Top 15 tips for climbing Snowdon at sunrise

Mel and Joe holding out their arms at the summit of Snowdon at sunrise in front of the summit marker with the text: "Top 15 tips for climbing Snowdon at sunrise" Pinterest image

Top 15 tips for climbing Snowdon at sunrise

Climbing Snowdon is always an incredible experience. But climbing Snowdon at sunrise is absolutely magical! There’s nothing quite like watching the sun rise over the highest peak in Wales and it’s not too difficult with the right planning and kit. Here are my top 15 tips for climbing Snowdon at sunrise, which will help you successfully reach the top!


1) Book a ‘climbing Snowdon at sunrise’ guided hike

If this is your first time climbing Snowdon at sunrise (or your first time climbing Snowdon altogether), I’d highly recommend going via a guided hike. Especially as it’s so affordable!

Unfortunately, this first tip comes off the back of a bad personal experience. So let me explain! 😂

Me and a friend decided to hike up Snowdon for sunrise via the Miners Track at the back end of one summer. We decided to hike the Miners Track because we had climbed the mountain twice before this way and knew it well. Sound logic right? Wrong.

Turns out the Miners Track is an awfully easy route to navigate when you can see the path markers during the day! But at night time it’s a completely different story – even if you know the route well.

We ended up losing the path part way along the route without any navigation tools. Ending up half way up the mountain side trying to get back on course!

Mel walking over the path on the lakes on the Miners Track
Hiking down from our ill-fated Snowdon climb via the Miners Track

Luckily there were a couple of other hikers ahead of us whose head torches we followed to get back on the path. But it was scary at the time. Especially as we had almost zero visability with the fog that had rolled in.

Despite this, we ended up reaching the last ascent to the summit over an hour before sunrise!!

Meanwhile, the weather had turned and the wind had seriously picked up. So there we were, shivering (even with all our warm layers on), just sat there waiting for the sun to come up and the wind to die down so we could ascend.

Unfortunately, gale force winds on the top of the mountain meant it was too dangerous to summit in the end.

The trip was poorly planned and a complete disaster!

Don’t get me wrong, weather is always unpredictable at Snowdonia National Park. But it didn’t help that we chose the wrong route, didn’t have any navigation tools and were unsure what time to start hiking.

As a result of this little ill-fated adventure, I decided I wasn’t taking any chances next time. I booked a guided hike and found the experience so much more chilled!

Going with a guide takes the pressure off timekeeping and gives you that added comfort of being in safe hands.

However, after climbing Snowdon twice for sunrise both guided and unguided, I can say that if you follow all the tips below, it’ll give you everything you need to successfully summit.

And even if you go unguided, you’ll see other climbers along the way who will also be climbing for sunrise so you won’t ever be alone!

Mel looking back from over her shoulder sat in front of lakes a mountain peeks at the top of Snowdon in Wales

2) Stay in Llanberis the night before

The first time I climbed Snowdon at sunrise, I drove to the start of the route with my friend in the middle of the night from Manchester.

With Manchester only being a couple of hours away from Snowdonia National Park, we felt confident we wouldn’t need to stay over nearby the night before.

Only problem was, it meant we had to wake up two and a half hours earlier because we weren’t staying over. Resulting in us both being knackered before we’d even started!

Not to mention my friend had to drive all the way back exhausted after our failed attempt!

Staying overnight in Llanberis is a far better option. It’s walking distance from the Llanberis Path, which makes the early morning wake-up call so much easier!

If you go via the guided hike route, this is where you’ll meet your fellow hikers.

Climbing Snowdon aside, there is lots of fun things to do in lovely Llanberis. Including, an ancient castle, watersports and a slate museum!

So if you’re planning to climb Snowdon at sunrise, I’d recommend making the trip a nice weekend break!

Mel taking a selfie in front of Dolbadarn Castle, 13th century ruins based in Llanberis
Llanberis Castle

3) make sure to start on time

If you’re climbing Snowdon via a guided hike, you’ll be asked to meet your fellow hikers in the centre of Llanberis at around 2.30am.

You’ll then walk up to the start of the Llanberis Path and officially start your hike at around 3am.

If you’re hiking unguided, I’d follow this same advice and ensure you start hiking the path by 3.30am at the latest during the summer months.

But double check the time of sunrise the day before you leave just in case. You don’t want to travel all the way up to Snowdon and end up missing it!

Also, you need to make sure you get an early night so you’re as rested and ready as you can be to climb through the night.

It’s difficult to fall asleep so early I know. I think I managed to fall asleep at 10pm in the end when I climbed Snowdon for sunrise the second time – which is way too early for me!

But the earlier you can get to bed, the easier it will be to get yourself up.

Mel smiling in front billowing clouds as the sun peaks over the distance over Snowdon

4) Get everything ready the night before

Speaking of early mornings! If you’re not a morning person (like me!), I suggest packing your backpack and laying out your clothes the night before.

The last thing you’ll want to do when your alarm goes off at 1.30am is pack your bag. And you’re much more likely to forget something as well!

Plus, if you pack your bag the night before and realise you’ve forgotten anything, you’ll still have chance to nip to the shop the day before.

Llanberis Path in the dark with a torch light on the ground and hikers in the background
Hiking up to the summit via the Llanberis Path

5) take the Llanberis route

The Llanberis Path is by far the best route to take when climbing Snowdon at sunrise.

It may be a slightly longer route, but it’s the easiest to navigate in the dark. You’re pretty much hiking up one straight, level path at a steady incline – which makes it the safest too.

It’s not as scenic on the way up as the Pyg Track and Miners Track. However, it’ll be dark when you climb, so you won’t be able to see anything anyway!

But on the way back down to Llanberis, the view is spectacular! With the town, peaks and beautiful lake in the background.

View of the Llanberis Path on the way back from the summit with a group of hikers in front and mountains in the background
Hiking our way back down to Llanberis

6) Download the Snowdon Walks app

Snowdon is surprisingly easy to navigate as all the routes have markers to ensure you stay on the designated paths.

However, as you’re planning on climbing Snowdon at sunrise, it’s a good idea to download a GPS-enabled app that works offline, just in case.

The Snowdon Walks App has been designed by the Snowdonia National Park Authority and their ground management. It covers six main paths to the summit with detailed route maps that track your progress.

And with little to no phone signal on the way up to the summit, this handy app will ensure you feel safe at all times on the mountain. Especially when you’re climbing Snowdon in the dark!

Screenshots of the Snowdon Walks App


A proper pair of hiking boots are essential for climbing Snowdon at sunrise.

I would say they’re not necessarily a pre-requisite if you’re climbing Snowdon during the day and you can see where you’re going.

But it does make the climb a hell of a lot easier when wearing shoes specifically designed for the occasion! You’re also less likely to get blisters or slip and hurt yourself.

You don’t even need an expensive pair. I got mine from Decathlon for only £44.99 and they’ve lasted me years and years with barely a scratch!

They don’t sell my specific hiking boots anymore but this pair have all the same features and are similarly priced.

They’re super comfy, waterproof and most importantly have good grip for scrambling over rocks. They also have great ankle support which prevents against injury.

View of Mel and Joe's hiking boots in front of a lake at Snowdonia National Park


The British weather is unpredictable at the best of times. But you can times that unpredictability factor by 10 when you’re climbing Snowdon!

The mountain even seems to create its own weather and this is likely to change very quickly.

When I hike Snowdon during the summer/ early autumn months, I wear water-resistant sports leggings and a nylon t-shirt that won’t rub on me as I begin to sweat.

I also take a simple lightweight, waterproof jacket that can easily be rolled up into my backpack. As well as a spare pair of waterproof over-trousers for when the wind picks up and/ or it starts to rain.

You’ll also need to take some extra warm layers (e.g. a jumper or mid-layer fleece jacket) in case you get a little a cold or the weather turns.

However, no matter the weather (even in the summer), it gets colder the higher the altitude, so make sure to pack layers.

Below is a list of clothing you’ll need for your hike. However, if you’d like a more detailed kit list, check out my climbing Snowdon kit list post.

all the clothes you’ll need:

Mel and Joe smiling at the summit of Snowdon wearing waterproof jackets, backpacks and bobble hats


I can’t tell you how handy it has been having a waterproof backpack for hiking!

With the weather being so unpredictable here in the UK, it just makes sense to pay a little extra to ensure all your valuables stay dry.  

But don’t worry – you don’t need to spend a fortune. I have the older version of this Osprey Waterproof Hikelite Backpack and it’s lasted me over 10 years!

It has an integrated rain cover and internal hydration sleeve which accommodates up to three litres of water. It also has a trekking pole attachment and smaller, scratch resistant pockets for smaller items.

But what I love most about this backpack is how comfortable and cool it is (literally!).

It has a ventilated Airspeed back panel and straps so it prevents you from getting the dreaded backpack sweat that we all know and hate after wearing a backpack for several hours!

Mel sitting on a rock looking back at the camera wearing a pink waterproof jacket, blue bobble hat and green backpack with foggy hills in the background at the end of the Miners' Track at Snowdon.

10) pack a first aid kit

It might seem a little much to take a first aid kit on a hike but by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail, so make sure you carry one just in case!

Anything could happen whilst you’re climbing Snowdon, she’s a wee beast!

You don’t need to take a big hefty first aid box in your backpack by any stretch. But taking a little first aid pouch with essential items like: paracetamol, blister plasters, bug spray and a couple of antiseptic wipe sachets will give you some peace of mind in case anything were to happen.  

I bought this £3 first aid pouch to go backpacking with and I still take it on every hike.

I also SWEAR by these Compeed blister plasters. Unlike regular plasters, they are made from a special skin-like material and they just don’t move once you’ve put them over your blisters. It’s like you don’t have a blister at all!

I’ve finished marathons with a tonne of blisters using these plasters and they’re lifesavers for hiking!

Climbing Snowdon at sunrise looking out from the summit marker over Snowdon with an orange sky

11) Wear a head torch

Wearing a head torch to climb Snowdon at sunrise is essential as you’ll need to light the path as you’re hiking.

It’s better to have a rechargeable head torch rather than a battery operated handheld torch. So you have your hands free for hiking poles, checking navigation tools or sipping from your water bottle as you hike.

Mel stood next to the Llanberis path stone marker in the dark on the sunrise Snowdon walk
Starting our sunrise hike on the Llanberis Path at 3am!

12) DRINK PLENTY OF WATER and pack a flask

This seems like a no-brainer! But it’s so easy to get dehydrated when you’re hiking. Especially if you’re hiking in the cold and not sweating a lot.

It’s estimated that we lose around 25% of our strength when we lose a pint of water in our systems. And friends, you need to keep that strength up to make sure you get to the top of Snowdon for sunrise!

Be sure to carry enough water and drink slowly and consistently throughout the morning.

I have one of these bottles as they’re lightweight, leak-proof and BPA-free, which are perfect for hiking!

I also use it at home to make sure I’m drinking enough water. The bottles have handy time markings on them to show you how much water you should be drinking by which time.

These hydration bladders are also great for hiking. They’re BPA-free, leak-proof and compact with an on/ off valve that makes drinking on the go really easy.

In addition to your water, I would recommend a flask filled with some hot tea or coffee. This was a lifesaver for me when I climbed Snowdon at sunrise!

I have one of these Contigo ones and I swear by them! They’re 100% leak-proof and automatically seal between sips to prevent spills. They’re also BPA-free and keep liquids hot for up to 12 hours.

We arrived about half an hour before the sun was due to come up. So I just sat on the edge of the summit, opened my packed breakfast and poured myself a hot cup of tea.

It felt so good after a nine mile night hike, I’ll tell you!

View from Snowdon's summit as the sun comes up red over the mountains


This is always one of the biggest conundrums when hiking – how many breaks do you take? You don’t want to have so many that it feels like it’s taking hours to get to the top. But you don’t want to take so few breaks that you’re struggling to keep momentum because you’re getting tired.

As a general rule I would suggest taking breaks little and often. It’s far better than taking a long breakfast break which makes the latter half of the climb feel like it’s dragging. You’ll be full of food and will get comfy being sat down for too long.  

Spreading out your water and food breaks throughout the morning will also help keep your energy levels steady.  

Snowdon summit in the dark as the sun starts to come over the rolling clouds

14) Pack a HIGH-CARB breakfast AND SNACKS

It’ll take you a few hours to climb Snowdon, so make sure to pack a carb-rich breakfast 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 before you go.

If you can’t stomach eating too much that early though, have a little water and snack on a banana or protein bar. Or sip on a high-carb protein shake.

For your second meal half way through the hike, pack another carb-rich meal such as porridge or pasta/ rice, fruit and some energy bars. My favourite vegan protein bars are by Graze and Deliciously Ella, but any are fine!

Mel sat on a grassy mound eating breakfast looking out over the sunrise at Snowdon's summit

15) don’t give up and have fun!

The last and final thing you will need for climbing Snowdon at sunrise is a positive mindset! 

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 watching the sun rise over Snowdonia’s beautiful peaks. It’s an unforgettable experience!

Mel reaching her arms up wearing a pink waterproof jacket at the summit of Snowdon at sunrise


Best of luck climbing Snowdon at sunrise my loves! Don’t forget to come back and share your experience in the comments below! 😄

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