Snowdon and Y Lliwedd from Pen-y-pass

This Snowdonia walk starts from Pen-y-Pass and uses the Pyg Track towards the summit of Snowdon. The route then crosses Y Lliwedd to pick up the Miner's Track for the return to the start. Good navigational skills are essential when leaving Snowdon and because of this, the walk is recommended for experienced walkers only.

Technical sheet
No. 292980
A Llanberis walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 24/09/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h30[?]
Distance Distance : 11.15km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 818m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 816m
Highest point Highest point : 1035m
Lowest point Lowest point : 360m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Snowdonia
Location Location : Llanberis
Starting point Starting point : N 53.080243° / W 4.020454°
Download : -


(D)The route starts at the car park at Pen-y-Pass and follows the Pyg Track with Crib Goch looming ahead. There is only one path as far as Bwlch y Moch, where it divides. To the right is the route up Crib Goch but this route takes the path to the left which drops down for a while before regaining height later. From the top of Bwlch y Moch, Crib Goch appears starkly ahead, showing its north face in a way that suggests there could not possibly be a way up there for walkers rather than rock climbers, yet of course there is, as you will know from having read about it, if not from personal experience of having gone up that way.

(1)The downwards trajectory does not last for long before it is a case of onwards and upwards, though with the Pyg Track, height is gained more gradually than with the Miners' Track. At least, you are spared anything remotely as steep as the bit of the Miners' Track after it leaves Glaslyn when it heads up a very steep slope of jumbled rocks and stones before it joins the Pyg Track higher up. Glaslyn (Blue/green lake) comes into view below Snowdon, towering a thousand feet above it. There is also a fine view at this stage of the walk of the cliffs of Y Lliwedd, to be climbed later in the walk.

(2)At the top of the Pyg Track you reach Bwlch Glas where Garnedd Ugain, the second highest mountain in Wales, is an optional extra on this route, to the right while the main path turns left to lead you to the summit of Snowdon, the highest point in Wales.

(3)Descending from Snowdon, navigational care is required to ensure that you come down the Watkin Path rather than the Rhyd Ddu path. The Watkin Path is very step in descent but the prospect of the next mountain looms ahead, the impressive Y Lliwedd with its cliffs to the left. But before you descend to Bwlch Ciliau, look out for a spectacular view to the left looking down and along the full length of Llyn Llydaw (Brittany Lake) with the much smaller Llyn Teyrn (Tyrant Lake) beyond.

(4)Anybody who suffers from vertigo need not worry when it comes to Y Lliwedd as there is no obligation to go near the edge of the cliffs off to the left. Instead, rather than one single path up it from the bwlch, there are a series of steep stony paths which tend to meet up with each other further up until finally the top is reached. As it turns out, Y Lliwedd has three tops, the west and east peaks and Lliwedd Bach. There are spacious views from each across to Yr Aran (looking more Matterhorn-like than Cnicht from this angle), Snowdon and Crib Goch as well as the Moelwyns to the south east across the Nantgwynant valley.

(5)Descend from the third top to reach the south shore of Llyn Llydaw near the causeway and then follow the route back to Pen-y-Pass via the Miners' Track.(A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 360m - Pen-y-Pass car park
1 : km 1.57 - alt. 556m - Bwlch y Moch
2 : km 4.58 - alt. 971m - Bwlch Glas
3 : km 5.09 - alt. 1035m - Snowdon
4 : km 7.17 - alt. 850m - Y Lliwedd
5 : km 8.86 - alt. 434m - Llyn Llydaw
D/A : km 11.15 - alt. 362m - Pen-y-Pass car park

Useful Information

The Snowdon Horseshoe is one of the best known walks in Snowdonia, so the only originality I can bring to a walk description of such a well-known walking route is to offer my own personal perspective on it. This is a variation on the Snowdon Horseshoe, omitting Crib Goch for vertigo sufferers to give the narrow ridge a miss, or else a common sense option should adverse weather conditions mean that Crib Goch is not a realistic option.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 3.67/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 2/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 5/5

on Wed 22 Sep 2021 21:45:11 CEST

Global average : 3.67 / 5

Date of walk : 22/09/21
Description quality : Disappointing
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

This was undoubtedly a fantastic walk with a fantastic series of views, but describing it as 'difficult' seems a little below the mark. For a middle-aged person of good fitness with a spirit of adventure, I was too intimidated by the route when I actually saw it, so was unable to do it. Instead I walked the Snowdon loop via the Pyg Track to the top of the mountain. and then back down via the Miner's Track. This still took me 7½ hours with a half hour break at the top of the mountain, and frequent photo stops. I cannot imagine that this walk would take 5½ hours based on that experience. Much as I'd like to have done it and even to have been able to do it, my impression is that it is beyond difficult (a walking 'black run', or 'very difficult' at the least) and would take considerably longer than the posted time.

Other walks in the area

distance 9.63km Vertical gain +838m Vertical drop -839m Durée 5h10 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Llandygai - Gwynedd

This walk takes in the three key summits in the Glyders - Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr and Tryfan. It also includes the Y Gribin ridge with its excellent opportunuties for scrambling. Do choose a fine day as the views are spectacular throughout.

distance 4.19km Vertical gain +94m Vertical drop -93m Durée 1h30 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Llandygai - Gwynedd

Llyn Idwal lies in a spectacular location under the Glyder Mountains in Snowdonia. This walk provides a mountain experience without too much effort walking through a rocky amphitheatre in the mountains.

distance 3.42km Vertical gain +572m Vertical drop -572m Durée 2h35 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Capel Curig - Conwy

This challenging route to the summit of Tryfan is one the great walks and scrambles of Snowdonia. Starting from the Ogwen Valley, much of the ascent up Tryfan's north ridge involves the use of hands. In winter this route takes on a different character when ice and snow are present and should only be attempted by those experienced in winter mountaineering.

distance 14.04km Vertical gain +950m Vertical drop -939m Durée 6h45 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Llanberis - Gwynedd

Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, is the objective of this walk. This route is the easiest way to Snowdon's summit. Starting in Llanberis, it must be remembered this walk is a serious mountain expedition so you should go fully prepared.

Crimpiau from Capel Curig
distance 6.07km Vertical gain +279m Vertical drop -282m Durée 2h30 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Capel Curig - Conwy

The minor Snowdonia summit of Crimpiau provides an excellent walk from Capel Curig. The route crosses quite mountainous terrain and the view down Llyn Crafnant is one of the great panoramas in the area. Do make sure you are suitably equipped for this walk.

distance 11.45km Vertical gain +844m Vertical drop -844m Durée 5h40 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Betws Garmon - Gwynedd

This ascent of Snowdon is realatively quiet yet allows the walker to appreciate the grandeur of the highest mountain in Wales. The outward route uses Snowdon's south ridge with the return route following the Rhyd-Ddu path.

distance 15.6km Vertical gain +906m Vertical drop -907m Durée 7h05 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Llanberis - Gwynedd

A Snowdonia walk that explores two less frequented summits from Llanberis. The walk offers grandstand views over many of the high peaks of Snowdonia and is more challenging than first impressions might suggest.

distance 14.89km Vertical gain +975m Vertical drop -974m Durée 7h00 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Bethesda - Gwynedd

The Carneddau in Snowdonia provide for some tough walking and this route is no exception. Good navigational and map reading skills are required in the early stages of the route.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.