Rhyd Ddu Path Snowdon
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A Quick Guide to the Rhyd Ddu Path

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Snowdon gets some bad press about the number of people who choose to walk to the summit each year. You often hear horror stories of gridlocked car parks and summit queues. But this is still one of the most stunning mountains in the UK and you shouldn’t be put off. If you’re looking for a quieter route to the top of the highest mountain in Wales, the Rhyd Ddu Path could be the one for you.

DISTANCE

11 km return

ESTIMATED TIME

4-5 hrs

ELEVATION GAIN

891 m

DIFFICULTY

Hard

There are several routes to the top of Snowdon. From the ‘easier’ walk up the Llanberis Path to the challenging scramble over Crib Goch, there’s an option to suit most people. However, the Rhyd Ddu path isn’t one that gets mentioned too often.

Usually, when a route up to a summit isn’t talked about much it’s because that route isn’t particularly exciting or it doesn’t offer great views. But having walked up the Rhyd Ddu path twice in the last couple of years – once in summer and once in winter – I can testify that this is a stunning route with incredible views and plenty to keep you motivated.

Why Walk the Rhyd Ddu Path

The first time that I walked up the Rhyd Ddu path was on a warm, clear Saturday in May; usually the kind of day that sees lots of boots making their way to the summit of Snowdon. I was surprised to find an empty car park when I arrived, and even more surprised when it took over an hour of walking before I saw another person out walking on a beautiful morning.

Once I reached the point at which the Rhyd Ddu path meets other routes to the summit, I started to see more and more people. And, as you’d expect, there were a fair few people congregating around the summit.

For three-quarters of this walk up to the summit, however, I had the route almost to myself. And if you’re looking for a walk to the top of Snowdon and don’t want to see dozens of other walkers doing the same, the Rhyd Ddu path might just be for you.

Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon

The Route

The walk begins at the Rhyd Ddu station where there is a decent-sized car park (more details on parking below). Crossing over the railway line, the route heads directly towards the summit, offering great views of where you’re about to go, on clear days. The walk is relatively gentle to begin with but soon gets steeper and gains elevation rapidly.

You are rewarded for your efforts fairly early on during this walk. As the Rhyd Ddu path rises to meet the Llechog ridge you are met with incredible views.

The ridge walk isn’t quite as nerve-wracking as the Crib Goch scramble, but it’s still an incredible route with steep sides and a moderate level of exposure. No matter what level of experience you have in walking these kinds of mountain routes, this section of the ridge is a highly enjoyable place to be walking. and the fact that you’re likely to have the place to yourself only adds to that sense of adventure.

Finally, the route reaches the saddle where it converges with the Watkin Path for the final ascent to the summit, where you’re likely to see lots of other walkers arriving from the various paths on the other side of the mountain.

Returning back to the car park, you can either retrace your steps and head back down the Rhyd Ddu path or you can make a circular route of it by following the Snowdon Ranger path back down.

OS Maps Route

Rhyd Ddu Parking

Parking for the Rhyd Ddu path is at the station and is £6 for the day.

Use postcode – LL54 6TN

Facilities

There are toilet facilities at the Rhyd Ddu station car park and depending on the time of year, the summit visitor centre may be open too, with toilets, refreshments and even souvenirs.

To check the summit visitor centre opening dates and times, visit the Snowdon Railway website.

Rhyd Ddu FAQs

Rhyd Ddu Path up Snowdon

How Difficult is the Rhyd Ddu Path?

The Rhyd Ddu path is a relatively easy route if the weather is good and you have a good level of fitness. However, this is a proper mountain route and the weather can change quickly and visibility can be poor.

There are several steep, exposed sections that would be a real challenge in winter conditions, so do not attempt this in the winter months unless you are confident in your own abilities and experience level or have a qualified guide with you.

How Long is the Rhyd Ddu Path?

The circular route is around 7.5 miles and, depending on your fitness levels, will take around 5 hours to complete. However, I always allow much longer so that I can sit and enjoy the views and take plenty of photos.

Is the Rhyd Ddu Path Signposted?

The path is waymarked and is easy to follow in good weather conditions. However, the weather can change quickly in the mountains and visibility can decrease in seconds, so a map or GPS device is advisable for any walk like this.

Essentials

Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa OS Map

OS Explorer Active Maps: 

  • 1:25 000 scale (4 cm to 1 km – 2½ inches to 1 mile). 
  • Laminated with a weatherproof finish, also suitable for dry-wipe pens.  
  • Free digital download included. 
  • Includes roads, rights of way, permissive paths and bridleways, plus essential visitor information. 

Make it a Weekend Adventure

If you’re looking to make a weekend of it, the Snowdon Ranger YHA hostel is conveniently placed at the end of this circular route. Here you can stay in a private room, a shared room, or even book the whole place. There are plenty of facilities here, including a self-catering kitchen, free parking and a bike store.

The hostel also has great views up to Snowdon and is located right next to the lake – pretty convenient if you fancy a post-hike wild swim.

If hostels aren’t your thing or if you’re looking for a hotel to base yourself at for a few days, Snowdonia has plenty of great options with accommodation to suit all budgets.

Booking.com

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