The Pyg Track begins and ends from the Pen-y-Pass car park at the top of the Llanberis Pass. Beware this is not a big car park (around 70 spaces) and it’s very popular (and expensive!) so if you want a space on a summer weekend you’ll want to aim to be there before sunrise and even that might not guarantee you somewhere to park on a bank holiday. Parking around Pen-y-Pass is strictly controlled for everyone’s safety so if the car park is full when you arrive don’t even think about trying to park on the roadside as Police regularly patrol the area and tow away what they consider ‘dangerously’ parked vehicles.

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The best advice would always be to aim for the main car park (no matter how early you need to start!) but there are other parking options. There’s a large lay-by on the A498 Beddgelert road just up from the Pen y Gwryd hotel and from here there’s a permissive footpath up to Pen-y-Pass which will only add an hour or so on to your day. The other option is the Park and Ride service operating from Nant Peris where there’s a much larger car park and regular buses up to Pen-y-Pass or even parking in Llanberis and using the same bus service. Search online for ‘The Snowdon Sherpa’ for the most up-to-date service information.

At the entrance to the Pen y Pass car park you’ll find toilets and a small cafe which, if open, is worth a visit.

The Pyg Track is around 6.7 miles (10.8km) there and back. All Snowdon paths take roughly the same time with a faster walker being able to get up and down in around four hours but for most people, allow six or slightly longer if you’re walking with young children or in poor weather.

For an interesting circular walk that’s no more difficult, take the Pyg Track up and then return via the Miners’ Track. Find out more about this route at Snowdon summit via the Pyg/Miners Tracks.

How to climb Snowdon via the Pyg Track

From the Pen-y-Pass upper car park look for an obvious tarmac footpath leading away from the far corner. This is the start of the Pyg Track. Very quickly the tarmac stops and the path turns into a more traditional mountain path and then into some nice stone steps. Take your time heading up these as you don’t want to wear yourself out in the first half hour. It’s a very obvious path but there are a few points where you’ll need to clamber over some bigger rocks. Just keep heading in the same general direction and you’ll find yourself back on the path very quickly.

The mountain ridge you see ahead of you is the imposing Crib Goch but don’t worry as we’re going to walk around that. Stick with the path until it levels out by a stone wall where, if the weather is playing ball, you’ll get your first view of Llyn (lake) Llydaw and Y Lliwedd, another mountain behind it. This is a good chance to stop, have a drink and a snack. When you’re ready, turn right and follow the obvious path to a style very clearly marked ‘PYG’. There is another less obvious path here that bears up to the right which leads you to the awesome, knife-edged arete of Crib Goch. This is an exposed grade one scramble and is a not a route for beginners.

The path now continues at a much more gradual incline. As you keep walking look up to your right and see if you can spot the daredevils on Crib Goch. Eventually you’ll get your first glimpse of Snowdon in the distance. The path does become a little less obvious in places but is still relatively easy to follow. Take care when it narrows as the drops to your left will get increasingly dangerous. Very quickly you’ll see the summit of Snowdon right ahead of you.

You’ll soon start climbing more steeply again and reach a large stone marking where the Miner’s Track joins from the left.

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The path onwards becomes a bit sketchy now but make your way up however you can with the view of the summit right ahead of you enticing you on. It will soon become quite steep again and the path will zig zag a little to make the climb easier and before you know it you’ll pop out on to the top where a number of different paths converge with the Snowdon Mountain Railway track in front of you. Again remember this spot as you’ll need to turn here when you head down.

It will likely start to get busy now as the popular Llanberis and Snowdon Ranger paths join from the right. Turn left and you should (hopefully) have a good view of the summit just 500m ahead. Continue along the obvious path adjacent to the railway track as you make your way to the summit area. Finally the path becomes a staircase as you bear left to reach the summit stone. Congratulations – you’re now the highest person in Wales … for a few minutes. Grab your selfie and take the take to look around. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a sunny day the views are amazing.

At this point you may have noticed the large spaceship-type building to your right. This is Hafod Eryri, the Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre and the UK’s highest visitor centre. Here you’ll find toilets, an ok cafe, lots of useful information boards and a chance to buy some Snowdon souvenirs but beware the visitor centre is only open when the Snowdon Mountain Railway operates which is typically from around late Spring until the last weekend in October and even then only on good weather days.

How to get down from Snowdon along the Pyg Track

When you’ve had your lunch and seen enough of the views retrace your steps back along the path you came up on keeping the railway track on your left until you reach the point mentioned earlier when three paths now diverge. Be careful not to miss this as going the wrong way will take you down into the village of Llanberis a long way away from where your car is parked. Take the steps down steeply to your right to rejoin the Pyg Track. Take your time heading down and smile at all the people still climbing and asking “Are we nearly there yet?” Keep going around the zig zag until you reach the split in the path with the Miners’ Track. Continue straight on ignoring the track heading steeply down to your right.

The return route should now be familiar and you’re basically just following the obvious path all the way back to the car park. There is little opportunity for going wrong!


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