Whilst the Watkin Path is one of the toughest paths up Snowdon, it’s usually the top section that puts people off however this circular route means you only have to do that section once. Your route starts by meandering north from Nant Gwynant on the A498 through beautiful woodland, past the Rhaeadrau Waterfalls and up to an abandoned quarry before turning into a long, steep uphill slog to Bwlch Ciliau where you get a few hundred metres of flat-ish respite before an even tougher uphill scree climb. You do have the pleasure of seeing the summit in the distance for much of the second half of the walk and the final ‘climb’ to the top really makes you feel like you’ve earned your ascent. Starting the closest to sea level of all the routes at just 60m, the Watkin Path has the most ascent of all the Snowdon paths. It’s a little under eight miles (12.9km) up and down.

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There’s a small car park at Pont Bethania in Nant Gwynant. You’ll find it near to LL55 4NR or ///evoked.eased.variously. Operated by Snowdonia National Park Authority, this car park can be busy on summer weekends so aim to arrive early. Standard daily rate of £6 or £3 for up to four hours and chip and pin and contactless payments are accepted.

How to climb Snowdon via the Watkin Path

Exit the car park at Pont Bethania and turn left and walk along the footpath until it comes to an end. Cross over the road and climb the steps into the woods. This first part of the walk is an easy, gradual climb through the trees along an obvious path. Enjoy it!

You’ll soon emerge out of the woods and into open terrain. As you bear around to the left you should see some waterfalls ahead in the distance. That’s what you’re aiming for however the path continues around to the left. Stick with it and avoid the temptation to cut across the corner. This isn’t open access land and you must stay on the foot path. You’ll soon find yourself in the valley alongside the river with the impressive on your right. A great opportunity to stop, take some photos and have a drink.

The path continues gradually to Gladstone Rock, a plaque celebrating the opening of the path. Continue on until you reach some old mining works on your left. Again, another great spot to catch your breath as this is the end of the ‘easy’ stretch of the walk. The path is still very obvious here but you’ll quickly notice it getting steeper.

You should have your first glimpse of the summit off to your left and the ridge to its right is Bwlch Ciliau. You’re going to need to get up there but don’t worry, the path is easy to follow. Keeping on climbing as you head towards and then away from the summit and eventually top out on to Bwlch Ciliau. To your right is Y Lliwedd but you’re going to turn left and walk along the ridge hopefully with a great view of Snowdon ahead. The path comes and goes here but it’s obvious which direction you’re going.

Keep looking up ahead and you’ll get a glimpse of the scree path you’re going to need to take next. It’s worth noting that it ‘skirts’ the summit and that you’ll need to follow it around the back. Do not be tempted to try and take a straight line to the summit.

You’ll soon reach a stone sign for ‘Watkin Path’ marking the way ahead. The path starts quite obvious but will soon disappear. Remember to keep heading in the same direction. You’ll might need to ‘scramble’ over a few sections to regain the path. Work is being done nearer the top to make nice steps for the last stretch. This section can be dangerous and extra care is required with your foot work and general attention.

When you reach the top, turn right and continue climbing uphill. You’ll soon see the visitor centre ahead and the steps on its right which will take you up to the summit.

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How to get down from Snowdon along the South Ridge

From the summit, head towards the left hand side of the visitor centre sign posted ‘Watkin Path’ and start descending. Once you reach the path junction with the Watkin Path heading left (where you came up), ignore it and continue straight on. Follow the ridge line downhill taking care on exposed sections. A trip or fall here will be a serious problem.

You’ll soon reach a split in the path where the Rhyd Ddu path continues down to your right but you’re going to take the left path that climbs slightly. This is the south ridge.

Route finding is pretty simple and the path is quite obvious. There are a couple of very easy ‘scrambley’ sections but nothing that’s going to overly challenge you. After a steep staircase descent you’ll reach a wall where you’ll need to turn left travelling gently downhill back to the Watkin Path just above the waterfalls.

Before you know it you’ll be back at the relatively flat walk back past the waterfalls, into and out of the woods and back to the car park.