploded. Five people and two horses were killed instantly. Another eight were seriously
injured and one died a few days later. Such was the ferocity of the explosion that it created two craters 10 feet deep
and 30 feet across and not a house within a mile radius was left unscathed. No trace could be found of either
horse nor two of the carters. Some human remains were found almost a mile away. A wheel from one of the carts was
found at point 4 (above) where you turned for the footpath down to Cwm-y-Glo earlier on (an X carved into a stone
thereabouts marks the spot). Continue along this road and carefully cross the main road in a hundred yards or so.
- Follow the old road back into Llanberis. In a short while you will join the disused old railway line that was closed in 1969 (now a cycle
path) back to Llanberis and Snowdon Honey Farm.
Walk nr. 4: Llanberis to Waunfawr circular
Bryn Bras Castle
Gly Rhonwy Quarry
Llyn Padarn Lake
Turn left from Snowdon Honey Farm for a hundred yards and turn right up Capel Coch Road. Take first right up a short
steep hill and turn first left at the top of that hill. This is the start of the old cart road to Waunfawr, constructed
in 1810 to give access to Cefn Du Slate Quarries.
- Remarkably, the remains of an Iron Age hillfort occupies the summit of Dinas, this steep-sided hill.
Appropriately, Dinas is Welsh for Fort.
- This slate quarry was opened in the mid-19th century but was never very profitable. The quarry changed hands
many times and was eventually bought by the Llanberis Slate Co. in 1878 which ran it until the company went into
liquidation in 1928. The quarry had one unique feature, a cable car system carried slate all the way down to the lake
in Llanberis. Those of you who are adventurous enough to explore the area may come across the foundations of the towers
that held the cable car system.
- Today the Beacon Climbing Centre, this distinctive building in Ceunant was once at the forefront of wireless technology.
Commissioned in 1914 by the Marconi Wireless and Telegraphy — — messages to the USA. Transatlantic messges were sent
during the First World War, however, the building's major claim to fame is that the first morse code message was sent
from here to Australia on 22 Septembe 1918. Constantly updated, the first pictures were transmitted from here to the
USA in 1932. However, new technology finally overtook the station's purpose and the site closed in 1939. Today the site
is a climbing centre but it did have the dubious distinction of being a strip club for a while in the 1970s!
- A farmhouse and a tavern once stood here on the old road from Caernarfon to Llanberis. Bryn Bras Castle was built
in the Neo-Romanesque style for the Thomas Williams between 1829-35. The Gardens (now listed) were constructed in the
1830s. Unfortunately the grounds are no longer open to the public but the building has been used for many films and TV
dramas, including 'The Persuaders', starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis (for those of you old enough to remember).
The Arch above the road housed the area's Second World War Air Raid Siren until very recently.
- The 1988 film "Willow", directed by Ron Howard and starring Val Kilmer, was shot in this quarry hole to the right
of the road. A bridge built as part of the set can still be seen.
- These distinctive ruins on the right of a bend in the road are all that remain of a house built in the 16th century
by a Dr. Goodman, the Dean of Westminster.
Walk nr. 5: Llanberis to Nant Peris
4 mile easy route or choice of two more difficult 7-mile routes.
Choice of two more difficult circular routes through the quarries (approximately 6.5 and 7 miles).
Snowdon Honey Farm
Dinorwig Village car park
Turn left from Snowdon Honey Farm and follow the High Street. Take the road fro the Slate Museum where a public
footpath on the right takes you to Dolbadarn Castle.
- The castle was built by Llywelyn the Great around 1216. In a power struggle, he imprisoned his brother Owain
here for 20 years. The view up Llanberis pass from here is terrific. This is a valley carved by a glacier that once
towered half a mile above your head. Left is a simulation of the view from this point at the end of the Ice Age 12,000
- Carry on along the footpath and follow the road to Nant Peris. Eagle-eyed observers will notice the foundations of
an ancient road in the field to the right of the present main road on the bend. This was a drover's road built on an
earlier Roman track up the valley. Shortly, as the road takes a right bend, the foundations of a 19th century copper
mine comes into view on the left.
- Nant Peris was originally called Nant-y-Mynach (the Monk's Valley) and later called Llanberis. This splendid church
is dedicated to St. Peris and dates from the 12th century but has been altered over the centuries. Inside, the roof and
screen date from the 15th century and the bell from 1610. — — wanting an easy walk, just retrace your steps
back to the village. For the more adventurous there are two paths (marked 4 and 5 on the map) that take you through the
- Head back towards Llanberis along the main road from Nant Peris and in a short while you will see this footpath on
the other side of the road. This takes you through the slate quarries along a track built by the Electricity Board when
building the Hydro-Electric Power Station in the 1970s. Dinorwig Quarry itself was a working quarry for almost 200 years
until the summer of 1969 and at its height in the late 19th century employed 3,000 men. The landscape before the quarry
must have been spectacular and a small lake once existed somewhere where the gigantic slate heaps stand today.
- Join this path (sign-posted) at Nant Peris. This was the path built and used by the quarrymen that lived in Nant
Peris. Follow this path all the way to Dinorwig Village Car Park. From here, take the road to the left through Blue Peris,
a tiny hamlet built for some of the quarry managers and accountants. 'White Peris' house is where the quarrymen collected
their wages and a little further along notice the old grocery store sign on another house to the right. Follow this steep
path back down towards Llanberis. Halfway down the hill stands Anglesey Barracks, where the quarrymen from Anglesey would
lodge for the working week. Further on again stand the remains of an Incline Engine House, where the grease and oil
can still be seen on the walls.
- Descend the famous zig-zag path and head back to Llanberis or take a detour to the Slate museum.
Walk nr. 6: The old railway walk
Pram and wheelchair friendly
Turn right from Snowdon Honey Farm and follow the High Street until you reach the junction with the main road (A4086).
Cross the road and follow the road opposite. This is the course of the old passenger railway line from Caernarfon
established by the London and North Western Railway Company in 1864 and closed by Beeching in 1964.
- This area, known locally as The Lagoons, is popular among canoeists and for relaxing picnics. But it is not a
natural feature as the 'delta' is made up purely from slate waste from the disused Glyn Rhonwy Slate Quarry that
stretches uphill from here. The quarry was established in 1878 but it was never very profitable and finally closed
in 1928. The quarry did boast one innovation though, a ground-breaking cable car system was deployed to carry slate
from the upper reaches of the quarry down to this point for loading onto railway carriages.
- Behind the public toilets at this point is a subterranean world with an incredible history. During the Second World
War, this quarry was commissioned by the Air Ministry to store 18,000 tons of explosives. After the war the site was
used to destroy and burn wartime explosives until 1956. Unfortunately not all the explosives were discovered and destroyed
and the last of the bombs were not disposed of until the 1970s. Many a child that grew up in Llanberis ... of which can
still be bought in local antique shops today ... minus the explosive material we hasten to add!
- For a short distance you will be walking along a man-made cob, built to carry the railway line and splitting the
natural lake into two. Now tree-lined, this cob was open to the elements when the railway was running and was renowned
for being a roller-coaster ride by both driversand passengers. Such was the severity of the wind at times that there were
recorded occasions when both engine and carriages would begin to tip over and the whole train, momentarily, would be
running on one set of wheels. As for Padarn Lake itself, the 1958 Commonwealth Games rowing competitions were held here.
- This wonderful tunnel still bears the soot from decades of steam trains. The last steam train passed through in the
- Be careful whilst crossing the road at this point to continue on the footpath. Turn to the right once across the
road. The present road was built on the old railway line.
- In the 1870s, quarrymen from Glyn Rhonwy (see 1) declared themselves a Union. In response the quarry owner Capt.
Wallace Cragg locked the workers out but in doing so made huge losses. Three weeks later he begged the workers to return
and gave them union rights. However, the relationship between quarry owners and unions remained fragile. Union meeting
were banned but a plaque on a rockface at this point commemorates where secret union meetings took place for many years.
The rock is still known as Craig yr Undeb (Union Rock).
- Unfortunately a locked gate at this point means the end of the road for the time being. However, as you will notice
from a sign erected by the council's planning department a wheelchair and pram friendly gate is imminent, opening up
longer and beautiful walks beyond. Watch this space.