The Pyg Track (Llwybr Pyg) is the shortest route to the summit, and because it starts at a height of 359 m (1,188 ft) the total ascent is just 723 m (2,372 feet).
‘Pyg’ (or ‘PYG’) is pronounced ‘pig’.
Many people will tell you that the name ‘Pyg’ derives from Pen y Gwryd, a nearby location on this side of the mountain, but this isn’t the case; old maps show it as ‘Pig’, because the path passes over Bwlch y Moch (‘The Pass of the Pigs’). Only later did people realise that, if spelt ‘Pyg’, it could be an abbreviation for Pen y Gwryd (the Pen y Gwryd Hotel was once a popular place with walkers and climbers).
Although the path is good and obvious, and is engineered for most of its length, it is one of the harder routes up Snowdon because of its ruggedness, and some of the steps are a challenge to those with shorter legs. The first mile has some steep stepped sections, and the last mile is also steep, requiring the use of hands in a couple of places.
Distance: 3½ miles (5½ km) to the summit one way
7 miles (11 km) there and back, if returning on the same path
Time: Allow between 1¾ hours and 3 hours each way, depending on your level of fitness.
Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2023
The path starts at Pen y Pass car park, off the A4086. Pen y Pass is 5 miles up the Llanberis Pass from Llanberis.
- Grid reference: SH 647 557 (O.S. map Outdoor Leisure OL17)
- Postcode: LL55 4NU
- What 3 words: spud.salt.replaces
- Location of start on Google maps
Parking for the Pyg Track
See our ‘Parking at Pen y Pass’ page.
- There are toilets at Pen y Pass, open 24/7 through the year.
- There is a café at Pen y Pass (open seasonally, though not always open mid-week).
- There is a drinking-water tap for filling bottles, etc.
- The Youth Hostel over the road has a licensed café and bar, open throughout the year, and showers which can be used for a small charge.
- There is free WiFi at Pen y Pass near the building (there is no phone signal).
- Pen y Pass is served by Sherpa bus services S1, S2, S3 and S5 (which includes the Park & Ride buses) and local taxis.
- The Google Trekker (like StreetView) will provide you with a ‘virtual’ walk up the mountain on this path.
- When you are actually on the mountain, the Snowdon Walks App will show a map of the path, with your exact position on it. It doesn’t require a signal, and it also provides information about places and features you pass on the path.
The Pyg Track starts in the top corner of Pen y Pass car park, through a narrow gap in the stone wall.
The first mile has some rocky and steeply-stepped sections. The views at this point are mostly down the Llanberis Pass towards Llanberis and its lakes. The peak in front of you is not Snowdon, but Crib Goch.
The view of Crib Goch dominates the first mile of the path
At Bwlch y Moch (‘Pass of the Pigs’) you will see the other side of the ridge for the first time, with views down to Llyn Llydaw with the twin peaks of Y Lliwedd behind. The Miner’s Track can be seen below you, crossing the lake on the Causeway.
Bwlch y Moch – stay on the wide path and go over the stile
DO NOT turn right here up the hill – that is the route to Crib Goch, and not the Pyg Track route to the summit. Stay on the wide path which continues over the double stile, and it is here that you will see the summit of Snowdon ahead of you for the first time, and indeed much of the Snowdon Horseshoe.
The next 1½ miles sees the path continuing to climb, though not too steeply, and there are several fairly level sections.
Halfway is marked by the large glacial slabs (aka ‘the Halfway Slabs’). You will pass a couple of natural promontory viewpoints (one just before the Halfway Slabs, one after), both of which look over Glaslyn, the higher lake, to the summit.
The summit and Glaslyn from the path
After a total of 2½ miles, after passing above Glaslyn, the path reaches the Intersection. This is marked by a standing stone (unmarked) where the Miners’ Track climbs up to join the Pyg Track. (If you’re returning on the Miners’ Track, make a mental note of this point.)
From here it is a mile to the summit (which will take you at least 45 minutes), and the path gets noticeably steeper. To your left are the former workings of the Britannia copper mine, and it is important to keep to the path here as the mine workings can be dangerous and the terrain is badly eroded.
Another ½ mile will bring you to the Zig-zags, a steep stepped section, after which a short, narrower and slightly exposed section comes out on the ridge at Bwlch Glas, which offers splendid views for the first time of the west side of the mountain. The weather often changes at this point, depending on the direction of the wind.
At the top of the Zig-zags
Bwlch Glas is marked by a huge standing stone (make a mental note of it if returning this way). Here the path joins the Llanberis Path, which comes in from the right. The Snowdon Ranger Path also joins at this point, coming across the railway line.
The standing stone at Bwlch Glas, just 10 minutes from the summit
Turn left here for the final ⅓ mile up to the summit, the path following close to the railway line. (Please don’t walk on the line – it’s private property and dangerous.)
On returning from the summit, head back down the path close to the railway for ⅓ mile, and at Bwlch Glas, where the huge standing stone is, remember to turn right back down the Zig-zags.
Distances up the path
Base map © S.N.P.A.
Combining with other paths
The Pyg Track is often combined with the Miners’ Track (they both start at Pen y Pass) and it can also be combined with the Llanberis Path by using the Sherpa bus service or the Park & Ride service up the Llanberis Pass.
See the page on combining and mixing paths on Snowdon for more.