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