Climb Snowdon – Pyg Track and Miners Track
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31st May 2018
The Pyg Track is a classic hillwalking route to the summit of Snowdon in Snowdonia. Short, scenic, steeped in history and with a tough final ascent. The Pyg Track is the shortest route to the top of Snowdon with the least amount of vertical ascent (but still a tough walk). The Pyg Track is simple to follow and well maintained making this a good route for less experienced hillwalkers. The scenery on the Pyg Track is possibly the best of any of the other routes, rivalled only by the Watkin Path. The Miners Track gives you a slightly different descent as well and takes you down to the impressive Snowdon lakes.
The Pyg Track, Snowdon
The immense and grand cliffs of Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd loom either side of the Pyg Track as you carve your way towards the vast Snowdon pyramid via the imposing lakes of Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn. A final steep zigzagging ascent takes you to the top of the Pyg Track where the route then joins the main Llanberis Path at the ‘finger stone’for the final few hundred metres to the top of Snowdon.
Pyg Track & Miners Track Summary
Difficulty: Moderate/Tough – requires a good level of fitness
Distance: 7.3 miles
Ascent: 750 metres
Duration: Average 5 to 7 hours
Start Location: Pen-y-pass Car Park SH 647 555
Parking: Pen-y-Pass Car Park, postcode LL55 4NU or in Llanberis (bus)
Map: OS OL17 Explorer 1:25K
OS Map Link: View Map
Why is it called the Pyg Track?
“Nobody knows for certain why this path is called the Pyg Track. It’s possible that it was named after the pass it leads through, Bwlch y Moch (translated Pigs’ Pass) as the path is sometimes spelled ‘Pig Track’. Or, maybe because it was used to carry ‘pyg‘ (black tar) to the copper mines on Snowdon. Another possible explanation is that the path was named after the nearby Pen y Gwryd Hotel, popular amongst the early mountain walkers.” Snowdonia National Park Authority.
Ascent – Climbing Snowdon via the Pyg Track
Car parking is available at Pen-y-pass but this can fill up quickly, often by 7am, especially at weekends. We highly recommend parking in Llanberis and taking the Sherpa bus from the village to Pen-y-pass which costs around £1.00 and takes just 15-minutes.
The Pyg Track starts behind the café heading west. You will walk past a wooden post with a blue ‘Pyg Track’ sign as well as a stone marker indicating you are on the correct route. The path runs alongside Carreg Gwalch heading west directly towards the dominating East Ridge of Crib Goch (this is a tough grade 1 scramble). After 1.5km (1 mile) the path splits below Crib Goch (SH 633 552). Ensure you stay on the Pyg Track route and do not take the stile leading to Crib Goch (this is very well marked).
The Pyg Track runs east for the next 2km with the ridge of Crib Goch high above and Llyn Llydaw 200m below. It’s also at this point that the summit of Snowdon can be clearly seen straight ahead (if the weather allows). The route takes you directly through the basin of the Snowdon Horseshoe making for fantastic views of Crib Goch, Y Lliwedd and Crib y Ddysgl (Garnedd Ugain).
The route continues along the Pyg Track through the Cwm with a few easy rocky sections which shouldn’t cause you any difficulties. You will soon leave Llyn Llydaw behind you and reach the smaller lake of Glaslyn directly under the summit pyramid. The path will arrive at a standing stone marker (SH 615 548) which indicated the split leading down to the Miners Track.
Continue along the Pyg Track which soon becomes more rugged and steep! The final sections follow a zigzag route steeply up the mountain with Garnedd Ugain on your right. This section of the route can be challenging in terms of ascent compared to the last few sections so take is slow and save your energy.
The path will emerge at the top and join the main Llanberis Path running alongside the Snowdon Mountain Railway. The path will also be marked with another large standing stone (SH 607 549) known as the finger stone. This section of the mountain can be busy as the Pyg Track, Miners, Ranger and Crib Goch/Garnedd Ugain routes all intersect for the last few hundred metres to the summit of Snowdon.
Follow the path heading south alongside the railway for the last gradual ascent to the summit. The path will meet a set of steps which will take you to the Snowdon summit marker. Congratulations!
Descent – Pyg Track & Miner’s Track
The descent for this guide takes you back to Pen-y-pass via the Miners Track. You can always head down to Llanberis is you took the bus from the village as the main Llanberis Path will take you directly in to the village and will save you getting the bus back from Pen-y-pass.
Leaving the summit of Snowdon head along the railway for 300m until you reach the large standing market stone indicating a right turn down to the Pyg Track/Miners Track. Keep an eye out for this marker and as it is often missed when visibility is poor and walkers follow the crowds heading down to Llanberis.
Turning right at the marker stone the Pyg Track steeply ascends down the zigzag path towards Glaslyn.
As you get around halfway alongside Glaslyn the path will split and marked with a large stone. Take the right-hand path leading you down a steep scree slope (take care) reaching the edge of the lake (leaving the Pyg Track). The Miners Path runs around the edge of the Llyn Llydaw and then past some disused mining works.
At the edge of the lake the newly refurbished path (SH 628 545) hugs the shore and meanders around the lake and over the walkway crossing the lake. The route gradual descends and after 1km you will reach the small lake of Llyn Teyrn.
The final 1.5km to the car park at Pen-y-pass is an easy stroll with impressive views of Y Lliwedd behind and the southern slopes of the Glyderau mountains directly ahead.
Are you new to hillwalking?
If you are new to hillwalking and not sure where to get started then why not join one of our Snowdon guided walks. We run a Snowdon guided walk every month in the daytime or why not challenge yourself on our Snowdon Moonlight Walk.
Or, if you want to walk on your own but lack the skills and confidence then our Mountain Skills Courses are ideal and a great way to get started.