The Pyg/Miners circular walk is one of the classic Snowdon ascent routes and probably the most popular. It usually involves ascending via the Pyg Track and then returning along the Miners’ Track. The total distance is 7.4 miles (11.9km) and you should allow 6-7 hours.

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Whilst this route is shorter than the Llanberis Path for example as there’s less height to climb (as you start much higher) there is considerable rocky ground to contend with which may involve using your hands as well as numerous steep sections and exposed drops. That aside it’s a hugely popular route and on a summer weekend you’re not likely to be alone.

The Pyg and Miners Tracks both begin and end 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. Whilst my advice would always be to aim for the main car park (no matter how early you need to start!) 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.

This walk involves going up the Pyg Track and returning along the Miner’s Track. This is the most popular way although there’s really no reason why you couldn’t do it in reverse however there is quite a steep descent at the top end of the Miner’s Track which would be an ascent if going the other way.

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.

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The path now continues at a much more gradual incline. Look down to your left and you’ll see another path around the lake going over a causeway. That’s the Miner’s Track you’ll be coming back along in a few hours’ time. 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. Make a mental note of this spot as this where you’ll head down on your return.

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 and Miners’ Tracks

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 where you’re going to take the steep path down to the right.

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You’re now on the Miner’s Track which descends steeply down to and around Glaslyn (blue lake). The path here isn’t quite as good as the Pyg Track you came up along but it’s still pretty obvious where to go. You should be able to see the path you’re aiming for ahead of you so have a bit of fun with your route choice.

Once you reach the lakeside follow the path around to the left as it continues downhill to Llyn Llydaw that you saw earlier. You’ll pass some old mining ruins on your left as you walk around the lake eventually crossing a causeway. It’s a nice (long) easy walk back to the car park now and before you know it you’ll see the Pen y Pass youth hostel ahead and you’re back at the start point.