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near Nant Gwynant, Wales (United Kingdom)
This roundtrip takes you up to Snowdon summit via Watkin Path, down via Miner’s track to Pen-y-pass, and then back to the Watkin trailhead via public footpaths and a farm trail through the Afon Gwynant valley. The hike was impressive despite the grey weather, hard wind and rain on the day I did this track. On a sunny day, the views must be great. The Watkin path and Miner’s track are clearly indicated and partly paved with stones. The return from Pen-y-pass is clearly less-trodden, on smaller tracks, and can be muddy and boggy in places. I did the ascent early, and did not see a soul, but on the way down it became quite busy with people climbing Snowdon, despite the bad weather. On the return path from Pen-y-Pass I only saw 2 other hikers. You can find something to eat and drink at Snowdon Mountain Railway Summit station (open after the first passenger train arrives), at Pen-y-pass, and close to the start of the hike. Hiking times: Watkin path to summit 2:40; summit to Pen-y-pass 2:10; Pen-y-pass to Watkin trailhead 2:20
The hike starts on the parking near Watkin trailhead (70 m). Parking fee about 5 pounds for the day (do not forget to take coins). The trail takes you through forest and then on a broader track up past waterfalls. Then the trail flattens off a bit (260 m), passes some ruins, and then ascends further up on a smaller track towards the ridge between Afon Cwm Llan valley and Glaslyn valley. On the way you pass disused slate quarries (340 m). This ridge (740 m) was hidden in the mist on my ascent. On the ridge the trail goes up and down a bit, and then steeply ascends across a steep-sided scree-covered slope from 820 m to the Watkin – Rhyd Ddu bifurcation at about 1015 m. From there it is a short climb to the summit at 1085 m. Directly below the summit is the Snowdon Mountain Railway Summit Station where I saw the first train arrive. From there you walk down in the direction of Llanberis and turn right after about 500 m at the bifurcation with Miners Track/Pyg Track (1000 m). Descending you have a good view of Glaslyn lake and Llyn Lydaw Reservoir further below. You descend until the bifurcation of Pyg Track and Miners Track where you turn right on Miners Track (760 m). You descend to Glaslyn lake (608 m) and follow the shore on a broader track, and then descend parallel to Afon Glaslyn to the reservoir (435 m), passing ruins of a large building. You cross the reservoir on a causeway and then further descend to Pen-y-pass (359 m). Here you take the public footpath down the valley and keep right to Nant Gwynant. You cross a bridge (see waypoint), and then cross a boggy section towards the hydropower plant (102 m). Here you take another footpath parallel to the river towards the lake Llyn Gwynant. There is a campsite where the river flows into the lake (78 m); but you keep to the right of the river. You ascend again through the forest to about 120 m, with occasional views of the lake, and then descend towards a gravel track at the end of the footpath. Shortly after you turn left on a farm trail (not on OS survey map), cross a bridge and follow Afon Glaslyn river back to the starting point.
The trail was marked difficult not because of technical difficulty, but because of the combination of ascent and length relative to other hikes in the area. I did another circular walk on Snowdon later that week at much better weather conditions which was a bit easier, and I marked that trail average. See http://nl.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=10884062
Here the climb levels off and you walk through the valley of the Afon Cwm Llan river.
Little bridge across Afon Trawsnant river.
Causeway across the Llyn Llydaw reservoir
Ruins of a building. Off-limits.
Llwybr Fferm Farm trail not indicated on the OS map, taking you from the gravel road to the campsite along the Afon Glaslyn river to the Watkin path trailhead.
Beautiful lake directly beneath Snowdon summit
Here the Llanberis path goes straight on and the Miners Track - Pyg Track descend to the right.
Llyn Llydaw reservoir feeds a pipe line going to a power station down in the Gwynant valley, which you will see later during the hike.
Here the Pig Track goes straight on and the Miners Track descends to the right.
Pen Y Pass is a pass on the Llanberis to Betws-Y-Coed road. It is a very popular and expensive parking spot and starting point for climbing Snowdon. There is a café and a hostel-restaurant at the pass.
Here the pipeline from Llyn Llydaw reservoir ends at a power station.
This footpath takes you from the bridge at the campsite near Llyn Gwynant lake past the lake and a small pass to a gravel road near Afon Glaslyn river.
This footpath takes you from the power plant to a bridge across the Afon Glaslyn at the campsite near Llyn Gwynant. There was a dead decomposed sheep next to the track, an indication that not much people use this path.
Here the footpath starts down from Pen-y-pass to the power station.
Here the Rhyd-Ddu path comes from the left and you go right to go to Snowdon summit.
Disused slate quarries and heaps of slate waste.
Here the Snowdon Mountain Railway Summit Station is. See http://www.snowdonrailway.co.uk/ for more information. A bar-restaurant opens after the first passenger train arrives ~10:00. Before the first passenger train there are other trains carrying e.g. staff.
Snowdon summit with a panoramic table at 1085 m. I did not see a thing due to a heavy fog and rain. Later that week my luck changed and I had excellent visibility. See other track on Wikiloc (http://nl.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=10884062)
This is the trailhead for the Watkin path.