Snowdonia National Park, Wales
13.5 km, loop
submitted by: Craig Taylor
pictures by: Craig Taylor
Why you should do this route
Coming up from the mountain’s north-westerly side, this hike takes you up and over two other mountains before you join the remaining trails up to Snowdon itself. Throughout the entire walk, you have stunning views over the numerous pristine llyns (lakes) and breathtaking valleys that make up the Snowdon Massif.
Even though a clear highlight on this route is, of course, Snowdon, for many the main high point will be the Crib Goch ridge scramble. A true bucket-list challenge for British mountaineers, this stretch of the Horsehoe is equal parts breathtaking and adrenaline-inducing, resembling the fin of a Jurassic dinosaur jutting of out of the main ridgeline. The narrow arete which forms the crossing at the top is surrounded on either side by sheer drops, so ensure you have a head for heights before you attempt this section.
Not sure you want to risk it on Crib Goch? This route can still be completed by remaining on the Pyg Track. Instead of going up and over, you’ll head down into the valley and climb up the south side, joining this route at the western edge of Carnedd Ugain.
How to follow the route
The Snowdon Horsehoe is quite a challenge. It will take you practically the entire day and will demand an above-average level of fitness to complete. Despite being exposed at parts, no special mountaineering gear is required for the trip, although sturdy, comfortable hiking boots are a must.
Snowdon also happens to lie in one of the wettest parts of the United Kingdom. Therefore, always pack a rain jacket and waterproof trousers even if the weather forecast states otherwise. Additionally, consider taking a buff or a hat of some kind to keep the wind off your ears when you get to the top.
Once you leave the Pyg Track shortly after starting your hike, you’ll also not be able to top up on water until you reach the summit station on Snowdon. If that’s closed, bring at least 3 litres of water so you’ve got enough for the ascent and the descent.
One final tip: Pen y Pass car park is one of the most popular car parks in Snowdonia National Park. Be sure to get there early to ensure you get a space. If the car park is full, there’s a car park, a park and ride car park in the nearby town of Nant Peris offers a shuttle service back to Pen y Pass with buses leaving once every 30 minutes during the summer.
Navigate with Outdoor Active
Do it yourself
Parking lot and bus stop
Get off the Pyg Track, onto Crib Goch on your right
Follow along the Miner’s Track on your right