One of the less demanding routes to the summit of Snowdon, the Rhyd Ddu path meanders it’s way past the Lechog Ridge & Bwlch Main for some stunning views.
The Rhyd Ddu path is possibly the second easiest ascent of Snowdon with the Llanberis path being the most accessible. Situated on the southwest slopes of Wales highest mountain The Rhyd Ddu path starts from the car park of the very photogenic Rhyd Ddu train station.
Rhyd Ddu (Welsh for Black Ford) is a small village in Snowdonia and home of the Rhyd Ddu path which is the starting point for walks up Snowdon.
Situated off the A4085 road between Beddgelert and Caernarfon the Rhyd Ddu car park is medium sized and cost’s £6.00 to park for the whole day which is reasonable. Having climbed Snowdon previously from different routes i was pleasantly surprised when i arrived at this lovely location. It was very quiet given it was a Monday morning and the weather was wall to wall sunshine despite it being early April. What more could you ask for? a beautiful location and the opportunity to experience a cloud free summit.
Walk past the station so it is to your right and look for the Snowdon marker at the bottom end of the car park to the right. This will take you through a gate and across the train tracks to start your walk up to the summit of Snowdon. I found this part quite novel and stood on the tacks looking down the line whilst admiring the smallest of stations i have seen.
Once over the tracks the path is very wide and easy under foot, follow it around to the right and pass through the rusting old metal gate and keep following the path. You will meander whilst gradually gaining height until you reach the stone way marker. If you look back you might just be able to see the beautiful Llyn Cwellyn at the foot of Mynydd Mawr.
The way marker will lead you through a gate which will now take you onto uneven ground synonymous with Snowdonia’s rough terrain. The path becomes a lot smaller now and after a while it can get harsh on the feet, especially on the way back. But this is to be expected on any mountain path so make sure you have good footwear and support.
The path will lead you up through boggy ground at times and also little scrambles that do not require the use of hands. You will be gaining height all the time as you pass through Rhos Boeth making your way up to the Llechog Ridge. Make sure you make time to admire the views behind you because on a clear day they are spectacular.
Once you have made your way through Rhos Boeth you will have a steep climb to pass through a gate that will lead you on to the Llechog Ridge. The path travels very close to the edge so be careful not to edge to far to the left and especially in low cloud. By time you reach this point you will be at around 700 meters with Cwm Clogwyn below you to you left.
The path starts to gain height now as you head towards Bwlch Main by at least 150 meters, and will get your blood pumping so it may be a good time to refuel if you feel the need.
As you head past the Llechog Ridge you will come to fenced path that is falling apart and this will incline even further as you now head left above the ridge. I saw someone carrying a mountain bike up on their shoulder at this point and thought “why would you” apparently this is part of the Llanberis mountain bike route.
Once through this uphill climb you will come to Bwlch Main which is best described as exciting whilst also being a test for those with a problem with heights. This ridge line separates Cwm Clogwyn & Cwm Tregalan and you will now be at the dizzy heights of 938 metres. The path edges the Cwm Clogwyn side first but then crosses over to the Cwm Tregalan side before hitting the South Ridge.
This part of the route needs to be treated with respect and especially in poor weather or low cloud. It can get windy up there also and i have seen people in the past too close to the edge without a care in the world. I respect mountains and with that attitude it will hopefully respect me. The path winds in and out and there is a sort of ridge walk above if you like, but it is not the kind similar to Striding Edge.
Once on the Cwm Tregalan side you can actually get a good view of the Watkin Path to your right which in my opinion is the best way up Snowdon.
Once you have made your way across Bwlch Main you will come to a stone marker for the Watkin & Rhyd Ddu paths. This marks the start of the final ascent of Snowdon via the South Ridge. This will take you up to the summit from behind the cafe and will test your stamina one last time. It is fairly wide and there are no dangers apart from the path is jagged and eroded.
The cafe was closed on my visit in early April and i must say i was disgusted at the amount of rubbish that was littering the entrance. It is a pity people come to places like this and totally disrespect the area.
On getting to the summit i had amazing views and it was not too busy given it was a week day, and that is the way i like things. I had an hour’s chill at the top and had a good chat with a man called Ray who was staying in the same YHA as me. He had come up via the Pyg Track and we bumped into each other hence why i have pictures taken of me for once.
Ray if you are reading this, it was a pleasure to meet you and the whole reason i love the great outdoors you get to meet some of the finest people.
This route is not a circular so after you have ascended, return the same way you came up by exiting behind the cafe and back down over Bwlch Main and then onto the Llechog Ridge before heading back down through Rhos Boeth and finally Rhyd Ddu station.
If you are using my GPX file for this walk then it will take you up and down the route. So the chances are you won’t get lost, but remember there is no substitute for having a map and compass. I will however add that routes like these are well marked and on a clear day the use of a map would rarely be needed.
Overall opinion of the Rhyd Ddu path? I found it one of the easiest routes i have done up to the summit of Snowdon. I enjoyed the walk and i enjoyed the amazing views on offer given the weather. Would i recommend this route? certainly and it is a good alternative to the Llanberis path for people who are not able to do the Watkin, Pyg or Miners paths.