Snowdonia National Park, Wales: Snowdon Horseshoe via Crib Goch

This 7-mile circuit in Snowdonia National Park ascends Crib Goch en route to Snowdon (the highest peak in Wales), then descends the rugged ridgeline of Y Lliwedd.
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This 7-mile circuit in Snowdonia National Park ascends Crib Goch en route to Snowdon (the highest peak in Wales), then descends the rugged ridgeline of Y Lliwedd.

With airy ridges and a knife-edge tiptoe, this 7-mile route is like an alpine fantasy come true. And if you’re a sucker for ancient mythology as well as mountain challenges, it doesn’t get any better. In Welsh, Snowdon, the highest mountain in the country, is called Yr Wyddfa: “the burial place.” According to legend, King Arthur and his knights fought their last battle on Snowdon’s slopes and were entombed there.
Begin from the Pen y Pass trailhead and follow the broad Pyg Track toward Snowdon, but take the first major fork to the right, at a stile where a fence crosses the main trail. Follow the steep track up and right, onto the black buttress overhead, then scramble up the hard black rock on solid handholds. Top out on the east end of the Crib Goch ridge, make your way along the arête, clamber over the airy Pinnacles, and cross the second knife-edge ridge of Crib y Ddysgl. The ridge broadens until you reach Snowdon’s 3,560-foot summit, which has head-spinning 360 views, but can feel a bit anticlimactic because of a tourist train that delivers the only crowds you’ll see on this route.
From the peak, drop southwest for several hundred yards, then find a faint path that cuts across the south face of Snowdon to Bwlch y Saetheau (Pass of the Arrows) where—according to legend—Arthur made his last stand. Climb on good trail across the summit of Y Lliwedd, and follow the ridge until you see a path that turns left and descends to the lake of Llyn Llydaw. There, you’ll intersect the Miner’s Track and follow it back to Pen Y Pass to close the loop.
Warning: While in nonwinter conditions this hike requires no technical gear, you need solid scrambling skills and comfort with serious exposure.
-Mapped by Steve Howe

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 11.4

Waypoints

SCG001

Location: 53.080389, -4.021463

The route starts from the parking area at Pen-y-Pass trailhead. Follow the main "Pyg Track" west.

SCG002

Location: 53.07697, -4.041665

The saddle at the end of the ridge overlooks Llyn Llydaw. Turn right/west and climb the scrambly trail to the base of Crib Goch's black buttress above.

SCG003

Location: 53.076711, -4.049948

Begin steep, class III scrambling (good holds and solid rock).

SCG004

Location: 53.076793, -4.053354

Crib Goch "The Red Comb." Continue along the sharp ridgeline using holds just left/west of the crest.

SCG005

Location: 53.075784, -4.056991

Traverse the Pinnacles, then descend to a saddle. Scramble up cliff steps to the ragged crest of the ridge.

SCG006

Location: 53.07594, -4.064708

Crib y Ddysgl (Rake of the Dish). Follow its grassy knife-edge trail to Garnedd Ugain.

SCG007

Location: 53.07581, -4.07463

Crest Garnedd Ugain, a 3,494-foot peak marked with a concrete pylon.

SCG008

Location: 53.068323, -4.076357

Crest the summit of Snowdon, the tallest peak in Wales.

SCG009

Location: 53.066853, -4.074404

Trail traverses across face. Turn left/east and follow it to Pass of the Arrows.

SCG010

Location: 53.062347, -4.061551

Pass of the Arrows. Climb a zigzagging trail up the ridge and over the ridgeline summit of Y Lliwedd.

SCG011

Location: 53.058768, -4.055371

The trail traverses the summit of Y Lliwedd "pronounced "ee-CLEW-with").

SCG012

Location: 53.061657, -4.045029

Path turns left/north and descends steeply off the ridgeline.

SCG013

Location: 53.070644, -4.039139

Junction: Intersect Miner's Track. Turn right/east and leave Llyn (Lake) Llydaw. Follow trail back to Pen-Y-Pass trailhead.

SCG014

Location: 53.080176, -4.020873

The route ends at Pen-y-Pass parking lot.