Snowdon, Moel Cynghorion, and Moel Eilio

Route Summary:

This Snowdonia route ascends Snowdon via the Llechog ridge before making its way back to Llanberis via Moel Cynghorion, Foel Goch, Foel Gron, and Moel Eilio. It’s a fantastic walk and a great way to avoid the usual Snowdon crowds.

Route Information

  • Ascent: 1535m
  • Length: 13 miles
  • Area:
  • Start: 94 Maes Padarn, Llanberis, Caernarfon LL55 4TD, UK
  • Date:10-06-2018
  • GPX File: Download

Other POI: Llanberis, Cader Ellyss, Tryfan, Clogwyn Station, Cwm Glas, Clogwyn y Person Arête, Bwlch Glas, Snowdon Summit Station, Clogwyn Du'r Arddu, Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, Clogwyn Llechwedd Llo, Bwlch Carreg y Gigfran, Bwlch Maesgwm, Bwlch Cwm Cesig, Bwlch Gwyn, Bryn Mawr,

Route Description:

The route starts initially by following the Llanberis with (especially on a summers weekend) hoards of other walkers. There’s a little trick though to escape and enjoy a much quieter walk with a bit of solitude and some fantastic views. Once on the Llanberis path proper, follow until just past the large sheepfolds on the left and then head left up the slopes towards the ridge edge. There’s no path here so use your best judgement to find the best route up. Once a fence is reached, you’re on the ridge and the fence can be used as a guide pretty much all the way along to Llechog. These initial sections can be a little rough and scrappy underfoot, but it soon becomes easier walking as it progresses along.

The start of the Llanberis path
The start of the Llanberis path
Heading up to the ridge
Heading up to the ridge

The track is followed south-east over the lumps and bumps of the ridge edge. Outstanding views are all around. To the left is the Llanberis Pass and a direct view into the beautiful valley of Cwm Dudodyn that sits between Elidir Fawr and Y Garn. To the right is a view over the Snowdon mountain railway and Llanberis path down below, and across to Moel Cynghorion, Foel Goch, and Moel Eilio. And of course there’s the views along the ridge itself… south-east to Snowdon and north-west back towards Llanberis, Llyn Peris, and Llyn Padarn.

Looking back down the Llechog ridge
Looking back down the Llechog ridge
The Llanberis Pass
The Llanberis Pass

Eventually, an opportunity to cross the fence via a style presents itself and should be taken. From this point on, the route hugs the very edge of the ridge and commands some fantastic views looking down the Llanberis Pass. Eventually, the summit of Llechog is reached, and it’s also around this point that the Snowdon Mountain Railway veers away from the Llanberis path and joins the ridge edge. Therefore, the walk between Llechog and Clogwyn station runs alongside the railway track. It’s a perfect opportunity to wave at train passengers as they stare at you with a look of awe on their faces. ‘Look – a person walking to the top… and he’s not on the Llanberis path! Wooooow. That’s awesome!’. I did this route in the middle of summer on a weekend day, and can honestly say that I didn’t see a single other walker between leaving the Llanberis path at the start, and regaining it again after Llechog.

Following the Llechog ridge
Following the ridge…
Following the Llechog ridge
…and again some more
Approaching Llechog
Approaching Llechog
The view from Llechog
The view from Llechog
A train from Snowdon
A train from Snowdon
Approaching Clogwyn station
Approaching Clogwyn station

After Clogwyn Station, the route rejoins the Llanberis Path. Don’t worry though as it’s not for too long. The path heads south-east for a short distance before taking a sharp turn to the right and continuing up to Snowdon to the south-west direction. Instead of taking this turn, leave the path before it bends to the right, and continue south-east up the grassy slope until arriving at the edge of Cwm Glas (careful in poor visibility!). From here, it’s a simple case of following the edge up to the summit of Garnedd Ugain, which is the 2nd highest peak in Snowdonia. Whilst following the edge, you are treated to some great views of Cwm Glas, the Clogwyn y Person Arête, and Crib Goch. As before, it’s very likely that you’ll have a bit of solitude whilst following this edge up to the top.

The Clogwyn Y Person Arête
The Clogwyn Y Person Arête
Ascending the ridge to Garnedd Ugain
Ascending the ridge to Garnedd Ugain

Eventually, the summit of Gernedd Ugain is reached, marked by a trig pillar. Hopefully, visibility is good because the views from here are spectacular. On this particular day, the cloud was low and unfortunately not a lot was visible at all. At this point, you’re on the route of the famous Snowdon Horseshoe. This is followed south-west, eventually arriving at the point where this path, the Miners Path, the Llanberis Path, and the Snowdon Ranger Path all meet. From here there’s just a single path that follows the railway track south and up to the summit station, and this path can be very very busy!

Trig pillar on Garnedd Ugain
Trig pillar on Garnedd Ugain
Final ascent to Snowdon
Final ascent to Snowdon
Snowdon summit
Snowdon summit

After the brief time spent on the summit, depressing yourself over the sight of empty coffee cups, bottles, and cans strewn about, it’s time to move on. Backtrack as far as the junction of footpaths and veer left onto the Snowdon Ranger Path. This descends steeply westwards on a good path along the Clogwyn Du’r Arddu ridge. This section of the route has nice views down towards Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas. At the foot of the ridge, leave the Snowdon Ranger Path. Watch out for a track on the right. It’s not a problem if you miss it, just head north in a direct line up the hill, following the wall that tracks the line of Clogwyn Llechwedd Llo. This eventually leads to the summit of Moel Cynghorion – an excellent viewpoint to look back on Snowdon, Clogwyn Du’r Arddu, and also the Llanberis path.

Descending the Snowdon Ranger Path
Descending the Snowdon Ranger Path
Looking back from the slope of Moel Cynghorion
Clogwyn Du’r Arddu from the slope of Moel Cynghorion

Once at the summit, head west and gradually descend the ridge-line of Bwlch Carreg y Gigfran. Navigation is straight-forward along this section as its a simple case of sticking to the highest point of the ridge until eventually arriving at a junction of footpaths at Bwlch Maesgwm. The route continues following the ridge and the highest ground and so the next destination should be obvious. Head directly uphill north of north-west until arriving on the summit of Foel Goch. From here, continue heading north-west over Foel Gron and along the ridge until finally reaching Moel Eilio. This section of the route is fairly straight-forward walking with grassy slopes and great views along the whole stretch. There are some steep sections but they don’t take long to ascend. It’s very surprising that more walkers don’t venture this way. Once I’d left the Snowdon Ranger Path, I encountered just one walker between Moel Cynghorion and Moel Eilio. Considering that it was a summer weekend and dry, I thought that was pretty good going!

Descending down Bwlch Carreg y Gigfran
Descending down Bwlch Carreg y Gigfran
Looking towards Bwlch Maesgwm from Foel Goch
Clogwyn Du’r Arddu from Foel Goch
Looking back at Foel Goch
Looking back at Foel Goch
Looking back from Foel Gron
Looking back from Foel Gron
Heading to Moel Eilio
Heading to Moel Eilio
The wind shelter on Moel Eilio
The wind shelter on Moel Eilio

The descent initially heads north before the hillside splits into 2 ridges. One heads north and the other heads north-east. Both can be used to get back to Llanberis but the north-east route is the shorter distance. On this particular day, I continued along the north ridge until arriving at a farm track then cut back east towards Maen-llwyd-uchaf. Eventually a road is reached that heads steeply downhill back to Llanberis town.

Descending Moel Eilio
Descending Moel Eilio
A farm track - Elidir Fawr in the background
A farm track – Elidir Fawr in the background
Rainbow over Snowdon. The sun typically comes out as I'm finishing!
Rainbow over Snowdon. The sun typically comes out as I’m finishing!
Route Map
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