Sometimes it’s nice to choose a circular route rather than going up and down the same path. Indeed, there really isn’t any need to do the same path both ways when there are so many options available that will let you enjoy another part of the mountain.
Furthermore, some walkers, having reached the summit, then decide that they’d like to go down a different way to what they had originally planned. With the help of the Sherpa bus service this is often possible.
The following suggestions are largely limited to the 6 main paths on Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa).
Pyg Track, Miners’ Track & Llanberis Path
The Pyg Track is often combined with the Miners’ Track because they both start at Pen y Pass. They join at the Intersection (about ¾ of the way up) and share the last mile to the summit. Although the round can be done either way, we personally would recommend going up the Pyg Track and down the Miners’ Track, rather than the other way round.
You can, of course, also combine the Pyg Track and Miners’ Track by turning off at the Intersection without going as far as the summit. This is a good option if the last mile looks too challenging or if the weather higher up is poor. (See also ‘Shorter walks on the main paths‘.)
If you’ve walked up the Pyg Track or Miners’ Track, why not return on a different path altogether, such as the Llanberis Path and see the other side of the mountain? From Llanberis you can then catch the Sherpa bus back to Pen y Pass or to the Park & Ride in Nant Peris.
A reverse to the above suggestion: if you’ve walked up the Llanberis Path, why not return on a different, more dramatic path, such as the Pyg Track or Miners’ Track? From Pen y Pass you can then catch the Sherpa bus back down to Llanberis or to the Park & Ride in Nant Peris.
The Llanberis, Pyg and Miners’ Tracks. (O. S. data © Crown copyright and database right 2023)
A popular return route after walking up the Watkin Path is to descend via the South Ridge (Allt Maenderyn) – which will give you a good view of the upper Watkin Path which you took on the way up – to then follow the old quarry tramway east and rejoin the Watkin Path above the waterfalls, a mile from the start. This route is virtually the same length as returning on the Watkin Path itself. (This route can be done in reverse, but we’d strongly recommend going up the Watkin Path, rather than down it.)
The Watkin Path and South Ridge loop. (O. S. data © Crown copyright and database right 2023)
Rhyd Ddu Path & Snowdon Ranger Path
The Rhyd Ddu Path and Snowdon Ranger Path are both on the west side of the mountain. If going up from Rhyd Ddu and returning to Snowdon Ranger (the best way of doing this round in our opinion), there is a Right of Way linking them (2¼ miles), which passes through the former Glanrafon quarry (look for the stile about a mile from the bottom of the Snowdon Ranger path). This pleasant path is waymarked, but has some boggy patches. Equally, the Sherpa bus with its hourly service can be used to return you to the relevant car park.
Rhyd Ddu & Snowdon Ranger Paths, with joining path. (O. S. data © Crown copyright and database right 2023)
The waymarked route linking the Snowdon Ranger Path with Rhyd Ddu
The Rhyd Ddu Path can be turned into another loop by descending from near the summit on the South Ridge (Allt Maenderyn), to then head west along the old quarry access road to rejoin the Rhyd Ddu path at Pen ar Lôn, a mile from its start.
Rhyd Ddu Path & South Ridge loop (O. S. data © Crown copyright and database right 2023)
The Llanberis Path can be combined with a descent of the Snowdon Ranger Path, turning off the latter about a mile from the bottom to return to Llanberis via Bwlch Maesgwm and the Maesgwm bridleway. This is the Llanberis – Ranger – Maesgwm route; it is a total of 11 miles, so a long circuit, and is also popular with bikers.
The Watkin Path can be also combined with the Pyg Track or Miners’ Track. Their respective car parks (Pont Bethania and Pen y Pass) are linked by a 4½-mile path – part of the Snowdon Circular – and also served by the (not-so-regular) Sherpa bus service.
Other combinations are possible too, of course, but in practice are often limited by the Sherpa bus timetable, especially out of season when the buses are less frequent. (Buses serving the Watkin Path, Rhyd Ddu Path and Snowdon Ranger Path are less frequent than those in the Llanberis Pass, and may involve a change at Beddgelert.)
Taxis are generally based locally in Llanberis, and regularly ply between Llanberis and Pen y Pass. Getting them to go round to the other side of the mountain will prove more expensive, but if there’s several of you to share the cost it’s well worth it.
If you wish to explore other routes on Snowdon beyond the six main paths, see ‘Other Paths and Routes on Snowdon’.
Walk all 6 paths in a day?
So is it possible to walk all six main paths in a day?
Yes it is, but it’ll be a long day of about 15 hours (it’s nearly 25 miles), so you’ll be best advised to do it in mid-summer if you want to do it in daylight.
It’s really only possible too if you have an accomplice to drive a car. They can take you to the start point, give you a lift in the middle (rather than waiting for buses), and meet you at the end. They can also meet you at the bottom of the paths with supplies so that you can travel fairly light.
We’d suggest this route:
Start at Snowdon Ranger. Go up the Snowdon Ranger Path to the summit, then down the Rhyd Ddu Path.
Get a lift round to Bethania. Go up the Watkin Path to the summit, then down the Miners’ Track to Pen y Pass.
From Pen y Pass go up the Pyg Track to the summit, then down the Llanberis Path, finishing at Llanberis.
The above route could, of course, be done in reverse.
The South Ridge, looking towards the summit