Start/ finish: Llanberis or Nant Peris
Total Distance: 57km
Total ascent: 4445m
Time: 4 days (allowing time for travel)
Maps: OS Explorer OL17 (1:25k)
Llanberis and Nant Peris have controlled parking, so street parking isn’t advised. 4-day parking is possible at the following places, but you must pre-arrange:
The Heights, Llanberis Available by arrangement for patrons.
Vaynol Arms, Nant Peris Available by arrangement.
Ty Isaf Campsite and Bunkhouse provides parking by arrangement – £6 per 24 hours.
To Llanberis will take a little arranging, depending on where you are travelling from. Bangor is likely to be the best hub to head for. Then it’s a 1–hour bus ride to Llanberis.
To avoid the road walk between Nant Peris and Llanberis the S2 Sherpa Bus service runs a variable service.
For travel timetables and planning see traveline.cymru
Night 1 – Rhyd Ddu
Cwellyn Arms. Dogs allowed. Packed lunches available. Range of accommodation, including B&B, self-catering farmhouse, bunkhouse, camping and glamping. Check for seasonal minimum stays.
Ty Mawr B&B Tea Rooms and B&B.
Night 2 – Beddgelert
Tanronnen Inn Packed lunches available. Open year-round (be aware that some businesses in Beddgelert are shut during the winter months). Dogs not allowed. Comfortable rooms with a hearty breakfast, including single night stays.
Plas Tan y Graig B&B Beddgelert has a choice of other accommodation. Our favourite of the B&Bs is the smart and super friendly Plas Tan y Graig, with views over the river and to Moel Hebog.
There’s a great village shop in Beddgelert too
Night 3 – Pen-y-Gwyrd
Pen-y-Gwyrd Hotel (01286 870211 - bookings by phone only) 3- or 5-course dinner announced with a gong. Dog friendly. Packed lunches available. Sauna. B&B or dinner B&B
YHA Pen-y-Pass private rooms and dorms, with a bar and restaurant.
Night 4 – Llanberis
The Heights bunkhouse Dog friendly. Large car park for ‘Peak to Pubbers’ by arrangement (for more parking options see right). Bunkhouse with dorm rooms
Ty Isaf budget camping and bunkhouse also provides 4-day parking by arrangement.
DAY 1 ROUTE: THE BIG DIPPER
A high-level walk starting in the town of Llanberis, taking in three great mountains, a rolling ridge known as ‘The Big Dipper’, shimmering llyns and spooky abandoned slate mines.
Start/ finish: Llanberis – Rhyd ddu
Technicality: Easy high-level walking
Terrain: Mostly grassy slopes and paths, some boggy ground, crosses disused slate quarry
Navigation: Usual mountain navigational skills required, follows paths on the ground
DAY 2: RIDGES AND VOLCANOES
It’s a dramatic mountain day, filled with iconic peaks, far-reaching views over land and sea – and no people!
Start/ finish: Rhyd ddu - Beddgelert
Distance 12km: (17km with optional extra on Nantlle Ridge)
Ascent: 937m (1683m with optional extra)
Technicality: A good workout, but all straightforward, bar a couple of rocky sections off the top of Moel yr Ogof, and the steep, rocky Moel Hebog descent
Optional extra: The rocky crest on Nantlle Ridge requires some easy scrambling moves
Terrain: Forest path, grassy ridges, rocky sections, may be boggy in the col between Moel yr Ogof and Hebog
Navigation: Care required finding the path (not on map) up Moel Lefn, faint paths across the ridge of Moel Lefn and Moel yr Ogof (not on the map) – care required to avoid cliffs in poor vis
DAY 3: THE ROOF OF WALES
Exposure on Snowdon’s south ridge + thrilling scrambles + fairy pools in the forest + one of the most iconic mountaineering pubs in the world = one epic North Wales day.
Start/ finish: Beddgelert – Pen-y-gwyrd Hotel
Technicality: South Ridge is rough walking at most, Y Lliwedd offers easy scrambling, which is never really exposed
Terrain: Forest paths, grassy hillside, easy narrow ridge and rocky scrambling (avoid by
Pyg Track descent)
Navigation: All well walked paths, usual mountain navigation required
DAY 4: SHATTERED SUMMITS
Like nowhere else on Earth, the Glyders complete the 4-day circuit on a high, with rocky formations, unstable scree slopes and a quiet llyn-side lunch.
Start/ finish: Pen-y-gwyrd Hotel - Llanberis
Distance: 14km (20km with optional extra up Y Garn)
Ascent: 926m (1174m with optional extra)
Technicality: Rough mountain walking, nothing technical
Terrain: Rough and rocky mountain terrain, slidey descent in steep scree off Gylder Fawr
Navigation: Paths indistinct at top of Miner’s Track and around Glyder Fach, map and compass essential in poor visibility
*Adapted from the Spring 2020 issue of Trail magazine.