Snowdon Ranger Path
This path up Snowdon is thought to be the earliest of the six main routes to the summit. Before the road through Llanberis Pass was built, men lugged copper ore from the Britannia Copper Mine on Snowdon up the eastern side of the mountain to Bwlch Glas.
Horses would then draw the ore down on a sledge along this path to the shores of Llyn Cwellyn to be transported by horse and cart to Caernarfon.
The path was named in English after a mountain guide called John Morton who called himself the ‘Snowdon Ranger’. At the beginning of the nineteenth century he built an inn on the site where the Youth Hostel stands today, opposite the car park. The inn was known as the ‘Snowdon Ranger’, ‘Snowdon Inn’ or ‘Glanllyn’ (meaning ‘lakeside’), from where he would guide visitors to the summit of Snowdon along this path.
The path climbs gradually up to, and around the slopes of Moel Cynghorion to Bwlch Cwm Brwynog. It then climbs steeply over the shoulder above Clogwyn Du’r Arddu before merging with the Llanberis path, and then the Pyg and Miners’ tracks at Bwlch Glas, and then on to the summit.
1. Across the road and to the right of the car park entrance you will see a standing stone and a bridleway sign. Follow the sign that directs you along the path to the right of the entrance to Cae’r Orsaf. Follow the fenced path to the gate and turn right over the train tracks, through a gate beside the cattle grid and continue towards Llwyn Onn farmhouse.
When you reach Llwyn Onn farmhouse, you will see an old waterwheel on the gable end of the house. The wheel was driven by water from a small reservoir to grind corn and cut gorse to feed the farm’s working horse.
2. Once you pass the farmhouse the path will fork. Go to the right and through the gate. You will shortly reach another gate, after which the path will zigzag up the mountain pasture. Please keep to the path and don’t take shortcuts – the public right of way is along the path only.
As you climb, there are fantastic views down towards Llyn Cwellyn and the slopes of Mynydd Mawr rising from its shores. The prominent rock on the right at the far end of the lake is Castell Cidwm (meaning Cidwm’s Castle), and it is said that Cidwm was a giant who lived in a cave in the rock.
3. At the top of the zig-zag section you will go through a gate. On your left are Moel Goch and Moel Cynghorion, with the pass of Bwlch Maesgwm in between. A public footpath runs from here to Bwlch Maesgwm, and on to Llanberis.
4. In a while you will go through another gate near a fast flowing stream. From the gate the path will veer to the left around the lower slopes of Moel Cynghorion. From this spot another public footpath leads to Bwlch Maesgwm and on to Llanberis.
Maen Bras will shortly come into sight on the right ahead of you. This huge boulder is known locally as Maen Camp - 'the boulder of feat' because climbing up this boulder is not an easy task!
As you get closer to Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas lake will come into sight on your right. The name means ‘the lake of the servant’s spring’, and it is thought that it was named after a shepherd who drowned in its waters while washing his master’s sheep. The remains of an old stone sheepfold can be seen on the northern end of the lake – perhaps proof that there is truth behind the story…
5. After walking around the northern end of Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas you will arrive at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog.
6. From Bwlch Cwm Brwynog the path climbs very steep and loose underfoot nearly all the way to the summit, so take care from now on. After walking parallel with Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas for a while the path will start to zigzag steeply up the shoulder above Clogwyn Du’r Arddu.
As you climb the shoulder of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu you will see a fantastic view of the Llechog ridge and Cwm Clogwyn with its three small lakes – Llyn Glas, Llyn Coch and Llyn Nadroedd. (Blue Lake, Red Lake and Snakes’ Lake).
To the right, the valley extends down towards Llyn y Gadair and Llyn Cwellyn, and between the two lakes is the pass of Dyffryn Nantlle. On the horizon, from left to right are the summits of Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof, Moel Lefn, Mynydd Drws y Coed and Y Garn, with the Beddgelert forest covering the lower slopes.
Over to your left there is a striking view down towards Cwm Brwynog with the Llanberis Path and Snowdon Mountain Railway on the other side of the valley. At the far end of the valley you can see the village of Llanberis on the shore of Llyn Padarn, with the slate heap of the old Dinorwig slate quarry on the other side on the slopes of Elidir fawr.
7. Above Clogwyn Du’r Arddu the climb levels out a little not very well defined so take care on this section, especially in misty or wintry weather. The path will begin to climb again shortly, but more solid underfoot. In a while you will reach a standing stone that marks the crossing of the Snowdon Railway line (remember about it on your way down – especially if it’s misty as the start of the path can be very difficult to locate otherwise).
8. From the standing stone, cross the Snowdon Mountain Railway line and walk straight ahead until you reach another standing stone that marks the junction of the Snowdon Ranger path and the Llanberis path.
You have just crossed the railway track of the Snowdon Mountain Railway which has been carrying visitors to the summit since 1896 on the only public rack and pinion railway in the UK.
9. Follow the path to the right and after walking around 50 metres you will reach another, much larger, standing stone at Bwlch Glas. This stone marks the spot where the Pyg and Miners’ tracks merge with the Llanberis and Snowdon Ranger paths. From the standing stone, walk straight ahead - by walking at a leisurely pace, you can expect to reach the summit in around a quarter of an hour.
From the summit on a clear day you will be rewarded with fantastic views - 18 lakes and 14 peaks over 914 metres (3000ft) can be seen. Sometimes, you can even see as far as Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Lake District.
Please read our Mountain Safety Advice before venturing out on the mountain.
Though you are in the Snowdonia National Park, please remember that the path crosses the privately owned farm and grazing lands of Llwyn Onn, Bronfedw Isaf, Bronfedw Uchaf and Clogwyn y Gwin, where dogs are not welcomed unless under close control or on a lead.
On your way to the summit you will see evidence of essential footpath restoration work carried out by the National Park Authority. Please keep to the footpath to prevent further erosion.