Photo © Mark Fearnley

Climbing Snowdon at any time is a special event but seeing the start of a new day from the top of the highest mountain in Wales is something amazing. Witnessing sunrise on Snowdon is more popular than you might think and actually not that difficult with the right advance planning and suitable knowledge. Of course you’re going to need a very early start so read on to find out everything you need to know.

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Which is the best path to see the sunrise on Snowdon?

If you want to climb Snowdon to see the sunrise we recommend ascending via the Llanberis path. It’s one of the easiest routes to follow and probably the safest to walk in the dark. The route is around nine miles (15km) there and back and you should allow around three hours to get to the summit and a little bit less to get back down again.

Please remember to keep your voices down as you leave Llanberis and walk along Victoria Terrace to the start of the Llanberis Path as you’ll be passing very close to local residents’ homes and they won’t appreciate being woken in the early hours.

What time should you set off to see the Snowdon sun rise?

If you’re an average walker or if you’re walking as part of a group you should allow around three hours to get from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon along the Llanberis Path. If you’re a faster walker you can easily do it in two hours but best to allow some wiggle room as you don’t want to miss the sunrise!

A great resource for finding sunrise and sunset times is the free Time and Date website. Visit www.timeanddate.com/sun/@2644171 to view data for the Pass of Llanberis then simply select your chosen date. Sunrise times typically range from 6am – 7am in April and September and before 5am in the height of summer.

Once you know what time the sun is going to rise on your chosen date, subtract three hours and that’s what time you’ll need to set off walking.

What about the weather?

It’s always essential to find out what the weather’s going to do before you climb a mountain at any time of the day but if you’re planning to make a special trip just to see the sunrise you want to be sure you’re actually going to see something.

Read our article What’s the weather like on Snowdon to find out how to check the mountain weather for Snowdon before you leave home. If it’s going to be cloudy or poor visibility then it probably won’t be worth the early start.

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What do you need to take with you?

As well as everything you should already have with you on the mountain (see What should you wear to climb a mountain?) there’s a few important extra bits you’re going to need to take with you if you want to see the sunrise on Snowdon.

  • Head torch with spare batteries. You’ve probably already worked out that to get to the top of Snowdon to see the sunrise you’re going to need to walk in the dark. Once you’re out of Llanberis, there aren’t any street lights to guide your way so you’ll need something to help you see in the dark. Head torches aren’t expensive and will make a massive different to your ascent. Check the batteries before you leave home and pack some spares in your bag. If it’s a really clear night you might be lucky enough to be able to walk by moonlight but you must still have a head torch with you just in case.
  • Warm clothes. Even if you’re planning on seeing the sunrise on Snowdon in the middle of summer, it’s going to be cold when you set off in the early hours of the morning and if you find yourself at the top a bit early, standing around waiting for the sun to rise is certain to make you feel the cold. Pack extra layers in your rucksack such as a spare fleece and down jacket.
  • A hot drink. Having a thermos of tea, coffee, hot chocolate (or our particular favourite, hot blackcurrant squash) is a great way to warm yourself up while you’re waiting for the sun to rise. A bottle of champagne might seem like a nice idea but alcohol is never a good idea on the mountain and champagne bottles are heavy to carry up and down.

Is it safe to climb Snowdon to see the sunrise?

No mountain activity is ever 100% guaranteed safe and there’s obviously a greater risk with walking in the dark however if you follow the tips on this page you can go a long way to reduce that risk. For the best chance of a safe Snowdon sunrise walk, consider hiring a Snowdon mountain guide.


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