MINERS TRACK SNOWDON: Complete guide + top tips for hikers!

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MINERS TRACK SNOWDON: Complete guide + top tips for hikers!

Snowdonia is one of Britain’s most breathtaking national parks. With its extensive network of hiking trails, tranquil lakes, craggy peaks and spectacular views, it’s a truly magical place! There are routes for varying ability levels but the Miners Track Snowdon is a great trail for a mix of abilities.

There’s no better feeling than reaching the top of a mountain and feeling like you’re on top of the world. So, what are you waiting for? Here’s your complete guide to hiking Snowdon’s Miners Track!

Other Snowdonia posts you might like…

What is the Miners Track?

The Miners Track is one of six main trails you can take to the top of Snowdon. The others are: the Llanberis Path, Pyg Track, Watkin Path, Rhyd-Ddu Path and the Snowdon Ranger Path.

All the trails are suited for different fitness levels. But the Miners Track as well as the nearby Pyg Track are the most popular and accessible routes.

Miners Track Lake with green peaks in the background
Miners Track Lake

Why is it called the Miners Track?

The trail is called the ‘Miners Track’ as it was built in the early 19th century to serve the Britannia Copper Mine.

You’ll even spot abandoned mining houses and buildings on the way up to Snowdon!

Abandoned miners house on the Miners Track

Why choose to hike the Miners Track?

The Miners Track is a more steady gradient track, with less scrambling, which makes it a great trail to ascend on.

It’s also a pretty straightforward path so it’s almost impossible to get lost!

The Miners Track has some beautiful views and waterfalls to check out which will allow you to see a different side of the mountain from other trails.

The start of the trail is one of the most scenic with lovely views of Snowdonia National Park’s peaks and the bluest lakes, before you’ve barely begun to hike!

The Miners Track is also a lot less busy than the more popular Llanberis and Pyg routes so you won’t be minding out the way of people all the way.

Man taking a photo up the mount of the Miners Track

How do I get to the Miners Track?

If you live within a couple of hours of Snowdonia National Park and have a car, I would recommend driving up and down in a day (that’s if you don’t want to make a weekend out of the trip).

If you live more than a couple of hours’ drive away, I would advise staying somewhere local the night before such as Bangor or Llanberis.

It just means you don’t have to get up too early or worry about traffic or potential blockers on the morning of your climb. 

If you don’t have a car, you’ll definitely need to stay the night before. Even commuting from nearby Bangor where the nearest train station is, takes around an hour and a half to two hours on the bus to reach Pen-y-Pass where the start of the trail is.

Buses only run every three hours as well so if you’re not on the bus by 8am from Bangor town centre, you won’t begin your climb until after lunchtime taking the next bus.

Depending on the time of year, this could be problematic if it’s already going dark by the time you’re due to descend.

Alternatively, you can stay in nearby Llanberis the night before your hike. It’s a picturesque village that sits at the foot of Snowdonia National Park that is popular with climbers and only takes 20 minutes by bus to the start of the trail at Pen-y-Pass.

Start of the Miner's Track to Snowdon with the fence and lakes in the background
Start of the Miners Track

Where should I stay the night before climbing Snowdon?

You can stay at the local YMCA hostel, which faces the start of the trail. Just make sure to book as far in advance as possible. Rooms during climbing season can fill up months in advance.

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy staying in a hostel, I recommend staying in nearby Llanberis.

I stayed in Dol Peris, which is a self-catered guest house in the centre of Llanberis that boasts a mountain view from every window.

It’s run by a by husband-and-wife team that offers all the comforts of home at an affordable price. Single rooms here start from only £31!

There’s also lots to do in Llanberis, which makes it a terrific Snowdon weekender! As well as climbing Snowdon, you can visit the National Slate Museum, go kayaking on Lake Padarn and visit Dolbadarn Castle.

Mel at the slate museum in Llanberis with an old brick building in the back under a small red crane
At the National Slate Museum

How long does the Miners Track take to hike?

If you go by the guide boards, it says it’ll take you six hours there and back. However, even if you’re of average fitness I’d say you’ll easily knock at least an hour off that time.

With a half hour lunch break, a couple more water breaks and photo stops, I manage to get there and back in less than five hours.

Board from the start of the trail at Snowdonia National Park outlining details of the Miners Track

How do I navigate the Miners Track?

Unless you’re planning on climbing in the dark for sunrise, you won’t need help navigating the trail as the path is clearly marked.

On a side note though, I wouldn’t recommend hiking Snowdon for sunrise if this is your first time! I would go with a guided group if that’s something you’d like to do another time!

The Miners Track starts at Pen-y-Pass and as you can see from the map below, it’s a pretty straightforward path to follow.

Around 500,000 people reach the top of Snowdon each year so in the warmer months there will be plenty of other climbers in front of you leading the way.

Google map of the Miners Track up to Snowdon's peak

When is the best time to hike the Miners Track?

As the annoying but frustratingly true saying goes: “The early bird gets the worm”. But more importantly in this case, “The early bird will get a bloody parking space.”

Getting to Snowdon early is a must. I arrived the morning of my first climb at 8am and two car parks were already full. This meant we needed to park further away and wait half an hour for a bus to take us to the start of the trail. 

Getting there early is just practical too. Your energy levels are higher in the morning and it won’t be getting dark by the time you descend.

Mini waterfall on the Miners Track with the lake in front of it
Mini waterfall on the Miners Track

When is the best time of year to hike the Miners Track?

April to October are considered the best months to climb Snowdon. However, as with most climbing (especially if this is your first time to Snowdon) I would recommend climbing it during the summer months.

It may be busier but the days are longer, the weather conditions are better and it’s just more enjoyable.

I once climbed Snowdon in late September to watch the sunrise and the weather was already starting to turn. We never made it to the top because the rocks at the final ascent were too slippery from the ice and the wind was too volatile to even stand up straight on top of the summit.

So the lesson is, don’t risk the disappointment of not being able to summit at the last stretch and just plan your climb during the summer!

Mel descending via the Miners Track at sunrise, walking over a stone trail across a lake at the bottom of Snowdon wearing a pink jacket and blue bobble hat
Descending via the Miner’s Track at sunrise

Is the Miners Track difficult to hike?

The Miners Track is 6.54 km long with an ascent of 2,526 feet. It’s classified as a hard/ strenuous route however I must say as someone who didn’t hike at the time I first trekked the Miners Track and was below average fitness after lockdown – I thought it was fine!

It’s challenging in places as I mentioned earlier with some rockier and steeper patches but you can just take more breaks if you need to.

The hardest part of the track is the final descent where all the paths meet and it’s literally a vertical zig zag to the top!

But this only lasts for about 15 minutes and you’re motivated by the view of the summit the whole way. You know you’re about to reach the final ascent when you approach this rocky causeway path below.

But no matter what path you pick, everyone needs to do that final ascent otherwise you’d never make it to the summit!

If the kids I saw climbing in trainers can reach the summit of Snowdon (not recommended!), anyone who is able bodied can.

Looking down over the Miners Track where a line of people in the distance on a rocky trail with lakes and other Snowdon mountain peaks in the background
Towards the final descent

What do I need to pack to hike the Miners Track?

Even though I say the Miners Track is challenging but not too difficult, you’ll still be out hiking for most of the day and will need to make sure you take enough food, water and spare/ additional clothes for every weather inevitability.

I recommend packing the following for your climb during the summer months:

-A proper pair of hiking boots

-Lightweight waterproof backpack

-Lightweight waterproof jacket

Mid-layer fleece jacket (just in case it gets chilly – especially if the weather turns or you get cold as you’re descending)

-Gloves to protect your hands when you’re scrambling over rocks

-Leak-proof reusable bottle (there are some little streams along the way but in summer they’re more scarce so take enough water with you for the day if you don’t want to risk it)

-A pocket first aid kit (just in case you slip and graze your knee for example or need paracetamol for that niggling headache)

Baseball cap or bobble hat

Light weight roll on suncream (this nifty suncream takes up minimal space in your backpack and is easy to apply. Even if it’s overcast – those rays will get you especially if you’re prone to burning!)

Compeed blister plasters

-A jumper and spare t-shirt and socks (just in case it rains or the wind picks up and you start to get chilly)

-Packed lunch and high-carb snacks e.g. Graze and Deliciously Ella (which are my faves!)

-Spare cash – around £20 with change for the bus from the car park to the start of the trail

I’d also recommend having spare clothes to change into at the end of the day. It’s not essential but will make you feel so much more comfortable on the way home. Especially if you’ve been caught out in a rain storm or are super sweaty and don’t want to sit in dirty clothes all the way back.

Just keep a separate bag in your car with spare clothes and snacks and it’ll save you carrying it.   

You’ll find more tips like this in my 15 tips for climbing Snowdon post.

Mel walking down the final trail on the Miners Track next to low peaks and the Miners Lake
Walking towards the end of the Miners Track

What food do I need to prepare to hike the Miners Track?

I recommend preparing a carb-rich lunch and lots of snacks to keep your energy levels up. Start with a slow-energy release breakfast like porridge with oat milk, banana and some nut butter for protein. 

For lunch, pack high-carb meals such as pasta, sandwiches, fruit and some energy bars. My favourite vegan protein bars are by Graze and Deliciously Ella but any are fine.

Mel sat on a pile of rocks eating crisps before the final ascent of Snowdon with backpacks at her feet
Lunching at the bottom of the final ascent to Snowdon

What is the descent like?

I would recommend if you’re climbing Snowdon for the first time and taking the Miners Track up to the summit to actually descend via the Pyg Track.

It’s a similar difficulty level and is one of the shortest and most scenic routes down from Snowdon.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a series of gradual declines with some rockier and steeper patches (like in the picture below). But for the most part, the Pyg Track is an easy trail to follow.

There’s also lots of straight paths that take you past beautiful lakes and give you a great view of Snowdon’s peaks.

Mel scrambling over beige rocks in the final ascent before Snowdon on the Pyg Track
Scrambling over the rocks towards the end of the Pyg Track

Final thoughts

One of my top tips for climbing Snowdon is to make sure you have fun! Yes, it’s challenging, yes, it’s tiring…yes you may think you can’t do it at several points during the climb.

But embrace all those highs and lows because it’s all about the journey (don’t vom it’s true!). And there is no greater feeling than sitting your knackered bum on the edge of that peak and enjoying that breath-taking view.  

For more posts on Snowdon click here.

Mel with her back to the camera, sat on a rock with a green backpack on with green peaks and lakes at the summit of Snowdon

Other Snowdonia posts you might like…

Have you hiked Snowdon before? Would you choose the Miners Track Snowdon? 😄

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