Snowdon Horseshoe hike
This ridge hike is not for inexperienced hill walkers or those afraid of heights. Crib Goch is a phenomenal ridgeline - one of the best in Wales - but, it should not be underestimated. Be prepared, and avoid it in high winds and wintery conditions unless well equipped. Having said that, it is exceptional!
From Capel Curig head southwest on the A498, turning right onto the A4086. Parking, toilets and refreshments are available at the Pen-y-Pass car park, situated on the A4086 just a short distance from the junction.
|When to do|
April - September
Route Description for Snowdon Horseshoe
Cross the Pen y Pass car park to the left of the main café to find the start of the Pyg track. It is clearly marked with a sign at the trailhead. The path is well defined and easy to follow. After 0.9mi, follow the path marked for Crib Goch that leaves the Pyg track to the right. Crib Goch translates as red ridge and in the right conditions you will see where is gets its name.
The path up to Crib Goch is obvious to begin with but it soon becomes necessary to pick your own route as the path is less defined. Early on, advice tends to suggest a line slightly to the left is easier and as you near the summit of the ridge a line slightly to the right. Once on the ridge you will have views across to Snowdon, Lliwedd and down to the reservoir below.
Follow the ridge line to reach Bwlch Goch. This is easy to follow when the visibility is good as you stick to the ridgeline. The steepest drop is to your right, so stick to the left and use the higher rocks for support if you are feeling anxious. From Bwlch Goch, continue along the ridgeline to Crib y Ddysgi. There are arrows in places where the path disappears to provide some direction. At the summit, Crib y Ddysgi, there is a trig point signifying the second highest mountain in Snowdonia.
Heading southeasterly off Crib y Ddysgi, the route soon joins the Llanberis path. Turn left and follow the path up to the summit of Snowdon. Snowdon summit is somewhat unusual-café, train station and hordes of people.
After a short pit stop, head in a southwesterly direction to drop off the summit. This path is part of the Watkin and Rhyd Ddu paths. After 100m, at a standing stone, turn left and descend the ‘Snowdon scree’, part of the Watkin Path. This section is steep and the rock is loose, so care should be taken. Soon the path levels out above Llyn Glaslyn and follows a pretty ridgeline on a well-defined track. From here, the views across the horseshoe are spectacular and it is a good place to spot the route you have followed up Crib Goch.
The Watkin Path drops off to the right. Continue ahead to climb to the sharp peak of Lliwedd. The path disappears in places. Make your way to the summit (459ft of ascent). From the summit, follow the ridgeline over the east peak to Lliwedd Bach. Continuing on the ridgeline, the route descends gently. After 0.3mi follow the path to your left, heading down towards Llyn Llydaw (lake!) below.
Follow this path to join the Miner’s Track, turning left to return to the Pen y Pass car park.
Crib Goch is a knife-edge ridge; sensational but not for those with a fear of heights.
Best in good weather, the views make this special, so wait for a decent day and opt for a low-level hike when visibility is poor.
Mallory’s at the Pen-y-Pass is a good spot for a reflection and refuel after your day.
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