Dogs and children having a fine time on the Snowdon Ranger Path
Well-behaved dogs are most welcome on Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) and also on the Sherpa buses. (And yes, we’ve seen cats at the summit too.)
Whilst the Llanberis Path is probably easiest for dogs and people alike, the average fit dog will happily cope with most of the routes on Snowdon, and indeed they are commonly seen on all the paths. Dogs actually seem to cope with scrambly sections better than many humans do! However, if your dog has very short legs and is not used to this sort of terrain, it might be best to avoid the Pyg Track as you’ll likely spend time lifting it up some of the stepped sections!
The only one of the main six paths with a stile is the Pyg Track. Although there is no official dog-flap at this point, the fence has been broken down on both sides of the double-stile, so it is no barrier to dogs. The stile on the South Ridge has a dog-flap.
Bear in mind that most of the paths up Snowdon are rock and stone underfoot – there is very little, if any, grass, so your dog will need to be used to this.
In a nutshell, you are the person who knows your dog best, and you will know what sort of terrain and distances it is used to and what it can cope with, so check out the paths and their distances if you have any concerns that they might struggle. In making sure that your plans are within your own limits, make sure that they are within your dog’s limits too.
You are also the best person to know whether your dog might become scared or if it could pose a danger to anyone or anything.
Make sure you’ve got plenty of water for your dog, especially if it’s hot. On some paths you may encounter small streams lower down, but even they often can’t be relied on in the summer unless there’s recently been heavy rain. The Miners’ Track passes two lakes which often appeal to dogs. Remember too that in hot weather there is little or no shade on the mountain. If necessary, bottles of water can be purchased from Hafod Eryri, the summit building, when open.
What the law says
If you bring a dog with you on Snowdon, by law it has to be under ‘close control’ when on a Right of Way, i.e. on the main paths.
There are often sheep near the paths on Snowdon, even right up to the summit, and the Park Authority advises that dogs are kept on a lead when in the vicinity of livestock. Every year sheep on Snowdon are injured or killed by dogs chasing them. (It is an offence to allow your dog to attack or chase livestock under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, and a farmer may legally shoot any dog that is behaving in this way without notice or any form of compensation to the owner.)
As stated above, the main paths are Rights of Way. However, off these designated narrow Rights of Way most of Snowdon is Open Access land, where by law a dog must be kept on a short lead (less than 2m) between 1st March and 31st July. (This is to avoid disturbance to stock – mainly sheep and cattle – and to ground nesting birds, rare plant communities and rare insects.)
Needless to say, dog owners should clear up after their dogs. Leaving dog poo behind can cause illness in people, livestock and wildlife. Please don’t leave poo-bags on the mountain for someone else to have to pick up.
Dogs and the summit building
Signage at Hafod Eryri, the summit building, says that dogs are not strictly allowed in, but the staff don’t mind dogs in the lobby area, and also usually turn a blind eye to well-behaved dogs being inside in a quiet corner. (Hafod Eryri will not be opening until 24 June this year.)
Losing your dog
Every year a fair number of dogs get separated from their owners on Snowdon – especially when visibility is poor – and it often takes up to 24 hours before they are reunited, causing heartache and distress to dog and owner alike. Keeping your dog on a lead will prevent this.
Very occasionally you may encounter cattle on a lower path. Whilst Welsh Blacks are known for their tameness, if they have calves they can be very protective and become aggressive if they feel threatened, especially by dogs. Try to avoid them or use an alternative line and keep your dog on a lead. If threatened, release the dog and make your way to safety – the dog will return to you.
Cattle beside the MIners’ Path
You can read more about dogs on Snowdon on the National Park website.