Snowdonia is a walker’s paradise. Whether you’re heading for the summit of Mount Snowdown (where on clear days, you can see as far as Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Lake District) or enjoying a more leisurely walk along less challenging trails, Snowdonia offers plenty of options to choose from. Here are ten of the best:
The Snowdon Horseshoe
Image credit@Hill Explorer
One of the best ridge walks in Wales, The Snowdown Horseshoe is not one for the faint hearted. However, if you have a head for heights and a good amount of experience as a walker, there’s no reason you can’t conquer this exciting trail. The walk takes in three peaks, Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl (the second highest mountain in Snowdonia) and the majestic summit of Snowdon.
Along the way, you can enjoy lots of spectacular scenery and, in summer months, at the top of Snowdon you can get refreshments at the mountaintop café.
Time: 5-6 hours
Start Point: Pen-y-Pass
Finish Point: Pen-y-Pass
Cwm Idwal, Ogwen
Image credit@National Trust
Cwm Idwal is one of the easier mountain walks you’ll find across Snowdonia. The trail heads around a glacial valley and Llyn Idwal, where legend has it that Prince Idwal was drowned by jealous Nefydd in the 12th century. Along the trail you can enjoy views of mountain peaks and ridges and see the burial mounds of Prince Idwal and his men. You’ll also cross over a pretty waterfall and walk along the banks of the lake.
Time: 2 hours
Start Point: Ogwen Warden Centre, Nant Ffrancon, Bethesda
Finish Point: Ogwen Warden Centre, Nant Ffrancon, Bethesda
Image credit@The Great Outdoors
Part of the walk up Moel Llyfnant follows the Great Western Railway track, disused since the 1960s and now a grassy path lined with rowan trees and thickets. It’s a relatively sedate climb up to the top, passing the ruins of Amnodd-bwll and views of Arenig Fawr.
Up at the summit, you’ll get an impressive view of Snowdon to the north and Aran to the south whilst a little below the summit you’ll come across a small manganese mine and the ruins of old mining buildings.
Time: 5 hours
Start Point: Pont Rhyd-y-fen car park at junction of B4391 and A4212
Finish Point: Pont Rhyd-y-fen car park at junction of B4391 and A4212
Torrent Walk, Dolgellau
This circular route offers a moderate challenge for walkers and can be completed easily in a few hours. The walk follows the Clywedog River through a striking gorge. You’ll pass old industrial buildings, harking back to the days of mills and smithies, and may be able to spot some of the area’s many wildlife species, which include otters, dormice and lesser horseshoe bats.
Time: 1-2 hours
Start Point: Lay-by near the village of Brithdir on the B4416
Finish Point: Lay-by near the village of Brithdir on the B4416
Snowdon Ranger Path
Snowdon Ranger Path is one of the more challenging routes making the ascent up impressive Mount Snowdon. It’s thought to be the first of the six main routes up to the summit and is named after John Morton, a mountain guide and self-declared ranger who set up an inn known as the “Snowdon Ranger” at the site where the youth hostel at the start of the walk stands today.
On the way up to the summit, you’ll pass old farm buildings and, once close to the top of the mountain, you can enjoy views of other mountains in the chain, Llechog ridge and Cwm Clogwyn with its three small lakes.
Time: 6 hours
Start Point: Llyn Cwellyn Car Park, off the A4085
Finish Point: Llyn Cwellyn Car Park, off the A4085
Image credit@Snowdonia National Park
This walk has the old gold mines at Clogau as its mid-way point, before you head back to where you started at Dolgellau. The mines are located on a peak where you can enjoy vistas of southern Snowdonia and the Mawddach estuary. Paths up to the top are shaded by oak trees, flanked by gorges and pass through the Garth Gell Woods RSPB Nature Reserve.
Time: 3 hours
Start Point: Lay-by at Dolgellau end of Bontddu off A496
Finish Point: Lay-by at Dolgellau end of Bontddu off A496
Minffordd Path, Cadair Idris
Image credit@Walking Forum
There are various route up Cadair Idris but Minffordd Path is probably the shortest, if the steepest option. Cadair Idris translates as Idris’ Chair and there are various theories as to where the name originates; some say that Idris was a giant and others link him with the legend of King Arthur. Whatever legend you choose to believe, you’ll experience spectacular scenery and breath-taking views on an ascent up the mountain.
Time: 5 hours
Start Point: Dôl Idris Car Park
Finish Point: Dôl Idris Car Park
The Fisherman’s Path and Cwm Bychan
Image credit@National Trust
Departing from the pretty village of Beddgelert, this trail follows the River Glaslyn, up through Cwm Bychan and on towards Llyn Dinas. It’s a challenging walk with hilly inclines and narrow, winding stretches. You’ll pass old copper mines, walk through picturesque copses and see views of Snowdon, Moel Siabod and Nant Gwynant.
Time: 4–6 hours
Start Point: National Park car park, Beddgelert on the A498
Finish Point: National Park car park, Beddgelert on the A498
Panorama Walk, Barmouth
The Panorama Walk heads through some rough and wet terrain over fields and through woods. It’s a varied walk with spectacular views of the Mawddach estuary, the Cader Idris range and Cardigan Bay. You’ll walk past Victorian gardens and the popular climbing spot at Garn and make a stop at the Panorama Walk Viewpoint.
Time: 3-4 hours
Start Point: SNPA car park 1 mile from Barmouth
Finish Point: SNPA car park 1 mile from Barmouth
Craig y Ddinas Walk
Image credit@Brecon Beacons
The Craig y Ddinas Walk follows a trail from Cors Y Gedol Hall, up to the Iron Age hillfort of Craig y Ddinas. The well-preserved hillfort is located 350 metres above sea level and, from the top, you can enjoy spectacular views of the sea and mountains below. Even before you reach the impressive remains, you’ll come across Bronze Age burnt-stone mounds, Medieval building foundations and a Neolithic burial cairn, making this walk an excellent choice for history and archaeology enthusiasts as well as those looking forward to the beautiful view from the summit.
Time: 2-3 hours
Start Point: Car park near Cors y Gedol Hall
Finish Point: Car park near Cors y Gedol Hall