Tryfan North Ridge Scrambling and Hiking Route

Tryfan North Ridge Cannon Stone
Tryfan's North Ridge route offers up some absolutely spectacular scrambling and incredible views. So I was delighted to stick the out of office on and head over there for a hiking morning on a sunny May Friday. Here's how it went!


Tryfan North Ridge Hike (Well, Scramble)

Tryfan has been on the list for a while for me. After Crib Goch and Aonach Eagach I had something of a taste for a good scramble! So I took a sunny Friday out of office and made the most of the good weather, leaving home at 5am to reach Llyn Ogwen at the foot of Tryfan just after 7am. Here’s how my hike up Tryfan’s North Ridge and back down the South Ridge went.

Hike date12th May 2023
Weather conditionsSunny and warm
Distance hikedApprox 7.2km
Walking time4.5 hours (including stopping to mess with the drone)
Elevation gain total601m
TerrainVery rocky scrambling route up (more scrambling than hiking). Scramble down the South ridge at the beginning and then a rocky path
Hiked withSolo

Tryfan North Ridge Route

This is the route I followed (although allow for slight variations as you pick your own scrambling routes). There’s no real “path” for much of this route and it’s often a case of picking out a route yourself.

AllTrails estimated this route at under 5km, but for me it came in at over 7km (Apple Watch tracked). Now, I deviated from the route in some places but such is the nature of a scramble like this, you’ll often find yourself finding the “path” isn’t a path at all and taking different ways around things. But here’s the route I based my own hike up Tryan on.

tryfan's summitI parked up in a small car park beside Llyn Ogwen right by the start of the trail. I ascended via the North Ridge and descended via the South Ridge.

Towards the very end of the descent it got a little boggy, but otherwise this is a hiking/scrambling route that’s very rocky by nature.

From the bottom of the route, you can’t see the summit. You can see the half way-ish point. And what’s evident is that the scrambling starts early. Minor scrambling begins within minutes of starting the trail. And once you reach the Cannon Stone (pictured in the main image on this post) the scrambling begins in earnest and the difficulty goes up a notch. The Cannon Stone marks the start of the North Ridge proper. And while an excellent photo opportunity, it’s easy to miss the Cannon Stone because of all the different possible routes you might take.

But if you spot it, it’s well worth stopping for a photo opportunity. And if you’re using something like AllTrails, it has the location for the Cannon Stone bang on.

How difficult is Tryfan’s North Ridge?

It’s not a hike. It’s a scramble with a bit of hiking. Most of the way up you’ll be scrambling and clambering over rocks.

And honestly, I thought that the scrambling on Tryfan was more difficult than the scrambling on Crib Goch (but Crib Goch has the exposure to content with).

That said, for those who like scrambling (me!) this is an utterly incredible route.

I had a clear day and dry rock. So the views were just impeccable.

I don’t think Tryfan is suitable for beginners, personally. And I’d suggest that if you’re looking for some first scrambles to tackle then the Lake District’s Blencathra is a great mountain to head to with both Hall’s Fell Ridge and Sharp Edge offering good first foray into scrambling. 

Is Tryfan North Ridge Exposed?

It’s not as exposed (or at least as consistently exposed) as Crib Goch or perhaps even Striding Edge. But there are exposed parts of the route.

Ultimately, if you’re incredibly uncomfortable with exposed heights it might not be a good route for you.

Is Tryfan North Ridge Dangerous?

Yes. Any mountain scrambling has the potential to be dangerous.

I planned my hike at Tryfan for a good weather day when the rock was dry. But even then, I was acutely aware of the possibility of 2 things:

  1. Taking a “wrong” route that would land me on a higher grade of scrambling
  2. Scrambling myself into something I couldn’t then scramble myself back out of. So I took my time. The benefit of clear weather is I was able to see the route in front of me well and plan a little better.
  3. The descent starts with downwards scrambling and I found some of this quite tricky. It’s easy to become complacent on descent, particularly if you’re tired. So it’s always worth just taking your time and making a conscious effort be aware of your footing when coming off the summit

Personally, I wouldn’t want to do this route on a bad weather day (though plenty of experienced scramblers do so for the challenge, no doubt).

The views make it worth it! And sometimes, looking back on a section you’ve just scrambled up leaves you thinking “how did I manage that?”

The Summit’s Adam and Eve Stones

tryfan summit adam and eve stones

Tryfan’s summit it marked by two protruding rocks referred to as “Adam and Eve.” Many choose to jump across them. I settled just for sitting on them! But the summit really is beautiful and the views were just spectacular.

It was a pretty great place to stop for a coffee and sandwich!

And honestly, I won’t forget the views of this particular hike in a rush.

Tips for Tryfan

A few tips for hiking Tryfan based on my experience.

  • Go midweek and early! I’ve seen photos of Tryfan looking a lot busier. And honestly, I think when I’m scrambling, the last thing I want is a “queue.” So I was so glad if only seeing a few people all day
  • Pick a good weather day where the previous day was also dry for the best chance of dry rock. I encountered one area of wet rock and it was slippy. So I imagine Tryfan would be a different challenge altogether on a wet day
  • Don’t underestimate the descent. Yes, the South Ridge route down is much much simpler than the North Ridge route up, but that initial descent can be tricky, particularly if you’re tired and your concentration has lapsed
  • Plan several moved ahead. If you can see far enough ahead of you (if visibility is playing ball) then look before you scramble to plan your next section of route to save yourself from scrambling yourself into something you then have to get down from

Would I do Tryfan again?

Yes. I’d absolutely hike up Tryfan again. This was a cracking scramble and I hope to make it back late summer.


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