Heading to Snowdonia for the first time and not sure which hike to pick? Don’t worry, in this post, I’ll share with you the route of the best first-timer’s hike in Snowdonia for going up Mount Snowdon. This post will include two routes – a very challenging 25km route that we took (that started in Llanberis) and a much easier version for those who don’t want to push themselves to the limit.
Here’s what you can expect to find in this post:
Without further ado, let’s get started
Frequently asked questions about hiking in Snowdonia for the first time
How to get to Snowdonia? Do you need a car to hike in Snowdonia?
Alright, let’s start with some frequently asked questions – how to get to Snowdonia and whether you need a car in Snowdonia. Well, if you just want to get to Snowdonia, go on one hike and move on to a different location, then you don’t need a car. In case you’re going to Snowdonia for longer (e.g. at least a couple of days), and you want to discover multiple destinations as well as go on various hikes, then having a car will be essential.
You can get to Snowdonia using public transport (e.g. trains and buses or coaches). The hike in this post starts from Llanberis. Unfortunately, there is no train station in Llanberis or most places in Snowdonia. However, you can get there by taking a train to Conwy or Bangor and taking a direct bus from Conwy to Llanberis (you can check the schedule here).
You can learn more about getting to Snowdonia by public transport here.
Exploring Snowdonia by car
It is, however, much more convenient to get to Snowdonia by car – in this case, you can extend your trip and visit some of the most beautiful castles in Wales located in Conwy and Caernarfon. You can read about a suggested itinerary (based on our 3-day bank holiday weekend road trip around Snowdonia) here. Before we bought our own car, we always used Rentalcars.com and Expedia – as they have fabulous affordable 3rd party car insurance (usually much cheaper than the insurance offered directly by the providers).
Where to stay in Llanberis?
Llanberis is quite a large town in Snowdonia and definitely one of the best places to stay if you want to hike Mount Snowdon. There are a few large hotels that almost always have availability, even if you were booking last moment. We stayed at a hotel called The Royal Victoria – it’s a lovely hotel that has a large parking and a hearty breakfast. Alternatively, you can also consider Padarn Hotel. Also, there is a hostel YHA Snowdon Llanberis that provides very affordable accommodation.
Is there parking in Llanberis?
If you’re wondering whether there is parking in Llanberis, then yes, there is and quite a large one. Actually, Llanberis is one of the safest bets when it comes to parking in Snowdonia. There are multiple large parking lots and parking costs from £6 to £12 for the entire day.
How early do you need to arrive to Llanberis in Snowdonia to find parking?
Last year, Snowdonia was all over the news, and it was said that all the parking lots were full by 8am on the weekends. Well, we went to Snowdonia on a bank holiday weekend, and I must admit that it was very full. The Pen Y Pass parking lot was already full by 8:30am; however, there were parking spots in Llanberis until around 10am. It always makes sense to arrive early, especially on a sunny and warm day.
Do you need special equipment to hike Mt. Snowdon?
If you’re wondering whether you need some special equipment to hike Mt. Snowdon, well, not really. However, if you decide to take the more challenging path (Rhyd Ddu), I recommend bringing sturdy hiking shoes like these ones, a waterproof jacket, waterproof backpack and maybe even some walking poles. Don’t forget to bring loads of water with you as well! E.g. THIS water bottle holds over 2.2 litres of water!
The best first-timer’s hike in Snowdonia. Hiking Snowdon (easy & difficult options)
Alright, let’s start talking about the actual hike to Snowdon, aka the best hike for Snowdonia first-timers. First, I’m going to tell you about the challenging route, the one we actually took.
The best Snowdon hike for first-timers: 25km loop from Llanberis (Difficult option)
For our hike, we downloaded the premium version of All Trails, one of the best hiking apps. The reason for downloading the premium version was the fact that there was no signal for a considerable part of the route, and we didn’t want to get stranded without directions. You can find our exact route on the All Trails app.
We started our walk in Llanberis and followed a path leading through a couple of farms and slate mines. The views were stunning and the first ascend of circa 350m wasn’t that challenging. The route was leading to Lake Cwellyn and Rhyd-Ddu.
The part of the route from Lake Cwellyn to Rhyd-Ddu was going through a road. While, luckily, there weren’t that many cars on the road, I can imagine that it could be busier as well. In Rhyd-Ddu, we found a lovely tea house (you won’t be able to miss it) and bought some fantastic scones to boost our energy levels & refilled our water bottle for free.
Rhyd-Ddu path to Snowdon
After a brief stop in Rhyd-Ddu, we took the Rhyd-Ddu path to Snowdon. This is quite a challenging path, but it has some of the most scenic views. While the ascend was definitely challenging, and we managed to consume most of our snacks before reaching the peak of Snowdon, it was very gratifying.
Here are photos of the panoramic views we have encountered on our way!
Way back to Llanberis – LLanberis path
On the way back, we took the Llanberis path and walked along the rail. As I mentioned before, there is a train that goes 2/3 of the route (and sometimes it goes all the way to the top of Snowdon), and in case you don’t feel like climbing all the way yourself, you can take that train. However, that also means that going down is a bit easier because the route isn’t so rocky, and you can follow the rail until the next train station. From there, the route becomes even easier, so all you need to do a fair bit of walking. It takes around 2-2.5 hours to reach Llanberis from the top of Mt. Snowdon.
However, at the end of the route, there is a lovely tea house that is also serving beer and amazing cider. You can make a short stop there to recharge energy and enjoy a glass of fresh cider.
The best Snowdon hike for first-timers: Our & Back route via Llanberis path (easier option)
Now, let’s talk about a much easier & faster route to Mount Snowdon via the Llanberis path.
First of all, as mentioned before, you can take a train that covers 2/3 of the route to Snowdon and just hike the remaining 1/3. On some occasions, this train also goes all the way to the summit of Mt. Snowdon, so you don’t need to hike at all. You can find the availability for the tickets here.
However, if you feel like you need a proper hike, you can just take the Llanberis path to go up and down Mount Snowdon. The distance of the entire hike is circa 14.5km and it takes around 5-6 hours to go there and back! You can find the route on All Trails or get the OS Maps of Snowdonia here.
Summary of the best hike in Snowdonia for the first-timers (loop hike and out & back hike versions)
Overall, we really enjoyed this hike (the longer version of it). Even though the hike was exhausting, the views were stunning and absolutely worth all the effort. We were lucky with the weather as it didn’t rain (even though, according to the forecast, it was supposed to rain).
If you’re not an experienced hiker, I recommend taking the easier path (out and back Llanberis path), as it’s much less steep and a much less strenuous hike. The only downside of the Llanberis path is that it’s an out and back path, which means that you will be seeing the same landscapes on the way to Snowdon and back. Overall, we really recommend staying in Llanberis and doing either of these hikes as both of them are great first timer’s hikes in Snowdonia!