- 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?
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.
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
|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.
|Start Ben Nevis||5.00pm|
|Ben Nevis Return||10.00pm|
|Start Scafell Pike||3.30am|
|Scafell Pike Return||7.30am|
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.
|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.
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.
The Discovery Walking Guide is a single map with a dedicated page to each of the National Three Peaks. The maps are durable, waterproof and zoomed in for easier navigation. Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon have their dedicated page and the routes are highlighted up each of the National Three Peaks.
If you prefer the traditional OS Maps, you need a separate map for each mountain.
Ben Nevis map is OS Explorer 392 Ben Nevis & Fort William
Scafell Pike map is OS Explorer OL6 The English Lakes – South Western area
Snowdon map is OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley
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
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.
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.
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.