Taking children up Snowdon

People often ask if Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) is suitable for children, and if so, which path to the summit is best for children?

For young children, the Llanberis Path is best because it is just a path – albeit steep in places – but with no ‘clambery’ or exposed sections. The Snowdon Ranger Path would come a close second to this. However, none of the paths on Snowdon could be considered ‘pushchair-friendly’.

If considering other paths, we would recommend that you look carefully at the different main paths before deciding to take young children on them.

Bear in mind that the younger the children in your group, the more time you’ll need to allow for the walk. Children of upper primary age and above are usually more than capable of keeping up an adult pace.

As unlikely as it may sound, children as young as 3 and 4 are known to have walked the Llanberis Path, the Pyg Track and the Miners Track – albeit slowly! – but this is fairly exceptional, of course, and should not be taken as the norm.

Older children can tackle the other paths, though most will find the final ascent on the Watkin Path especially challenging. (That said, we recently met a 5-year-old at the summit who had walked up on the Watkin Path.)  Some children too (and their parents) might find the last part of the Rhyd Ddu Path a little bit too exposed for comfort. The Pyg Track is challenging, but children are regularly seen on it.

From the above, you’ll appreciate that it’s impossible to make hard and fast rules because not all children are the same, and it is you who knows your child/children best. Some children will be keen to press on towards the summit; others might want to give up after a short distance. Some children are used to strenuous walks; others aren’t.

Some children will need more motivation and persuasion than others, so it’s important to stay positive and keep them engaged on the walk. Taking the right type of snacks and sweets for them can also be a good motivator if any is needed. Children are also often motivated when there are other children in the group.

It’s really not a good idea to force children to continue if they don’t want to, but only you will know how motivated, experienced, fit and mountain-ready your children are, whatever their age.

Please think carefully before taking infants up the mountain. If you take a baby/toddler up in a back/front carrier, you will need to take extra care not to trip or fall, which could result in serious injury to the baby. You will be used to carrying them when walking on the level, but your balance will be very different on steep or slippy sections of the path, both going up and down. The safest path is therefore the Llanberis Path. Also, in cold conditions, bear in mind that while you may be getting hot walking up, the infant is not moving and exposed limbs may be getting very cold. This can happen even in summer.

(See this article about one particular 3-year-old who has done the Three Peaks!)

A family (youngest aged 5) at Bwlch Glas. They had walked up the Miners’ Track and were returning from the summit on the Llanberis Path.

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