Watkin Path, Beddgelert, Snowdonia


Best at / for: winter sunrise.

Best avoided: no sunsets as valley is steep sided.

Parking: paid parking at near start of path.

Access: extended walking required for best vantage points.

Notes: good hiking / wild camping opportunities nearby.


The Watkin Path is considered the most arduous of the standard Snowdon ascents. Obviously not including the Crib Goch ridge, but that’s optional! The Watkin starts from the lowest elevation, so the climb is the highest. And the upper parts require some scrambling, so it’s more challenging than the other paths.

But from the landscape photographer’s perspective it’s actually one of the most interesting. It has the rugged open upland scenery in common with the other paths, when you get up to Cwm Llan. But in the lower reaches there is much more varied terrain and many photographers enjoy a day out in the lower valley and Cwm Llan without bothering with the tough climb to Snowdon summit.

The path can be busy at peak times, as can all the paths. But, along with the Snowdon Ranger path, it is also one of the quietest.

Photography opportunities are best at sunrise because even though the valley faces south-east, is it quite open and allows early sunlight in all year round. There are interesting ruins, the fabulous Watkin falls, woodland and heathland, and of course the high peaks. It’s my favourite Snowdon ascent for photography.