Snowdon summit walks from Llanberis – without relying on the Llanberis Path

If you’re based in Llanberis and thinking of walking up England and Wales’s highest mountain, you could be forgiven for thinking your only option is the Llanberis Path. But there are three route variations you can take from the village when tackling Snowdon, with all three taking you into quiet country.

Ready for a little adventure?

Snowdon Summit via Llechog Ridge

Instead of following the Llanberis Path, keep left and instead follow the broad, grass-and-rock ridge of Llechog as far as Clogwyn Station, where the Llanberis Path and the Snowdon Mountain Railway bunch together on a narrow spine of rock.

Take the forestry track opposite Royal Victoria Hotel rather than the village street as your starting point. Follow it to the café at Pen y Ceunant. You then need to follow the Llanberis Path as far as the gate. Beyond the gate, the path takes a near-90 degree turn to the right. You keep left, and find your own way onto Llechog!

Head for the grassy plateau of Derlwyn or stay below it, keeping the railway to your right. There is a fence line you can follow with a faint path alongside it. Ascend towards the summit of Llechog and enjoy the views down into the Pass of Llanberis. After rejoining the path at Clogwyn and going under the railway on the Llanberis Path, veer left again shortly after up a steep grassy slope that brings you to the summit of Garnedd Ugain. Here you’ll join the fearless bunch that have tackled Crib Goch. If Snowdon summit is likely to be busy, Garnedd Ugain makes a great alternative stop for a picnic.

To return, retrace your steps, take the Llanberis Path, or even take the train.

GPS users can grab the GPX track data for this walk here.

Snowdon Summit via Moel Eilio

Unlike the Llechog ridge walk which pretty much runs parallel to the Llanberis Path, this walk via Moel Eilio and the Ranger Path effectively adds a second mountain to your walk up Snowdon. Make sure you allow plenty of time for this big circular walk and have enough energy to tackle the second half of the Ranger Path having already ascended 726m-high Moel Eilio. There is, however, an escape path back to Llanberis before you reach the Ranger Path, so you can cut your walk short if needs be.

Take the village road opposite Royal Victoria Hotel following walkers’ signs for the Llanberis Path, but halfway along this road turn right and go under the Snowdon Mountain Railway viaduct. Here, take the track on the left marked “Waterfalls”. Ignore the oath on the left – unless you want to visit the falls – and follow the lane. It’s steep to start but levels out as you cross fields and arrive at the good track where you turn right and follow this to another track, when you keep straight on.

Follow the track to the quarry at Bwlch-y-groes and at the gate take the path left up the long, wide northern ridge of Moel Eilio. This climb takes about an hour or so.

After resting in the huge rock shelter, head towards the fence you crossed and follow it down to a stile over a stone wall. Keep to the highest part of the ridge as the path is fairly indistinct here. The final minor summit on the ridge is Foel Goch – you can go over it, or skirt its southern side to reach Bwlch Maesgwm.

You can take the left path here and head back down to Llanberis – but you’d be missing out on Snowdon itself! Instead, descend towards the Ranger Path (very obvious) and now follow the zig-zags up and towards the Llanberis Path, which you join after crossing (with care!) the railway by a marker stone. Walk to the summit, or if you’ve had enough for the day, return down the Llanberis Path or even the Llechog ridge as described above.

GPS users can download the GPX data here.

Snowdon Summit via Moel Cynghorion

In this article we describe a circular walk taking in Moel Eilio and Moel Cynghorion, which is a great option if the cloud is down on Snowdon summit or you fancy a much quieter walk. Alternatively, the route described here misses out Moel Eilio, taking the path into Bwlch Maesgwm instead.

From the centre of Llanberis village, leave the main street via Fford Capel, keep left by the chapel and follow the lane past the youth hostel. Keep going as far as Brithdir and then onto the maintained path up into Maesgwm, between the peaks of Foel Goch on your right and your next destination – Moel Cynghorion -to your left.

At the Bwlch, turn left by a wall and walk steeply up to Cynghorion’s 674m summit. Descend southeast off the summit to Bwlch Cwm Brwynog where you will find two stiles in the fence. Take the right hand style and drop down the grassy slope to pick up the Ranger Path below the zig-zags. Now take this easy-to-follow path – a tough climb, mind! – to the summit of Snowdon.

The detailed description here adds a further variation to this walk, following the base of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu cliffs around the lake and up to join the Llanberis Path at Clogwyn station, before returning via the Ranger Path.