Difficulty: Difficult (Requires Advanced Skills & Fitness)
Distance: 10 Miles or less
Maps: OS Landranger 115
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This 10 mile mountain bike route starts in Llanberis, in Snowdonia, and climbs the Llanberis Path to the summit of Snowdon before returning down the same track. Before attempting this, or any of the other Snowdon routes, remember even though it is covered in tourists Snowdon is a big mountain, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The majority of the riding is made up of steep, bouldery trials that will test your riding skills to the limit. The percentages on what is ridable are based on a very fit rider comfortable with Scottish level black runs. Which ever route you choose there will be a certain amount of hike-a-biking, so you must be happy with pushing and carrying your bike. Also, please adhere to the times of the voluntary bike ban.
1. Start from the car park by Llyn Padarn in Llanberis (GR577605). Turn left onto the main road and follow it straight on, past the Snowdon Mountain Railway at the far side of Llanberis. Climb straight on after the railway to the mini roundabout junction just after (GR583596). Turn right and follow the lane over the traffic calming past the line of houses on the left. At the junction near the end of the houses go straight on. After crossing the cattle grid at the end of the houses engage a very low gear for the first short climb where the road becomes very steep. At the top of the climb go past Pen-y-Ceunant tea house on the left. After the tea house continue along the lane to a gate where the lane turns right. Once through the gate follow the lane right, up a short 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 70% ridable (if you are very good 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. Continue following the Llanberis Path 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. The descent is simply a case of following the Llanberis Path all the way down the mountain, which has the benefit that you know what to expect. While it's 100% ridable for only the best riders there's only one or two short sections that might have others walking. It's great fun but a very technical prospect with big boulders, steep scree slopes, large rock steps and fast flowing sections to tackle. Make sure you have enough pressure in your tyres and decent brakes. There is definitely the potential for a loss of control at high speed so brake fade is the last thing you want. It is also a popular place with walkers so it’s best to find a time when foot traffic is light or you could be slowing down every 10 meters.
The Llanberis Path is only one of the three bridleways to the top of the mountain. Links to route guides for the other two trails can be found below:
For the more adventurous there is the Snowdon - Twin Peaks route that takes in all the bridleways in one ride and reaches the summit twice.