Exploring the Three Peaks: Easiest to Hardest Routes for Hiking with Children

Embarking on the challenge of hiking the Three Peaks – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon – is a bucket list adventure for many outdoor enthusiasts. While each peak offers its own unique charms and challenges, deciding which one is the most suitable for hiking with children can be a daunting task. In this article, I will delve into the characteristics of each peak and rank them from easiest to hardest for families looking to tackle this iconic trio with kids in tow.

1. Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) – Wales

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Height: 1,085 metres (3,560 feet)
Distance: Varies depending on the route, typically around 7-10 miles round trip
Duration: 4-6 hours

Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, offers a range of well-maintained paths catering to hikers of all abilities, making it the most family-friendly of the Three Peaks. The Llanberis Path, in particular, provides a gradual ascent with stunning views and ample opportunities for breaks along the way. Families with younger children may opt for the Snowdon Mountain Railway for a more leisurely ascent or choose shorter routes such as the Pyg Track or Miner’s Track.

2. Scafell Pike – England

Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Height: 978 metres (3,209 feet)
Distance: Varies depending on the route, typically around 5-8 miles round trip
Duration: 5-8 hours

Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, offers a more challenging hiking experience compared to Snowdon, with steeper ascents and rougher terrain. The route from Wasdale Head via Brown Tongue is the most straightforward path to the summit, but it still requires a good level of fitness and stamina, especially for younger hikers. Families with older children and teenagers who are experienced hikers may enjoy the adventure and sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering Scafell Pike.

3. Ben Nevis – Scotland

Photo by Mac McDade on Unsplash

Difficulty: Challenging
Height: 1,345 metres (4,413 feet)
Distance: Varies depending on the route, typically around 8-10 miles round trip
Duration: 6-9 hours

Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK, presents the most demanding hiking challenge of the Three Peaks, with steep ascents, rocky terrain, and unpredictable weather conditions. The Mountain Track, also known as the Tourist Route, is the most popular path to the summit, but it requires a high level of fitness and endurance, as well as proper navigation skills. Families considering hiking Ben Nevis with children should be prepared for a long and strenuous day on the mountain, with potential hazards such as loose rocks, high winds, and rapidly changing weather.

Tips for Hiking with Children:

Photo by Mac McDade on Unsplash
  1. Choose the Right Route: Select a route that matches your family’s fitness level, experience, and age of children. Stick to well-marked paths and avoid routes with challenging terrain or technical difficulties.
  2. Start Early: Begin your hike early in the day to allow plenty of time for breaks, rest stops, and summit attempts. This also helps avoid crowds and ensures you have enough daylight to complete the hike safely.
  3. Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, layers of clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a fully charged mobile phone or GPS device for navigation and emergencies.
  4. Monitor Weather Conditions: Keep a close eye on the weather forecast leading up to your hike and be prepared for sudden changes in weather, including rain, wind, and low visibility.
  5. Encourage Exploration: Take breaks to explore points of interest along the trail, such as mountain streams, rock formations, and scenic viewpoints. Encourage children to engage with their surroundings and appreciate the natural beauty of the landscape.


Embarking on the challenge of hiking the Three Peaks with children is a rewarding and memorable adventure that offers families the chance to bond, explore, and conquer challenges together in the great outdoors. While Snowdon may be the most accessible option for families with younger children, older kids and teenagers may enjoy the challenge of tackling Scafell Pike or Ben Nevis. With careful planning, preparation, and a spirit of adventure, families can create lasting memories and experience the beauty of the UK’s highest peaks together. So gather your gear, lace up your hiking boots, and set out on an epic journey to conquer the Three Peaks with your loved ones by your side.

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