6Alternatives to Snowdon if You Don’t Fancy Queuing at the Summit

garnedd ugain with snowdon background-min (1)
If you hike mountains for the solitude, then the Snowdon summit's well talked about queues might be a reason to skip Wales' highest mountain in favour of an alternative. So here are 6 really great alternatives to Snowdon within North Wales.

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There is no doubt about it – Snowdon is an iconic hike. With so many routes to choose from (ranging from easy to follow paths right up to the Crib Goch ridge crossing) it appeals to hikers of all abilities. On a clear day, the views on the way up, on the summit itself and on the hike back down are nothing short of spectacular. And even when the Welsh weather isn’t playing ball, Snowdon attracts plenty of people prepared to forego the views and hike in low visibility just to say they’ve made it to the highest point in Wales.

With the immense popularity of Snowdon, however, comes increasingly busy paths. And even during the week, you’ll probably encounter queues to take a selfie on the summit if you so wish to do so.

On our Crib Goch hike recently, we hikes up to the Snowdon summit but in the end opted not to bother queuing just to get to the trig.

snowdon summit queues

The summit queues above were a midweek afternoon (albeit the weather was good).

And it might not be the most popular opinion out there, but I’d argue that the view of Snowdon is actually even better than the view from Snowdon.

For me, part of the appeal of mountain hiking is the quiet and the peace. Personally, I love getting to a summit and finding I have the place to myself. Selfish, I know. But I’m not even sorry.

So for me, the highlight of that recent Crib Goch trip was far from the Snowdon summit.

I did very much appreciate the views of Snowdon, however, from Garnedd Ugain and Crib Goch.

So if you’re also a prefer-the-solitude type of hiker who wants to hike mountains in North Wales but would rather skip summit queues, then here’s the list for you. Here’s our six favourite Snowdon alternatives for mountain walkers in North Wales.

Garnedd Ugain – 1,065m

garnedd ugain with snowdon background-min (1)

This summit was a real highlight of a recent trail for me. Its rugged and weathered trig point clearly doesn’t get the same love and maintenance that its busier neighbour does (Snowdon). But equally, while Snowdon was very close by with queues at the summit, this peak was empty. And look at the view of Snowdon from Garnedd Ugain. Spectacular.

Besides, a weathered trig point holds a certain charm for me. This was a view I’ll remember.

I hiked Garnedd Ugain as part of the below Crib Goch route.

It was a real highlight, for me. It was a completely quiet summit with excellent views of Snowdon itself.

If you’d prefer not to scramble, you could access this summit from the Llanberis path as well. Or by turning right instead of left at the top of the Pyg Track.

It’s only 20m shorter than Snowdon, so it’s altitude you’re looking for, you’ll get it here. And it’s genuinely spectacular summit.

Cadair Idris – 893m

If you’d rather not even be that close to Snowdon, then Cadair Idris is another option. Still a fairly popular mountain with hikers in North Wales, it is far quieter than Snowdon.

The out and back pony path is the most straightforward but there are plenty of other options too.

A challenging hike, whichever way you go, the views on a clear day are absolutely spectacular.

Crib Lem Spur and Carnedd Dafydd

Crib Lem Spur-min

The Crib Lem Spur is an incredible scrambling route. In difficulty, I think it’s similar to Crib Goch. But it is NOTABLY quieter. There’s a fair walk into it, making it slightly less accessible than Crib Goch. And that makes for a crowd free day!
 

This route also takes in 3 mountain summits in the form of Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn and Yr Elen.
The views (if you get lucky with the weather) are something else!

Yr Elen

If you don’t fancy scrambling, you can access the summit of Yr Elen without involving the Crib Lem Spur at all.

I saw my favourite sunset of the season and incredible cloud show from this summit in September 2023.

It was so peaceful up there and, despite being a glorious weather day, there wasn’t a human in sight all day. This was an amazing solo day.

Here’s the route with no Crib Lem!

Tryfan North Ridge

This is another scrambling route so more suited to those with a head for heights. But Tryfan is quite something.

tryfan summit adam and eve stones

It’s definitely not the quiestest mountain I’ve tackled and you’ll almost certainly encounter other people. But it was nowhere near as busy at Snowdon gets!

Y Garn (Via Devil’s Kitchen)

Y Garn is the 10th highest summit in Wales.


This route does require a little scrambling  but the reward is worth it (if you get a clear enough day).

Snowdonia is a Mountain Hiker’s Dream

The reality is that you could probably climb any hill or mountain in Snowdonia and enjoy a beautiful route with wonderful views on a clear day. 

There’s an element of challenge to the “highest mountain in Wales.” But in reality, it’s not the most challenging hike. And while the views from Snowdon are beautiful, it’s probably not the hike for people who like solitude on their walks.

So if you’re not so keen on crowds, maybe try another mountain!

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