Frequently Asked Questions


What equipment do you need to complete the National Three Peaks?
When is best to complete the National Three Peaks Challenge?
How long does it take to complete each of the National Three Peaks?
Which of the National Three Peaks should I complete in the dark?
Can you complete the challenge in trainers?
Are dogs allowed on the route?
How much food/water will I need to take?
How much training is required?
Is it free to complete?
Which peak is the hardest/easiest peak to climb?
What order is best to complete the National Three Peaks?
Are there toilets at each mountain?
Do you need any specialist climbing equipment?
Do you need a guide to complete the challenge?

What equipment do you need to complete the National Three Peaks?
You need a map for each of the three mountains.

You will need a compass to use with the maps. Warm and waterproof clothes are required, even in summer, as it can be wet and cold near the summits of each mountain. You will need a good backpack to keep your equipment in. Visit the hiking equipment page to ensure you have all of the required equipment.
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When is best to complete the National Three Peaks Challenge?
For novices, the best time to complete the National Three Peaks is between June and September. May and October may offer ideal conditions but you run the risk of having to abandon your climb due to bad weather. Climbers do complete the peaks throughout the year but they have experience in the mountains and are equipped for winter climbing (crampons and ice picks). Ben Nevis can be impassable to hikers due to snow.
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How long does it take to complete each of the National Three Peaks?
If you are completing the National Three Peaks in less than 24 hours, you need to complete each peak as quick as possible. The below table is a guideline for climbing each peak to reach a sub 24-hour time.

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.

If you are tackling the National Three Peaks one at a time, rather than a 24-hour window, you have the opportunity to enjoy the climb, take plenty of breaks and go at a comfortable pace. The below table contains average times for completing the National Three Peaks at a steady pace.

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

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Which of the National Three Peaks should I complete in the dark?
Completing the National Three Peaks Challenge in 24 hours requires some sections of the National Three Peaks to be completed in darkness – make sure you have a good head torch and spare batteries. Depending on the time of year, it will vary on how much time is spent on the mountain in the dark.

Arrange your schedule so that you are driving at night. This reduces your time climbing in darkness and the roads will be clearer. An example schedule, returning from Ben Nevis and starting Scafell Pike in the dark, would look like this.

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

Be aware and courteous when completing the National Three Peaks during the early hours of the morning and late at night. There are residential areas and holiday makers near each peak and sound travels far.

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Can you complete the challenge in trainers?
It is not recommended to climb the peaks in trainers, especially if you are completing the National Three Peaks under 24 hours. Buy a pair of hiking shoes to reduce the risk of injury and to increase your comfort during the hike.
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Are dogs allowed on the route?
You can take dogs on Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Ben Nevis. Plenty of dogs complete the National Three Peaks. Ensure your dog has plenty of water and is comfortable with long distances.
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How much food/water will I need to take?
If you are completing the National Three Peaks Challenge in less than 24 hours, ensure you have enough food/water in your vehicle to reduce time at supermarkets or service stations.

Take 2-3 litres of water with you when climbing each peak.
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How much training is required?
Completing the National Three Peaks in less than 24 hours will require a good level of fitness and training may be required. You have to complete the peaks faster than the average walking times and without a good night’s sleep.

The level of training required is unique to each individual depending on fitness level and age. It is recommended to climb peaks as part of your training. You could try the Yorkshire Three Peaks in under 12 hours or try one of the National Three Peaks as a stand alone climb before committing to completing all three peaks under 24 hours.

Less training is required if you are not climbing the peaks as part of the 24-hour challenge. Without a time constraint you have plenty of time for breaks and can climb the peaks at your own pace. None of National Three Peaks are easy, so you must have a baseline of activity/fitness.
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Is it free to complete?
The National Three Peaks are free to complete, but the impact of so many visitors to Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon requires constant maintenance of the National Three Peaks. Consider donating to each of the charities to maintain the pathways up each mountain.

Which peak is the hardest/easiest peak to climb?
This answer isn’t a hard-and-fast rule and people’s opinions may vary: Ben Nevis is hardest, Snowdon is easiest and Scafell Pike is in between.

The weather can make a big difference and change the intensity of a hike. Scafell Pike has the toughest section, it’s very steep at the beginning, but the section is over relatively quick. Snowdon will feel harder when completing the three peaks in 24 hours.

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What order is best to complete the National Three Peaks?
There is no official route for completing the National Three Peaks, but the suggested order is Ben Nevis (Scotland), Scafell Pike (England), Snowdon (Wales).

This order tackles the biggest mountain first and finishes with the easiest mountain.
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Are there toilets at each mountain?
There are toilets at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre, Wasdale Car Park and Pen-y-pass Car Park. Opening times vary. Check the opening times around your schedule.
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Do you need any specialist climbing equipment?
No. In the summer months, The National Three Peaks are completed by walking and no equipment is required. There are small sections were you may need to scramble, but you do not need climbing equipment or any experience of climbing.
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Do you need a guide or Mountain Leader to complete the challenge?
No. You can plan your hikes using the detailed guides for each mountain.

  • Guide for Ben Nevis
  • Guide for Scafell Pike
  • Guide for Snowdon
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Recommended Pages for the National Three Peaks Challenge

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