Panorama of Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, Wales
Panorama of Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, Wales

Snowdon via the Watkin Path

Snowdonia
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Galt y Wenallt on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesCwm Llan falls on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesY Lliwedd on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia National ParkLlyn Llydaw on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesCrib Goch on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesCrib Goch from Bwlch Ciliau on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesBwlch Main return route from Bwlch Ciliau on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesBottom of Snowdon Scree on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesViews from Bwlch Ciliau on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, WalesClogwyn Du on Snowdon via the Watkin hike in Snowdonia, Wales

Snowdon via the Watkin Path

Distance: 8.8mi
Elevation: 3,323ft
Time: 5-7h

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Avoid the crowds and head for this less used hike to the summit of Snowdon. In good weather the views from the Bwlch Ciliau down across the horseshoe are phenomenal. Often quoted as the most scenic route up Snowdon, the Watkin Path will leave you feeling smug when you meet the masses at the summit.

Snowdon via the Watkin Path hike Map

Getting there

Heading south on the A498 towards Beddgelert, car park is approximately 9.9mi south of Capel Curig and 1.9mi north of Beddgelert. Parking costs £4 for anything over 4 hours.

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About

When to do

April - October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

At trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Lollipop


Snowdon via the Watkin Path
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Snowdon via the Watkin Path

From the car park, cross the main road and turn left to follow the pavement a short distance alongside the road to meet the bottom of the Watkin Path. As the first official footpath in Great Britain, then Prime Minister William Gladstone opened the Watkin Path in 1892. Created by Sir Edward Watkin from an existing quarry path, the route was designed to allow walkers to reach the summit.

Follow the track up through the woodland, crossing several small footbridges and through a series of gates. After approximately 2km the path opens up into the valley of Cwm Llan and sweeps around the raging waterfalls of Afon Cwm Llan.

Soon the path passes the Gladstone Rock, which commemorates the opening of the track. The path now begins to climb more steeply up the southern slopes of Y Lliwedd. A further 0.9mi the path joins Bwlch Ciliau, the ridge running between the Summit of Snowdon and Y Lliwedd. Turn left here.

Follow the ridge for 0.5mi. For those with a steady stomach there are several paths shooting off to the right that allow you to peer across at the spectacular views of the Crib Goch and Garnedd Ugain ridges, Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn Lakes and the tourist ridden Pyg and Miners Tracks.

After this fairly flat section you will come to the Bwlch y Saethau. This next section is often considered the most challenging of the Watkin Path. The steep climb and loose scree make this difficult, however, there are larger boulders to cling on to and you will shortly meet the Bwlch Main ridge. Turn right and complete the short final push to the summit. The official trig point can be found at the top of the steps at the back of the Hafod Eryri café.

When ready to return, retrace your steps down to the Rhyd Ddu Path. At the junction continue ahead following the waymarked Rhyd Ddu Path along the south ridge. After 1.2mi and a steep descent off the ridge line, the path swings to the left and then continues to drop off towards the Watkin Path. Continuing ahead for a further 0.6mi, the path turns sharply left before rejoining to Watkin Path just above the waterfalls of Afon Cwm Llan.

Turn right and retrace your steps via the first section of the Watkin Path completed earlier in the day at the start of your hike.

Want to find more amazing walks in Snowdonia? Check out the Pyg Track to Snowdon, Llyn Ogwen or the Moel Siabod walks.

Insider Hints

  • Take lunch and enjoy on the slopes away from the summit for a more authentic experience away from the crowds.

  • If possible, wait for a clear day and head out early (if possible, avoid school holidays!).

  • Mallory’s at the Pen-y-Pass is a good spot for a celebratory drink!

  • If you're up for a bigger challenge, Watkin Path is one of The Rock triathlon.

Comments

Alex Stark 12 months ago

fell in love with the scenic route, words would never be enough to describe the beauty of this trail.

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Melissa Schott 1 year ago

Magnificent hike! The view of the waterfalls and ridges were awesome. Make sure to bring enough water, because this hike will make you thirsty!

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Kantinka B. 2 years ago

Tough but fun trail with breathtaking surrounding all around, good increments of elevations gain.

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Isaac Hermit 2 years ago

This trail might require certain type of fitness. If you decide to hike, take a good rest beforehand.

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Lalo Bose 2 years ago

Trail was very steep and there is some loose scree on the way to the top. Better equip yourself with some hiking poles and wear good shoes that can survive this strenuous climb.

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Gabriela Villar 2 years ago

Impressive hike. It was a nice balance between challenge and great rewards. I highly recommend this hike!

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6 Comments

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