I’d never been to Snowdonia before, but with just a few weeks until I’d be hiking the Spaghetti Tour in the Alps, it was time to get some practice in. Snowdon was a bucket list UK hike, so my dad and I set off to Wales with the hope of taking the Crib Goch route up Snowdon.
Based on the weather forecast and previous luck in the weather department, we didn’t have high hopes for being able to take the Crib Goch ridge, but miraculously we were blessed with clear enough skies! It was a fantastic experience, and if you’re thinking of climbing Snowdon, I would highly recommend take the Crib Goch route.
Here’s my guide to planning your trip including places to stay near Snowdon, how to get to your starting point, what to expect along the route and, finally, some recommendations of restaurants in Betws y Coed, where we stayed.
Planning Your Crib Goch Route Up Snowdon
Places to Stay Near Snowdon
With it’s stunning landscapes and challenging trails, Snowdonia attracts a fair amount of tourism, so there are plenty of places to stay. If you’re happy to camp or stay in a hostel or bunkhouse, there are loads of options near the start of the trail.
We opted for a B&B in Betws-y-Coed, a charming village about a thirty minute drive from the base of Snowdon. We stayed at *Fairhaven B&B, a traditional B&B in the heart of the village where you’ll find comfortable beds and a delectable breakfast. The couple who own the B&B are lovely, and will offer you the warmest of welcomes.
When it comes to the breakfast, you’ll have a choice of dishes including the ‘hearty breakfast’, avocado smash and eggs Royale. I chose the eggs Benedict, which featured perfectly poached eggs, a rich, homemade hollandaise sauce and black pudding – something that I’ve never had with eggs Benedict before but will be requesting in the future!
Getting to the start point for the Crib Goch route up Snowdon
Unless you arrive in the middle of the night, you’re not going to get a parking space at the base of Snowdon. However, if you’re driving from Betws-y-Coed and continue for about 10 minutes after the main car park, you will arrive at the park and ride.
We got there for about 9.45am and easily found a parking space. You’ll need to buy a parking ticket and then take the bus or a taxi. The bus was £2 per person, but a taxi cost the same amount and was much quicker, with no queue and no waiting for others to board and alight.
What to Expect on the Crib Coch Route Up Snowdon
Crib Goch Ridge
As my dad had done most of the planning for our walk, I wasn’t sure what to expect so decided to google the Crib Goch route up Snowdon the night before our walk. The top drop downs were ‘Crib Goch deaths 2018’ and ‘Crib Goch deaths 2017’, which very nearly sent me running back home to Leeds!
However, I’m glad I stuck with it, as it’s now one of my favourite UK hiking trails, and as long as you’re an experienced hiker and the weather is on your side, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Although it seems to be a common search team on our good friend Google, there have been very few deaths on Crib Goch.
The walk begins along the Pyg track, which will be busy with half of everyone that plans to climb Snowdon – the other half will be taking the Miner’s track. Soon enough, you’ll reach a signposted decision point, where those brave enough to take the Crib Goch route up Snowdon should turn right and ascend the ‘Bad Step’.
You should expect some scrambling at this point – I was aware that there would be scrambling here but I didn’t realise quite how much, and at some points it was more like climbing. There was no need for climbing equipment such as ropes, but it did involve finding a good hold (of which there were plenty), and using some upper body strength.
At the top of the Bad Step there’s time for a much needed breather before stepping onto the ridge of Crib Goch. It’s a thin ridge with a steep drop either side, so it is a little nerve racking. However, I can assure you that it’s not as scary as people make out – I’m not paricularly brave when it comes to these things and I was absolutely fine.
If you have a head for heights and good balance you can walk along the top of the ridge, but it’s far easier to walk to the left so that you can grab the rocks for balance and confidence. If it’s windy, definitely walk along the side instead of on the top.
About two thirds of the way along Crib Goch, there’s a particularly steep section, however you can easily walk around this if you wish. I noticed that about half of the walkers were taking the difficult route, and half were walking to the side.
The Crib Goch route up Snowdon is both exhilarating and spectacular, with stunning views across Snowdonia. Unlike Snowdon itself, which I’ll come on to in a moment, its not packed with tourists in trainers and flip flops. You’ll meet other hikers who share your passion for walking, and will happily help you through any nerves.
As long as you’re an experienced walker, you’re not too scared of heights (because everyone is a little scared of heights) and you’re happy with the fact that there’s nowhere to go to the toilet on the ridge, Crib Goch is the best route up Snowdon.
When you finish Crib Goch you’ll join the path to the top of Snowdon. I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t enjoy this section of the walk! It was crowded and felt more like a tourist attraction than a mountain and, after the adrenaline inducing ridge of Crib Goch, it was a real anti-climax.
The views were great, but you couldn’t fully enjoy them because there were too many people. We didn’t even get the satisfaction of reaching the summit because there was literally a queue to walk up the steps to the very highest point, where people were crammed on taking selfies. As someone who walks to feel peaceful and remote, this wasn’t for me.
We descended Snowdon via the Miner’s path, which was steep at first but became an easy path very soon. It took us past some beautiful lakes and views back of Snowdon and Crib Goch were delightful. I have to admit that I did get bored towards the end of the flat path, but I think with an extra snack I’d have been happier.
If we’d had more time (we spent too long enjoying breakfast) we would have taken the Horseshoe Ridge route down from Snowdon. This would have added another few hours to our walk, but it looked absolutely stunning. If you’re looking for a longer walk and want to continue the excitement after Crib Goch, I would heavily recommend this over the Pyg track or Miner’s track!
Betws y Coed Restaurants
I couldn’t leave you without some food and drink recommendations! We stayed in Betws y Coed so that’s where we did the majority of our eating and drinking over the weekend. There are several pubs and restaurants in Betws y Coed, and we walked up and down the Main Street studying all of the menus before deciding where to eat.
The Royal Oak
If you want a friendly, traditional pub with good beer and classic pub grub, this is the place for you. On our first night we went here for dinner, and we liked it so much that we went back on the second night for a beer before and after our dinner!
When it comes to beer, I like a ‘proper’ bitter rather than any fancy craft beers or anything too hoppy. I was in for a treat with Welsh Pride, by far my favourite of the three beers I tried and so full of flavour. A few pints of this were managed over the weekend!
The food was hearty and delicious: I had a steak & ale pie with chips whilst my dad opted for a girlie salad (although actually it looked just as filling as my pie). The pie was gorgeous but there was one huge issue… it didn’t come with gravy and when I asked for gravy the chef had to make it especially! But nonetheless it was delicious.
Bistro Betws y Coed
Oh my goodness. We went here on our second night to reward ourselves for our hard work climbing mountains and it was incredible – do not miss this restaurant if you’re in Betws-y-Coed! The staff were friendly, the atmosphere was spot on and the food was fantastic.
Let’s start with the wine. Dad loves a Pinot Noir (don’t we all?) and was overjoyed, but a little sceptical, that a bottle of it here was a mere £18. It was a fabulous wine and tasted a lot more expensive than £18.
We began with complimentary canapés of cute little Welsh rarebit (I was getting a little flustered that my trip to Wales was nearly over and I hadn’t had any rarebit yet!) and some salmon mousse before moving onto our starters. I had Brest Ysguthan Wyllt gyda Chrempog… in other words breast of wood pigeon with blueberry pancakes, crispy bacon and a red wine and chocolate sauce. It was absolutely perfect.
For my main course I couldn’t resist the duck breast, which was served pink with the creamiest potato gratin, buttered Savoy cabbage and a Welsh marmalade and Penderyn whiskey sauce. Again, it was absolutely perfect!
If there is a chocolate dessert on the menu I will always go for it and I like to consider myself as a connoisseur of brownies, so it will come as no surprise that I chose the warm chocolate brownie with ice cream and honeycomb.
It was the perfect amount of sweet and the perfect size to finish off a great meal. Or so we thought, until we were handed some chocolates and Welsh cake as a final touch! I’d never had Welsh cake before, and when I told the waitress how much I enjoyed it she brought me two more.
I hope this has been of help if you’re heading to Snowdonia and taking the Crib Goch route up Snowdon. If you have any questions, please do get in touch in the comments on over on instagram, or for more hiking content, take a look at these posts:
- What to Expect on the GR20
- Mountain Huts: What to Expect and How to Survive
- Trekking Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn
- 10 Things I Learnt on the Spaghetti Tour