National Three Peaks Challenge

Overview

  • Ben Nevis Height (Scotland): 1,345 m; 4,413 ft
  • Scafell Pike Height (England): 978 m; 3,209 ft
  • Snowdon Height (Wales): 1,085 m; 3,560 ft
  • Time: 24 hours (to complete the challenge)
  • Total Climbing Distance: 26 miles (42 km)
  • GPX Files: Download all three routes. Desktop only. What is a GPX file?

National Three Peaks eBook

Download the 80-page National Three Peaks Challenge eBook to guide you up Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.

The National Three Peaks Challenge

The National Three Peaks Challenge consists of climbing the tallest mountains in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Snowdon) in less than 24 hours.

This guide can be used to complete the National Three Peaks in 24 hours and also at a more leisurely pace. You can complete Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon over days, weeks or even over your lifetime and everything you need to know can be found in this guide. There’s no rule to how fast you must complete the National Three Peaks.

There is no official order to complete the National Three Peaks, but the popular order is Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and finally Snowdon. Ben Nevis takes the longest to summit so it’s a bonus to complete it first. Snowdon is the easiest to climb making it a good peak for the final climb.

The Nation Three Peaks Challenge is completed within 24 hours. This guide will inform you how to complete the National Three Peaks within 24 hours or gradually over your chosen timeframe.

Routes

There are numerous routes up each mountain. The below routes are chosen for the National Three Peaks Challenge for the clarity of the track, ease of climb and for the desired speed. They are still fun, challenging and scenic. Don’t underestimate the tracks, just because they are “easier” than other routes, doesn’t make them “easy”. You will follow the selected routes up each mountain:

  • Ben Nevis – The Mountain Track (also referred to as Tourist Track)
  • Scafell Pike – Wasdale Track
  • Snowdon – Up the Pyg Track and down the Miners Track

Walk-through Guide with Photographs

There are walkthrough guides for each mountain. They include information such as parking, starting points, toilets and a step-by-step guide with photographs to help you familiarise yourself with the route to the summit of each peak. Following these guides will ensure you don’t get lost when completing each peak.

Timings for 24-hour Challenge

The timings below offer a guideline to complete the National Three Peaks in 24 hours. Be aware that road conditions are unpredictable and always try to reclaim lost time on the mountains, not on the roads. Be prepared to abandon the 24-hour window. Completing the National Three Peaks safely is more important than a designated time frame.

Do not attempt to drive and complete the National Three Peaks. Fatigue and long-distance driving is not worth the risk. Arrange a designated driver, or 2 if possible, and allow the drivers rest time.

Some sections will have to be completed in the dark. Ensure you have a good head torch and spare batteries.

Timings for Climbing Each Peak

Activity Time
Ben Nevis Return 5 hours
Drive to Scafell Pike 5 hours 30 mins
Scafell Pike Return 4 hours
Drive to Snowdon 6 hours
Snowdon Return 3 hours 30 mins
Total Driving Time 11 hours 30 mins
Total Climbing Time 12 hours 30 mins

Please remember the above timings are a guideline. Other websites may present different climbing/driving times and it is impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all time frame for every National Three Peaks attempt. Climb each peak as quickly as possible to ensure you stay within the 24-hour window.

Guideline of timings

You can start your National Three Peaks at any time. The suggested start time of 5.00pm reduces the amount of climbing you will complete in darkness. You will descend Ben Nevis during sunset and ascend Scafell Pike during sunrise. The timings below provide the opportunity for a sleep in darkness during the drive to Scafell Pike.

Activity Time
Start Ben Nevis 5.00pm
Ben Nevis Return 10.00pm
Start Scafell Pike 3.30am
Scafell Pike Return 7.30am
Start Snowdon 1.30pm
Snowdon Return 5.00pm

Average Timings for Completing the National Three Peaks

If you are not completing the National Three Peaks in 24 hours, you will have more time to appreciate the scenery and local areas. You can take your time completing each peak and enjoy breaks along the way. You will complete all three peaks in full daylight and won’t have to climb any sections in darkness.

Activity Time
Ben Nevis Return 7 hours
Scafell Pike Return 6 hours
Snowdon Return 5 hours

Hiking Equipment and Maps

It’s important to be prepared for this trip. You will be combatting all types of weather, especially at the top of Ben Nevis. The weather changes dramatically at the top of the peaks and the bottom of the peak is never a representation of the top. Make sure you have waterproof and warm clothing. Visit the equipment page to ensure you have everything required for a successful hike.

Maps

There are limited sign posts and it is essential to have a map of each area. There are multiple routes and cross roads and it is important you know the route and how to follow the map.

You need a separate map for each mountain.

Ben Nevis map is OS Explorer 392 Ben Nevis & Fort William

Ben Nevis MapScafell Pike map is OS Explorer OL6 The English Lakes – South Western area

Scafell Pike MapSnowdon map is OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley

Snowdon Map

Equipment

You will need to prepare for adverse weather. You will need waterproof and warm clothing, hats and gloves and decent walking shoes. Visit the Hiking Equipment page to view all required equipment.

Accommodation

If you are completing the National Three Peaks over 3 days, you will require accommodation in each location. No matter your party size or accommodation preference you will find somewhere to stay using the compiled list of hotels, B&Bs, bunkhouses and camping sites for each of the National Three Peaks

Final Checks

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

Are you completing the walk for charity? You can promote your National Three Peaks Challenge on the Think Adventure website for free. This is a great chance to promote the charity you are raising money for. You can include the charity’s logo, biography and a link to your fundraising page. Having your dedicated page can help increase the amount of sponsorship you raise.

After the walk you can use your page to share your day, challenge time and photographs with friends, family and colleagues. It’s an easy way to promote and remember your walk with it’s own page on the internet.

GUIDED WALKS

Lost Earth Adventures Logo

Lost Earth Adventures offer guided walks of the National Three Peaks. You can conquer just the one mountain or tackle all three in the National Three Peaks Challenge. Lost Earth Adventures do all the driving and navigating so there is nothing for you to worry about.

See more information on Lost Earth Adventures’ Guided Tour

FINISHERS T-SHIRT

Black National Three Peaks Tshirt

After completing the National Three Peaks Challenge you can wear your finisher t-shirt with pride. Climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales is a great achievement and a t-shirt is the perfect way to showcase your effort.

View the National Three Peaks Finisher T-shirts on Think Adventure’s Teemill store to see the range of colours available.

Good luck on your National Three Peaks Challenge and feel free to contact me if you have any further queries.

Download the National Three Peaks eBook

The 80-page eBook will guide you through the National Three Peaks Challenge. No getting lost!

Risk Free
100% refund if you are unhappy with the product

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National Three Peaks Challenge ebook cover