Snowdon - Pyg Track/Miners Track
Time: 6-7 hours
Start Point: Pen-Y-Pass
Snowdon requires no introduction - the highest peak of Wales and England.
And what a mountain it is. It may not seem like a big mountain, standing at "only" 1085 metres above sea level but the actual elevation is high. The lake directly below the Snowdon - Glaslyn - lies at about 600m, so what you're seeing form there is a wall that's almost 500m tall.
This route offers fantastic views and the route that is moderately difficult but long.
How do I get there?
The quickest starting point is parking at Pen-Y-Pass but to find a parking spot there (and pay £10 for parking [Aug 2019]) you need to be there just after dawn. Parking fills up usually by 7 am. So the nest best thing is either to come by bus (there are buses from nearby towns of Llanberis or from Betws-y-Coed (train station here) or park below Pen-y-Pass. I parked down here and there's a very nice trail from there, which gets you to Pen-y-Pass in about 20-25min.
Here's a map with the location:
After parking follow the road up the hill to the gate where you enter the path which leads to the Pen-Y-Pass, where both Pyg Track and Miners' Track start.
Note: If you don't find parking space at the pass, when parking on the road driving downhill be careful as when I was there every single car that parked on the left hand side (driving downhill) got parking ticket. Note the no parking signs.
Here's the start of the trail as you cross from road through the gate into the path that leads to Pen-Y-Pass:
From here on, the trail is very rocky so be careful and it gets a little bit steep at times so it's a good warm up before heading onto the Pyg track. From the gate it's about 20 minutes to Pen-Y-Pass and at least you don't have to walk alongside the roda (many people do that, I saw many people walking alongside the road which is quite busy and there is no pavement).
As you reach the pass, there is a cafe there (of course ;-) ) and like an information office.
From here, you have a choice of either following Pyg Track or Miners Track. I've chosen Pyg Track as it's more interesting, a bit more difficult, and it'll be easier to descend using Miners Track.
Here's what Pyg Track looks like most of the time (and because of that you'll fewer people on the trail and be quiter as most people go for Miners Track as it's easy, you can even take a buggy on Miners Track):
As you can see, on a fine day, there are quite a few people on the trail (but not as many as on Miners Track).
From now on, you'll be slowly ascending towards a pass between these two hills you can see on the picture above. It's quite a long trail and very rocky most of the times and not advised for people with no experience in the mountains, especially when the weather is bad.
The trail gets more steep, as shown on the picture below which shows the trail looking towards Pen-Y-Pass, and becomes more interesting to trek.
Once you get through this section, you'll get to the pass between the two mountains you saw on the earlier photo - here are their names if you really want to know: from left - Carreg Gwalch and Bwlch y Moch.
But it's all worthy as you'll get to this amazing view:
The trail doesn't get any easier, don't worry, but from now you're going to see Snowdon, which may give you some encouragement. Here's Snowdon behind me and the Pyg track to my left:
This section of the trail won't be as steep until you get to the connection between Pyg Track and Miners Track.
Here's a photo shot towards the direction where I was coming from and you can see both Pyg Track (higher) and Miners Track (lower):
In just a moment both trails will meet and from here it's only about 20 minutes climb onto the pass just below the summit.
Once you get to the pass, the rest of the trail is easy. And you're also going to meet many more people as that's where you'll meet another trail up to Snowdon - Llanberis Path: the longest but also the easiest path to the top of Snowdon.
You'll also meet the train that goes up to the top of Snowdon from LLanberis.
Now it's just a short walk to the top:
After summiting Snowdon, I decided to go down following Miners Track as it slowly descends all the way to the valley (and also to take a different route), which is more overcrowded but you still get some amazing views of the valley and surrounding mountains.
Descend from Snowdon to Pen-Y-Pass following Miners Track should take you about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Here's the view of the pass below the summit of Snowdon, on warm days or weekends it gets overcrowded:
That's Snowdon in the background behind the waterfall in the clouds.
Miners Track will lead you by the lakes, first beautiful Glaslyn (it so reminds me Czarny Staw below Rysy in Poland's Tatra mountains) and then Llyn Llydaw.
Once you get down to Llyn Llydaw lake, the path will stay almost flat most of the time and it becomes very monotonous. And in good weather even more overcrowded as it's an easy walk, although a long one, from Pen-Y-Pass (where anyone can drive up in a car or a bus).
Beautiful views will however compensate even for crowds on the trail ;-)