Snowdon Ranger Path

Path summary

The Snowdon Ranger Path (Llwybr Cwellyn) is located on the west side of the mountain, and is therefore much quieter. It is the oldest path up Snowdon, being in the 18th century close to Caernarfon on what was one of the best toll roads in the county.

It is regarded as one of the easier paths, being just a long walk, albeit with steep sections; no hands are needed.

The path is good and clear, with a view of the summit most of the way. After the initial zig-zag ascent from the farm, the path levels somewhat, though gets steeper and rockier on the second half. At Bwlch Glas, ⅓ mile from the summit, it joins the Llanberis Path for the final ascent.

It is a bridleway, so bikes may be encountered, usually coming down from the summit before turning off for Bwlch Maesgwm.

Distance: 4 miles (6¼ km) to the summit one way
8 miles (12½ km) there and back, if returning by the same path

Ascent: 936 metres (3,071 feet)

Time: Allow between 2 and 3 hours each way, depending on your level of fitness.

Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2023

Getting there
  • Llyn Cwellyn Car Park, off the A4085
  • Grid Reference: SH 564 551 (O.S. map Outdoor Leisure OL17)
  • Post Code: LL54 7YT
  • What 3 words: juicy.passages.badge
  • Location of start on Google maps
Parking for the Snowdon Ranger Path

There is a Pay & Display car park over the road from the start of the path and the YHA Hostel.

  • Daily parking rate (up to midnight): £6  (‘chip & pin’ or contactless cards, or cash payments.)
  • Rate for up to 4 hours: £3

Pre-booking is not available.

There are 2 blue badge/disabled parking spaces.

Note – If you are going up overnight, and you arrive after 6:30pm, you should pay for a ticket when you arrive, and this will cover you until 8:30am the following morning. However, if you arrive before 6pm, you will need to pay for two tickets (for both days), and display them both in your vehicle.

Other facilities
  • There are toilets (Portaloos) at the car park, open 24/7 through the year.
  • The bottom of the path is served by Sherpa bus service S3.
Path description
  • 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.

From the car park, cross the road and a little to the right you will see a bridleway sign. Take this path, passing the old station building, then turn right over the railway track and up towards the farmhouse.

Follow the path, keeping right, and follow the path as it zig-zags up the steep grassy hillside.

At the top of the zig-zag section the path levels considerably, and there is a gate. On your left are Foel Goch and Moel Cynghorion, with the pass of Bwlch Maesgwm in between. The footpath heading left from here goes to Bwlch Maesgwm and on to Llanberis; this is popular with cyclists.

The summit is in view for most of the way

The path winds gently upwards, with the summit in sight all the time. Over to your right is the old Glanrafon slate quarry.

The half-way point is marked by the large lake on your right — Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas (‘the lake of the servant’s spring’, named after a shepherd who drowned here while washing his master’s sheep).

The path starts to climb steeply after passing the lake

Immediately after the lake is Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, and from here the path starts to climb steeply through an area surrounded by loose rock, zig-zagging steeply up the shoulder towards the top of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu. It’s worth stopping here, at the top of ‘Cloggy’, to look left down across Cwm Brwynog over towards Clogwyn station and the Llanberis Path. To the right is Cwm Clogwyn with its three small lakes (Llyn Glas, Llyn Coch and Llyn Nadroedd, translating as ‘Blue Lake’,  ‘Red Lake’ and ‘Snakes’ Lake’ respectively).

After a steep mile, with an impressive rock-field on the left, we are now exactly a mile from the summit, and the gradient eases somewhat. The path here is more solid underfoot, though less well defined (though there are cairns), so take care on this section, especially in misty or wintry weather.

Approaching Bwlch Glas on the less obvious section of path

The path continues to ascend, and in a little over ½ mile it crosses the railway line to reach Bwlch Glas, a flatter area where it joins the Llanberis Path, coming in from the left. By the big standing stone the Pyg Track and Miners’ Track join at this point too, having come up from the other side of the mountain.

The path crosses the railway track just before Bwlch Glas. The summit can be seen in the distance.

Having now merged with the Llanberis Path, continue upwards for the final, steeper ⅓ mile to the summit.

If returning from the summit on this path, head back down the path close to the railway for ⅓ mile, and at Bwlch Glas, where the huge standing stone is, bear left, down the signed path which crosses the railway line.

Please don’t walk on the railway track at any point. Aside from the fact that it’s private property, this can result in damage to the ballast ‘shoulder’. Moreover it can be particularly dangerous, especially in winter.

Distances up the path

Base map © S.N.P.A.

Combining with other paths

The Snowdon Ranger Path is often combined with the Rhyd Ddu Path, given that they are both on the west side of the mountain. Near the bottom, a link between the two can be made by a marked Right of Way through the old quarry, or from the road by using the Sherpa bus service.

See the page on combining and mixing paths on Snowdon for more.

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