The Snowdon Ranger
North Wales Mountain Bike Route Guide
This Snowdon Ranger route is an 11.5 mile mountain bike route on the largest mountain in Wales. It's a big step up in technical difficulty from the Llanberis Path route with lots of steep, loose riding on big rocks with lots of switchbacks. It also gets you away from the hordes of walkers so you can really concentrate on pushing your limits.
Snowdon Voluntary Cycling Agreement
During the summer months Snowdon is very busy with walkers and tourists. To avoid accidents and incidents with cyclists a voluntary agreement has been agreed, limiting the times bikes are allowed on Snowdon. To avoid an outright ban please adhere to the times of this agreement - available here.
1. Start from the main car park, next to the Electric Mountain visitor centre, in Llanberis (GR580601). At the exit of the car park turn left onto the main road and ride past the Electric Mountain visitor centre on the left. Continue following the road straight on, past the Snowdon Mountain Railway at the far side of Llanberis, then climb to a mini roundabout junction just after (GR583596). Turn right and follow the lane past the line of houses on the left to a junction with a lane on the right. Go straight on past the end of the houses then across a cattle grid for the first climb where the road becomes very steep. At the top of the very steep incline go past Pen-y-Ceunant tea house on the left. After the tea house continue climbing the lane to a gate where the lane turns right. Once through the gate follow the lane right up a short, steep climb to the signposted junction with the start of the Llanberis Path on the left (GR581589).
2. Turn left and follow the trail through a gate then up a few rocky sections that give a good indication of what is to come. What follows is a very challenging mixture of boulders, loose scree and the occasional bit of flatter rocky hardpack. There are some sections that are always a push, mainly in the top third, but in good conditions the trail is about 50-70% ridable (depending on how good you are at climbing). The bonus though is when it gets too much you can rest and take in the awesome scenery. If it's open the Halfway House is a great place to stop for a cup of tea and a cake on the way up. Continue following the Llanberis Path ahead all the way to the summit (GR610544).
3. After the obligatory summit photos, taking in the views, and fighting past the crowds for a coffee the mountain has to be descended. Descend the Llanberis Path back down the steps and rocky sections to a junction with a track on the left, at the start of the plateau at the view point, by a stone pillar with the Ranger Path inscribed on it (GR607548). Take the track on the left to start the Snowdon Ranger Path and descend to the railway crossing. After crossing the rails follow the track ahead for a fast, loose and rocky descent that bears gradually left. After a while the track reaches the steep section middle section of the descent where things start to get really technical. The rocks get increasingly larger and this is combined with chutes, steps and tight switchbacks, proper pick your way down stuff. This ends with a section of about 30m of big rocks that I've never had the bottle to attempt. When the big rocks finish continue ahead the on the flatter rocky track, with a great view of Snowdon on the left, that bears left and eventually comes to a gate (GR585555).
4. Go right through the gate then follow the trail across the hill trail. After a while the trail comes to another gate at a stream crossing. After the gate and stream climb the trail off to the left. The trail soon bears right and starts descending again over some slate water bars. Don't go too fast as a short distance after the descent starts there is a vague bridleway signed to Llanberis on the right, heading up a very steep grassy slope (GR573553). Turn right and follow the vague grassy trail up the calf crampingly steep carry (or push). Thankfully the steep bit is not too long. When the trail becomes rideable again continue ahead towards the saddle in the ridge and a gate at the top (GR572558).
5. Go through the gate then follow the rocky track that descends down the left hand side of the valley ahead. This descent is great fun, even with the amount of water bars on it. Continue following the trail ahead, which towards the bottom bears left and goes down a few nice rock sections. When the trail eventually becomes a lane continue following it straight on. After some time the lane comes to a junction with a gated track straight on, where the lane turns right (GR573591). Turn right and descend the lane through some nice bends, past Llanberis YHA, all the way to where it ends at a junction with the main road in Llanberis (GR578601). Turn right and ride through Llanberis to where the road ends at a junction with the main road (GR581599). Turn left and follow the road to the next junction then turn right, back into the Electric Mountain visitor centre car park to complete the ride.