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Climbing Mount Snowdon at Night for Sunrise

A guide on how to climb Mount Snowdon at night to see the sunrise.

Mount Snowdon, stands proudly as the highest peak in Wales at 1,085 meters (3,560 feet), offers an unforgettable hiking experience in Snowdonia National Park. The journey is adorned with breathtaking scenery, from cascading waterfalls to glacial lakes.

We wanted to try and get to the top of Snowdon for sunrise as we were doing it for charity in memory of our friend who passed away, so we wanted the ending to be something really special to remember her by.

Mount Snowdon sunrise

I've written our experience down, to help guide anyone else who is thinking about climbing Mount Snowdon at sunrise.

Summary of Climbing Snowdon at Sunrise:

  • 2am → Wake-up

  • 2.30am → Leave hostel and head to Pen Y Fan car park

  • 3am → Begin hike of Snowdon

  • 6.41amArrive at the summit of Snowdon (check sunrise time)

  • 10am → Finish hike and arrive back at Pen Y Fan car park

Mount Snowdon

How long does it take to climb Mount Snowdon?

On average it takes about 4-7 hours to climb Snowdon, but that is all dependent on your fitness levels, experience of hiking and the weather conditions. We were climbing Snowdon as part of the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge so we were very fatigued and hadn't slept and the round trip (to the summit and back) took us about 7 hours. Obviously doing the hike for sunrise means you are doing about 1/3 of it in the dark, therefore you need to go a lot slower for safety, but regularly checking the map to make sure you are on the right path.

Mount Snowdon

Planning the Climb of Mount Snowdon

Hiking Mount Snowdon is physically demanding and when you do the climb you will want everything planned carefully to ensure you can focus purely on the challenge itself, rather than logistics. Here are a list of things to think about BEFORE you go to Snowdonia:

1. Decide when you are doing the challenge

Pick a time when you are going to do the challenge. We chose to do our challenge in September for a number of reasons:

  • The weather - September is perfect hiking weather, it's not too hot and it's not too cold. The summit of Snowdon (even on a warm day) is absolutely freezing, so bear this in mind.

  • Visibility - we wanted to enjoy the stunning views and knew Sept would more likely better.

  • Avoiding school holidays - we didn't want to have to deal with the peaks being too busy with families, the roads would be clearer for travel and accommodation would have more availability.

2. Training

Do as much training before as you can:

  • Make sure you train on an incline - a hill, a mountain, steps, the stepper at the gym. You can go walking as much as you want, but it's the incline that people find the hardest and which you really need to train for.

  • Do long walks that are plus 3 hours. During the challenge you will be walking for much longer (and mostly uphill), so you need to build stamina, know what you're going to do about going to the toilet, if you're doing it with people get used to what each person is like in that situation etc.

  • Train in the gear you will be doing the hike in - wear in your hiking boots, get used to your rucksack, know that the shorts you're wearing won't be rubbing, try different snacks (I tried energy gels on a practice hike and they made me feel bad... very glad I realised before doing the actual thing!)

  • Test out the map - I use All Trails for all my hikes and practised using it beforehand so I knew how it worked and that it could be trusted - BEST APP EVER!

Mount Snowdon Pack List

Here is a pack list of everything you need to do the challenge:

  • Hiking boots - we did see some people doing the hikes in trainers, but doing all three your ankles need support and some of the routes can be slippery, so you need grip.

  • Head torches - you can't do the hike for sunrise if you don't have a head torch as it's pitch black.

  • Rucksack - you will need your hands available at all times so you don't want to be carrying anything.

  • Waterproof jacket - the weather is very unpredictable in Wales (especially up a mountain), make sure you carry this with you even if the forecast looks good.

  • Layers - it may seem warm when you set off, but trust me the top of the peaks have a completely different climate and it gets COLD up there.

  • Water - take more water than you think you need as you can't get more once you start.

  • Snacks - protein bars are good to keep you going as well as bananas and even crisps.

Mount Snowdon sunrise

Which path should you take up Snowdon?

There are six different paths that go up Snowdon and you should first decide your path based on which location you are coming from as it can mean a much longer drive to get to the different paths.

From the Pen Y Fan car park you have the option of two routes; the Miners' Track and the Pyg Track. We decided to do the Miners' Track on the way up (because it is flat for a lot of it which we thought would be easier in the dark) and do the Pyg Track on the way back down. When we got to the car park though, we accidentally went on the Pyg Track to start with and it was SO challenging, especially in the dark. You spend most of your time scrambling up and down rocks, there isn't a clear path and it's very hard to navigate in the dark. We came back down on the Miners' Track which took a long time (due to the flatness of the path) and we wish the descent had been quicker. Whilst it was an incredible experience doing the Pyg Track in the dark (and felt like a massive achievement), if I was doing it again I would recommend doing the Miners' Track on the way up and the Pyg Track on the way down.

Get the AllTrails app as you can select your path and it navigates you (great for the Pyg Track which doesn't have a clear path and you can easily go off route).

Miners' Track, Mount Snowdon
Miners' Track, Mount Snowdon

How easy is it to park at Mount Snowdon?

We parked at the Pen Y Fan car park and you need to BOOK THIS IN ADVANCE and you can do this HERE. If you don't book this in advance you have to use the Sherpa'r Wyddfa Park and Ride Service running from Nant Peris and Llanberis car parks, which can add a lot of time onto your hike.

Where should you stay near Mount Snowdon?

Lledr House Hostel

Pont-y-pant, Dolwyddelan LL25 0DQ

Cost: £21 each (£165 for a private room for x8 people)

Location: 25 min drive to start Snowdon (to the Pen Y Fan car park)

A very good, affordable option near Snowdon. We ended up arriving very late and only slept for a couple of hours but it was comfortable and clean. There is also a kitchen to cook your own food if you want.

Lledr House Hostel

Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia

Conway Rd, Dolgarrog, Conwy LL32 8QE

Cost: £65 each (£130 for a king room for x2 people)

Location: 30 min from Snowdon (Pen Y Fan car park)

We stayed here after we had finished as a treat. They have the Wave Spa which you can get a pass for £25 and use the spa facilities as well as booking treatments. The hotel also has a really nice restaurant, big spacious rooms and a bar.

Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia Wave Spa

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