Over on the West side of Snowdon on the banks of Llyn Cwellyn you’ll find the Snowdon Ranger youth hostel from where Victorian mountain guide John Horton (nicknamed the ‘Snowdon Ranger’) would guide tourists to the summit. His route is now named after him and at around eight miles there and back, it’ll will take the average walker between six and seven hours to complete.

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The Snowdon Ranger path is well served by local public transport options such as the Snowdon Sherpa bus as well as the Welsh Highland Railway and can often be combined with the Rhyd Ddu path to make a circular walk (see Snowdon Ranger and Rhyd Ddu Circular Walk).

How to climb Snowdon via the Snowdon Ranger Path

The route starts from the Snowdon Ranger youth hostel on the A4085 adjacent to Llyn Cwellyn. There’s a small and little used car park operated by Snowdonia National Park Authority opposite the hostel near to LL54 7YS or ///tripling.vegetable.bells. The daily rate is £6 or £3 for up to three hours and both cash and card payments are accepted.

When you’re ready, cross the road and enter the driveway for Cae’r Orsaf then immediately bear right on to the footpath at the ‘Snowdon Ranger’ stone sign. Follow this through the gate then turn to your left once you reach the railway line. Follow the railway track to another gate then turn right to cross over and start walking uphill. Use the gate to avoid walking over the cattle grid and once you reach the farm house follow the path around the back and to the right (look out for the farmer’s PATH sign!)

Keep walking uphill as you now enter the first zig-zag section. The aim of the zig-zags is to make this steep area easier to manage. The path here is very obvious and easy to follow. Once you’ve reached the top of the zig-zags you’ll pass through another gate and out on to gentler terrain.

You’ll soon reach a path on your left heading to Llanberis. Ignore this and follow the sign straight on to ‘Yr Wyddfa – Snowdon’. Cross over the ford, pass through the gate and carry on along the path. If the weather’s nice you’ll now start to get your first glimpse of the summit directly ahead in the distance. The summit building is usually easy to spot.

Stick to the obvious path as it gently ascends towards the Llyn Fynnon-y-gwas reservoir on your right with the summit always dead ahead. You’ll soon be able to appreciate that you’re not going to be able to make a direct ascent but should start to spot the large hill on its left. That’s Clogwyn Du’r Arddu and its cliffs are considered to be some of the best rock climbing cliffs in the country. But don’t worry, you won’t need any rock climbing gear as you should be able to spot a path cutting across the face.

Once you reach this the path will start to get considerably rockier and a fair bit steeper and whilst it’s not scrambling, smaller people might need to use their hands in a few places. Eventually it will start to zig-zag again as the ground gets very steep. There are some big drops on your right here so keep children close by. Take your time through the zig-zags and soon enough you’ll reach the top of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu at a fence line. Over the fence you’ll get your first views down to Llanberis and Llyn Padarn.

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Bear right and continue uphill albeit at a much gentler gradient. Take care walking along the rocky parts of the path.

Very soon you’ll reach the Snowdon Mountain Railway line. Ignore the temptation to follow it up and instead cross over sticking to the path heading in the same direction until you top out onto the summit of Bwlch Glas. All of a sudden you’re likely to feel less alone as you reach the point where many paths converge. The Llanberis Path comes in from your left and you’ll see people coming over the horizon ahead of you from the Pyg and Miners’ Tracks and Crib Goch. Turn to your right and head on up to the summit. It’s an easy route to follow now all the way to the summit stone. Do your selfies, grab a souvenir from Hafod Eryri before starting to make your way down the same way you came up.

How to get down from Snowdon along the Snowdon Ranger Path

Keeping the summit visitor centre on your left, retrace your steps back downhill and you’ll soon reach the path junction signpost. Follow the path left signed ‘Snowdon Ranger’, cross back over the railway line and descend gradually along the slopes. It’s easy going here until you reach the rocky part of the path where extra care is needed. The route is easy to follow and not too difficult underfoot until you reach the first set of zig-zags where you’ll need to be more careful. In poor visibility the stone cairns will guide your way. If your knees are starting to suffer then this is the time to get out your walking poles.

Once you reach the bottom of the steep zig-zag section next to the reservoir you can rejoice in knowing that’s the worse bit over. The path now meanders into the distance and shouldn’t give you any navigational difficulties. Retrace your route back to the split in the path and keep straight on signed ‘Snowdon Ranger parking’.

Descend through the next set of zig-zags, past the farm house, over the cattle grid and cross the railway line turning immediately left along the footpath then right as you reach the station platform. It’s then a short walk back to the road and to the car park.