Watkin Path Route Guide to Snowdon Summit

The Watkin Path up Snowdon is one of the hardest routes to take to get to the summit of Wales’ highest mountain. The path was created by Edward Watkin as a means to get from the South Snowdon Slate Quarry to the summit and was opened officially by Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1892.

The Watkin Path route

  1. Parking for the Watkin Path is in the car park at Pont Bethania (post code LL55 4NR).
  2. Leave the car park in the direction of the ticket machine and cross the road. The start of the Watkin Path is up some stone steps to the left of the National Trust farm, Hafod y Llan. The path is signed and you climb the stone steps, go through a gate and into the woods shortly getting to 2 large metal gates.
  3. Having gone through the gates, you will eventually get to open fields and when the path bends in front of you, you will see Cwm Llan. This path was the set for the Kyber Pass in the film, Carry On Up the Kyber.
  4. You will now get to a wooden gate where you see incredible waterfalls to your right. It is well worth diverting off your walk enjoy the view here.
  5. As you continue along the path, it will eventually fork and you will need to take the right hand fork.
  6. Carrying on up the path you will get to Gladstone Rock. It was here that Prime Minister William Gladstone opened the Watkin Path in 1892 as the first designated footpath in Britain.
  7. As you continue along the path, you will pass a long ruined building on your left where the path rises steeply to the right heading towards Bwlch Ciliau.
  8. It is here that you will need to follow the path to the left and continue on up until you reach Bwlch y Saethau.
  9. Continue along Bwlch y Saethau and you will see a standing stone which signifies that the most difficult part of the walk is about to begin. Taking great care, ascend the scree until you reach another standing stone which is where Watkin Path meets the Rhyd Ddu path.
  10. From this standing stone at Bwlch Main, turn right and follow the path up to the summit of Snowdon.

How long does it take to walk the Watkin path to Snowdon summit?

You can expect to complete a route up and down Snowdon along the Watkin Path in between 5-7 hours. Bear in mind though that parts of this route are very dangerous and require caution so additional time should be taken into consideration.

How far is the Watkin path?

The total distance walked up and down the Watkin Path is roughly 8 miles however, it is a large ascent of over 1,000 meters.

How difficult is the Watkin Path?

The Watkin Path is one of the more difficult routes up Snowdon. You should only attempt this route if you have the correct equipment and are an experienced walker. Although the path starts off moderately sedately, towards the end of the walk, steep scree makes it a difficult (and exciting) ascent. If you’re planning on descending the same route, this steep scree can be navigated relatively quickly if you’re careful otherwise if you’re not careful, the scree will be descended much quicker.