The Pyg track isn’t the easiest route to reach the summit of mount Snowdon. Yet it remains one of the most popular routes up the tallest peak in Wales. Walking Snowdon’s Pyg track blends the best of both worlds, you get to admire Snowdonia’s breathtaking scenery and enjoy exhilarating scrambles along the way.
This route is simple to navigate and makes an ideal choice for all mountain explorers. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced mountain hiker, you’re bound to enjoy the vistas that this route has to offer.
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Why is it called Pyg track?
It appears that nobody is 100% certain on how the Pyg track obtained its name. It’s all a little bit mysterious!
Some believe it was named after Bwlch y Moch (pigs pass) a pass that leads through it. While others think the name came from miners carrying ‘pyg’ a black tar from the copper mines on Yr Wyddfa.
What distance and elevation is the Pyg track
This route is a 7 mile round trip and has an ascent of 723 metres/ 2372 feet.
There is a small car park at Pen-y-Pass which is right at the starting point for both the Miners and Pyg track. This carpark must be booked online in advance, otherwise you’ll be turned away and sent on your way.
To book a parking space, you’ll need to enter your arrival and departure time on the Pen-y-Pass website. Parking here isn’t the cheapest, it costs £20 for 8 hours.
The postcode is: LL55 4NU or ///brush.ringers.recline.
If this carpark is full, or you fancy a slightly cheaper option. Then you can use the park and ride bus instead.
Nant Peris park and ride for Pen-y-Pass
The Nant Peris park and ride is really straight forward to use, plus it will save you a little bit of your hard earned cash too. You’ll drive past the Pen-y-Pass carpark and continue on for 3 miles until you see the Nant Peris carpark. Parking here was £5 for the whole day, and the return bus ticket cost £3 each. That £9 saving will buy you, and your hiking pal a much deserved coffee at the summit cafe!
The Sherpa buses ran roughly every 15 minutes so it was no bother at all. The bus timetable changes slightly throughout the year, so you’ll need to click here to plan your visit.
The park and ride postcode is: LL55 4UG or ///stall.seagull.verbs.
Is the Pyg track / Llwybr Pyg suitable for beginners?
Snowdonia National Park Authority has categorised this route as Hard/Strenuous. Personally I would say it’s moderate with a harder section towards the summit. You don’t need any previous mountain hikes behind you, and there are no technical sections along this route. You do need a good basic level of fitness though, as its a long route with scrambles. If you’re already a seasoned walker, then you’ll be just fine taking the Pyg track. There is a gentle section in the middle that offers a little respite whilst you feast your eyes on the awe-inspiring views that surround you.
Remember to go at a steady pace, and take breaks as and when you need to.
It’s not a race. Well, not unless you’ve made it one!
Is this path busy?
Although it’s not as busy as the Llanberis path (AKA ‘the motorway’ route), the Pyg track is still very popular. Don’t expect solitude on this route, unless you’re getting up before the sun wakes! There was a steady flow of people when we went in August, but some did splinter off eventually for Crib Goch.
Is the Pyg track harder than the Miners track?
Both routes are classed as hard/strenuous, although they are very different from one another. Pyg starts with a rocky staircase and has a steeper incline from the get-go, yet offers a more varied route which helps keep it fun. Whereas the Miners track is smooth sailing for the first 3/4 of the way, gently meandering its way beside the beautiful turquoise lakes. Then, like a slap to the face, you’re hit with an intense incline at the end.
Out of the two, I’d say the Miners track is potentially a smidge easier. But to be honest, it’s hard to say! Because even though its flatter most of the way, you’re left with that long and difficult final incline.
How easy is the Pyg track to follow?
Most of the time you can see a clear route to follow along the Pyg track. Occasionally, the ‘path’ becomes wide so it’s less obvious where to step, but it’s always clear which direction you need to head.
Be aware that this isn’t a gravelled path like the majority of Llanberis and Miners’ track. There is only a short section of this trail that is.
When is the best time to hike mount Snowdon?
For the best hiking conditions, you want to attempt this between March-November. The rest of the year will bring dangerous winter conditions like icy paths and poor visibility. It’s advised only experienced climbers attempt Snowdon during those times, and that they are equipped with the right kit to help keep them safe.
What do you need to take with you up Snowdon?
For a summer time hike up Snowdon, you can avoid an unnecessary hefty rucksack and whittle down your hiking gear to the essentials. It’s important that you’re prepared for all weather conditions, as mountains can be fickle things. Your day can begin with beautiful sunshine at the bottom. Yet the higher you climb, the quicker things can change. In the blink of an eye, you can be surrounded in dense fog and enduring strong bone-chilling winds at the summit.
Ideally you should have the following items with you on your walk:
- Plenty of water and optional energy drink
- Food eg, sandwich, protein bar, nuts, fruit
- Power bank (We like the Anker ones)
- Map and compass or GPS app (for poor visibility conditions)
- Blister plasters
- Whistle (mine’s built into the strap on my North Face backpack, although it looks like they have dropped this feature on their new Jester design)
- Raincoat (I use this North Face coat)
- For colder treks, you’d want to pack gloves and a hat too
You’ll need to wear a pair of supportive walking boots too, do not attempt this in trainers, flip-flops or sandals!
Can children walk the Pyg track?
We saw quite a few little adventurers taking on this mountain challenge! Children would need to be supervised at all times, as it can get a little hairy in places. The Pyg track is a challenging route, with many large rocky steps to climb. We saw tots as young as 3 or 4 trundling their way up with a helping hand from their families.
Having said that, i’m not sure if they ventured the full way up as it would be a big task for them on the Pyg track! If you wanted an easier route for children to hike up Snowdon. Perhaps opt for the Llanberis path instead.
Can you do the Pyg track and Miners Track as a loop?
Yes you can, both the Pyg and Miners’ track start from Pen-y-Pass carpark. The two routes merge together near the final stint to the summit, meaning you can easily hike up Pyg track and descend via Miners, or vice versa!
You’ll see a standing stone (known as the finger stone) just down from the summit, this leads you back down towards both the Pyg and Miners’ paths. After a short walk down, you’ll see another stone marker. This one lets you know there is a split in the path, where you can either go left (along Pyg) or turn right, down onto the steepest part of the Miners’ track which is a big scree slope.
Miners track and Pyg circular
If you’re planning on doing the Miners’ and Pyg circular, which way should you go? This is honestly up to you and your personal preference. The scenic Miners’ track begins fairly easy with the slightest gradient for 3/4 of the way. Yet this does mean you haven’t gained much elevation along the way, therefor, the last section involves an undeniably steep incline! The Pyg route is steeper the majority of the way, with large rocky steps and scrambles.
Personally, I find a steep decent can start to hurt my knees. So for that reason, we came down Miners (which only involved one short, but savage decent) and went up Pyg.
So, just do whatever floats your boat.
Map of the Miners and Pyg loop
How long does it take to walk up the Pyg track?
It’s advised this route will take 6 hours (there and back) but some people will do it far quicker, and others slower.
We went at a steady pace, and it took us 2 hours 45 minutes to reach the summit of Snowdon. This factored in a few drink pitstops, and a brisk 10 minute break to sit and have a snack whilst enjoying the view of the epic lake and the minors track below.
How high is mount Snowdon?
Snowdon is the tallest peak in all of Wales at 1085 meters. Much taller than Pen y fan (The tallest peak in South Wales) which we hiked earlier this year.
Are there any toilets?
Public toilets can be found at a few places before you commence your hike up Snowdon. There are toilets in the Nant Peris park and ride carpark. Some more can be found at the Pen-y-Pass carpark, and during the months when the summit cafe is open there are toilets there too.
Top tips for walking up the Pyg track
- Make sure you check the mountain weather forecast before you visit. This is different to the usual weather forecast, and it will make you aware of things like cloud coverage, summit temperature and visibility. Only head up if it’s safe to do so. If the weather makes a turn for the worst, then its best to head back down the mountain and try again another day.
- Be aware that the Pyg track isn’t a simple stroll along a gravelled path. This route involves big rocky steps and sections that you’ll need to scramble over. It’s easy enough for beginners with a moderate level of fitness.
- I would avoid parking in the couple of near by lay-by’s. Not only is it dangerous walking along these busy and narrow twisting roads, but It will also add additional length to your walk!
- Watch your footing, and be careful on the rocks and scree.
- Keep to the path and don’t turn off right to Crib Goch (You’ll see some people leaving the Pyg track at this point) Crib Goch takes you along a knife edge ridge and is only for experienced climbers. You don’t want to find yourself up there holding on for dear life.
- Always tell someone you’re heading up to the summit, and inform them of which route you’re taking. Stick together if you’re going up with someone.
Catch the train to the top
If you don’t feel up to the walk, or maybe it’s not possible for you. Snowdon has its very own train that delivers you right to the summit in around an hour. You’re then given 30 minutes at the summit before you need to catch the return ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.
On the diesel train an adult return ticket costs £38 or a single trip costs £28. A child’s ticket (3-12 years) is £10 cheaper. But if you want to go for a ride on the ‘heritage’ steam train, then expect to pay a bit more for the privilege. Tickets for the heritage train will set you back £50 for adults and £40 per child. There are no one way tickets on this train either, so you cant catch a ride up and walk back down.
Snowdon’s cafe – Hafod Eryri
Amazingly, at the summit of Snowdon you’ll find a cafe. Not only can you grab yourself a much deserved hot drink, but it’s also a welcome toilet break before commencing your decent back down the mountain.
The cafe is only open from late spring to October, but closes sometimes due to bad weather.
Accommodation near Snowdon
One of the closest places to stay is at the Pen-y-Pass hostel. A popular option amongst many keen hikers who seek those early sunrise summits.
Llanberis is a nearby town that can offer a few different accommodation options. Or, if you’re after a romantic bolthole in the mountains, why not stay at the Rhinog Shepherds hut in Llanbedr. Where you can bathe outdoors under the starry night sky. Bliss!
There you have it. Everything you need to know about Snowdon’s beautiful Pyg track. Be safe, and have a brilliant time conquering the tallest peak in Wales!