Will Snowdon be busy?

At times, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) gets very busy. This is not surprising when one considers that it’s the busiest mountain in Europe; nearly 600,000 walkers use the mountain every year (and the train also carries up to another 140,000 people).

The busiest and quietest paths

The busiest paths are on the east side of the mountain:
The Llanberis Path is the busiest, taking some 42% of all Snowdon’s walkers.
The Pyg Track and Miners’ Track come next, together carring another 42%.

The quietest paths are the Rhyd Ddu Path and the Snowdon Ranger Path, both on the west side of the mountain. (For many people this is the ‘far’ side.)

The queue for the summit pillar on an August Bank Holiday weekend

Queuing at the summit

You will have seen pictures of people queueing at the summit on busy summer days. Whilst you don’t need to queue for the flattish summit area itself, those wanting to go up the steps to the summit pillar can on occasion have to wait for as much as an hour! (This is largely because everyone these days wants time to take selfies and other photos there.) The queue is always at its longest around the middle of the day.

Queues at the summit can also be seen out of season if, for instance, there is a forecast for a particularly prolonged good spell of weather.

Hint – by going round the back you can touch the concrete base that the pillar is built on; this is 1,085m and the top of Snowdon.

The steps up to the summit pillar

Hints for avoiding the hordes

Snowdon is altogether a nicer place when it’s less busy. Here are some hints for avoiding the hordes:

  • Choose a quieter path up Snowdon (though it may still be busy when you reach the top).
  • Avoid Snowdon at the weekends. (Saturday is always the busiest day of the week, by far, followed by Sunday. If you do choose a Saturday, head up early, though you’ll still encounter a lot of people on the way down.)
  • Avoid high season, and go up early or late in the season (July and August are the busiest months).
  • Avoid Bank Holiday weekends (though the Bank Holiday Monday is usually the quietest of the three days).
  • Be at the summit by mid-morning (the summit is at its busiest between about 11:30 and 14:30.
  • Consider going up out of season if the conditions are ideal.

Failing that, have a plan B and walk elsewhere! Snowdonia has many lovely places to walk, including other nearby mountains. Try the neighbouring Glyderau, Moel Siabod or Cnicht; further south is Cader Idris, which is every bit as challenging as Snowdon.

The stats

If you’re particularly interested in the figures, the Visitor Monitoring Reports from 2017 – 2022 can be found on the National Park’s website here. They’re crammed with data, and give totals for each of the main paths on Snowdon, split if desired by month, and days of the week. The charts and graphs make for fascinating browsing.

Numbers have generally increased year on year since about 2005, exceeding half a million for the first time in 2017. The highest annual figure reached was in 2019, but this may well be being currently exceeded (see the notes below).

(Click on the links below to download a .pdf of the report.)

    • Figures for 2017 ♦ (total: 525,173)
    • Figures for 2018 ♦ (total: 558,008)
    • Figures for 2019 ♦ (total: 587,864)
    • Figures for 2020 ♦ (total: 329,271) – This figure is low because the Covid lockdown saw the mountain closed for much of the spring and early summer.
    • Figures for 2021 ♦ (total: 544,502) – This figure is low because the partial winter Covid lockdown saw visitors from England unable to visit until well after Easter that year. However, July and August saw monthly figures exceeding 100,000 for the first time ever.
    • Figures for 2022 ♦ (total: 543,541) – This figure is low because the counters on 4 of the paths were faulty at some point, so 2019 levels have been used, which are lower than the post-lockdown numbers experienced. Again, August figures exceeded 100,000.

The figures for 2023 will hopefully be released around this coming Eastertime.

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