Walking In Snowdonia

Region in Wales, United Kingdom

The mere mention of the name Snowdonia is enough to excite most hikers. This majestic region is Wales’ crowning glory, an immense landscape filled with deep valleys and crevasses, angular ridges and wild moorland. Snowdonia is justifiably popular, drawing thousands of hikers in the peak season, but there are plenty of lesser-known routes where visitors can immerse themselves in Wales’ wild beauty.

Snowdonia is an ancient landscape, with a strong sense of Welsh culture and a history that goes back thousands of years. These wild mountains once provided shelter to some of Wales’ most famous leaders, including the medieval prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. The region was later shaped by human activity, including farming and mining, which left an indelible mark on the landscape and part of this cultural heritage can be seen in the picturesque Welsh-speaking villages of North Wales. However, it’s the park’s rugged terrain and magnificent hiking trails that attract most visitors today.

Snowdonia is a land of tall peaks and deep valleys, with rugged, rocky hillsides and picturesque lakes. You’ll move from soaring mountains to long sandy beaches in the same day, meaning that a hiking trip here is a really varied adventure. It’s also home to some rare and wonderful wildlife, including birds of prey such as the osprey, merlin and peregrine falcon, and wild goats, otters, deer and pine martens. In particular, keep your eyes open for the exquisite Snowdon lily, which grows in the crags of Cwm Idwal.

This natural paradise is just waiting to be discovered – what’s holding you back? To trigger your wanderlust, here’s our pick of all the best hikes in Snowdonia.

Top 10 Walks In Snowdonia

Snowdonia really has something for everyone, from pleasant easy walks through the valleys to thrilling ascents of soaring peaks and craggy ridges. Snowdon has long been a training ground for avid mountaineers, and many climbers visit this region in preparation for an attempt on Everest. As a result, experienced walkers will find plenty to challenge them in North Wales, including the ascent of Snowdon itself, via one of the many routes up the mountain.

However, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic or an experienced hiker to enjoy walking in Snowdonia. This region is perfect for families, with many short, easy walks that are sure to give younger visitors the hiking bug. You’ll find hikes to suit all tastes, experience and fitness levels, from pleasant low-key strolls through the valleys, or fun trails that snake through lush woodland. Whatever you’re looking for, Snowdonia has it all.

  • Rhaeadr Ddu and Coed Ganllwyd Walk: This spectacular walk showcases the majesty of Snowdonia without requiring too much exertion. The trail follows the River Gamlan, ascending through green woodland and passing by the gushing waterfalls of Rhaeadr Ddu (Welsh for ‘Black Falls”). This walk is best appreciated after heavy rain when the river and falls are at full flow, but make sure to bring sturdy footwear as the path can be slippery!
  • Llyn Ogwen Walk: This wonderful hike isn’t too strenuous, but it’s certainly a lot of fun, making it one of the best easy walks in Snowdonia. The trickiest part of the route is finding the path at the beginning, as you’ll need to scramble over a few boulders as you proceed towards the lake. The path circles Llyn Ogwen, offering fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and making this a thoroughly enjoyable easy hike in Snowdonia.
  • Cwm Idwal Walk: This short hike is a delight, and one of our favorite family walks in Snowdonia! There’s a short, steep climb at the beginning, but the rest of the trail is relatively easy and suitable for young children, leading to a spectacular hidden lake and a series of lovely waterfalls. Kids will love exploring this wild place, and there is plenty to keep older walkers happy too!
  • Swallow Falls Walk: The route to Swallow Falls is a wonderful family hike in Snowdonia, passing alongside the Llugwy River all the way to the sensational Swallow Falls. Take your time here and appreciate the gushing water before continuing until you reach the Ty Hyll Tearoom at the Ugly House, where you can enjoy some well-earned refreshments and explore the lovely gardens and bee exhibition. We think this is one of the best family walks in Snowdonia.
  • Snowdon Via The Watkin Path Walk: You can’t visit Snowdonia without a walk up the eponymous mountain itself, a highlight of any walking trip to Wales. However, Snowdon is one of the most-visited mountains in the UK, and you’re likely to be sharing your path with many other walkers. That’s why we prefer the ascent via the Watkin Path, which offers incredibly scenic views and is much quieter than some of the other routes. It’s a challenging hike, but without doubt, one of the best day walks in Snowdonia.
  • Pyg Track to Snowdon and Miner’s Track Walk: This route up Snowdon is not the easiest path, but it offers the quickest and shortest way to access the summit. The ascent begins gently, but the path soon becomes more rugged, requiring a little scrambling in places. However, the scenery along the route just keeps getting better and better, descending past old mines on the Miner’s Track. This is a wonderful way to spend a day in Snowdonia’s rugged scenery.
  • Snowdon Horseshoe Walk: Looking for one of the best challenging walks in Snowdonia? The Snowdon Horseshoe walk is a strenuous hike, and certainly not for the faint of heart, but it will lead you along one of the most rewarding trails in Snowdonia. The phenomenal ridgeline of Crib Goch offers incredible views, taking you all the way to the summit of Snowdon, descending via the Watkin Path. This walk is an epic day out in some of Wales’ finest landscapes.
  • Moel Siabod Walk: This classic Welsh mountain hike is one of the best challenging walks in Snowdonia, and gives some of the best views over Snowdon that you’ll find in the region. The final ascent is very steep and strenuous, but the rest of the walk is fairly manageable, with plenty of beautiful sights to distract you! Come on a clear day for magnificent views of Snowdon, Glyderrau and Carneddau, and a wonderful day out in some of Wales’ best scenery.
  • Dolmelynllyn Estate Walk: This tremendously varied walk has a little bit of everything to offer, from crumbled ruins and an old gold mine, to gushing waterfalls and beautiful scenery! It’s a great option for a family walk, and a good way to learn a little about Welsh history. You’ll wander through woodland and follow the path of the river before emerging out onto open moorland with expansive views. This is a delightful hike and one of the best walks in Snowdonia.
  • Barmouth Panorama Walk: Wales may be famous for its mountains, but it’s also well known for its lovely sea views. This route combines them both, climbing high above Barmouth to enjoy a wonderful panorama across the Afon Mawddach Estuary, and along the Welsh coast to Cardigan Bay. Once you’ve made the final descent, it’s time to relax on the vast white sands of Barmouth beach.

When Is The Best Time To Go Walking In Snowdonia

The best time to go walking in Snowdonia is from late spring to autumn. Although the spring weather can often be wet and windy, this is the time when the woodlands and hillsides of Snowdonia are covered in flowers. The daffodil, the national flower of Wales, can be seen throughout the region, adding a lovely dash of bright yellow to the landscape. In summer, the Welsh countryside is at its finest, with lush green fields, and the chance of some sunshine (although you should always be prepared for a rain shower!). However, Snowdonia can be extremely busy during the summer holidays, so you’ll need to book accommodation well in advance and be prepared to see lots of other people on the trail. Autumn is a wonderful time to visit, when the leaves turn and the trees explode in a riot of color. In winter, the higher elevation trails are accessible only to the most experienced and well-equipped mountaineers. Despite this, many trails stay open throughout the winter months, meaning that you’ll always find a place for a good walk, whatever time of year you choose to visit.

Other Outdoor Activities In Snowdonia

Snowdonia is Wales’ outdoor playground, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Choose from hiking, backpacking, cycling, fishing, horse riding, canoeing or kayaking, and immerse yourself in the spectacular landscapes of the Welsh mountains and valleys. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, why not try your hand at rock climbing, canyoning or coasteering!

How To Plan A Trip To Snowdonia

If Wales is on your hiking bucket list, don’t miss out on our guide to planning a trip to Snowdonia. We’ve put together a useful list of information, including ideas on where to go and where to stay and eat, coupled with lists of all our favorite Snowdonia hikes. Whether you’re going to travel in summer or winter, we’ve got everything you’ll need to plan a trip to Snowdonia.

Frequently-Asked-Questions About Snowdonia

Is it difficult to climb Snowdon?
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, standing at an elevation of 1085m. Tackling this impressive mountain is no easy feat, but it’s within the scope of most fit hikers. You’ll need to be relatively fit and to be prepared for rugged, rocky terrain. However, no specialist equipment is required and you don’t need to have mountaineering and climbing experience.

Do you have to pay to climb Snowdon?
Snowdonia National Park is completely free to access, meaning that you don’t need to pay to climb Snowdon or to any of the other fantastic hikes in this region.

Can you drive to the top of Snowdon?
It’s not possible to drive anywhere near the summit of Snowdon. However, if you’re not sure you’re able to hike all the way to the top, it’s possible to take the train. The Snowdon Mountain Railway has been in operation since 1896, departing from Llanberis station, and this is an excellent option for walkers with very young families and those who aren’t able to make the summit on foot. The views are remarkable, all the way to the top.

Is wild camping in Snowdonia legal?
Most of the land in Snowdonia National Park is privately owned, and it’s not legal to camp without the permission of the landowner. However, it’s usually possible to camp on the higher fells provided you pitch your tent away from houses and farms, and follow the Wild Camping Code.

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Best Hikes in Snowdonia

Open details for Snowdon Horseshoe

Snowdon Horseshoe

Hard
12.2 km
1,072 m
5-7h

This ridge hike is not for inexperienced hill walkers or those afraid of heights. Crib Goch is a phenomenal ridgeline - one of the best in Wales - but, it should not be underestimated. Be prepared, and avoid it in high winds and wintery conditions unless well equipped. Having said that, it is exceptional!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Llyn Ogwen

Llyn Ogwen

Easy
4.9 km
95 m
1-1.5h

This walk has stunning, mountainous views; the iconic summits of Tryfan and Glyderau will tower above you as you hike. Some scrambling is involved to begin with but, overall, it’s a relatively easy, and most definitely enjoyable, hike.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Crib Goch Hike

Crib Goch Hike

Hard
9.8 km
970 m
4.5-6h

The Crib Goch hike in Snowdonia National Park is a thrilling climb across jagged spires and razor-thin ridges to the peak of Snowden. This climb may not be for the faint of heart, but it’s a rewarding challenge for those looking to sharpen their scrambling skills and enjoy expansive views over the green-laden mountains below. This route can also be done as a loop to enjoy the serene lakeshores below the adrenaline-pumping summit.

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Open details for Coed y Brenin Walk

Coed y Brenin Walk

Easy
8.4 km
295 m
2.5-3h

The Coed y Brenin circular walk is a loop trail in Snowdonia National Park, passing through ancient green forest along the Mawddach River. This relatively flat trail reveals charming waterfalls and lush greenery, providing a peaceful and low-effort escape into nature. The Coed y Brenin trail is well-maintained, making it an easy pick for those with young children.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Snowdon via the Watkin Path

Snowdon via the Watkin Path

Hard
14.2 km
1,013 m
5.5-7.5h

Avoid the crowds and head for this less used hike to the summit of Snowdon. In good weather the views from the Bwlch Ciliau down across the horseshoe are phenomenal. Often quoted as the most scenic route up Snowdon, the Watkin Path will leave you feeling smug when you meet the masses at the summit.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Cwm Idwal Walk

Cwm Idwal Walk

Easy
4.3 km
95 m
1-1.5h

Cwm Idwal is a short and super family-friendly walk that will challenge and delight everyone! A short climb unveils a spectacular hidden lake and multiple waterfalls. This feels like a wild and remote adventure despite the quick walk in. This is an excellent option for a mixed ability group. No one will be disappointed.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Llyn Gwynant Walk

Llyn Gwynant Walk

Easy
10.3 km
401 m
3-4h

The Llyn Gwynant Walk in Snowdonia National Forest is a rarely-travelled trail to a serene lake deep in the hills of the park. As you enjoy how the lake reflects the red and green hills surrounding it, you’re unlikely to encounter more company than local wildlife. This trail presents no technical challenges or significant elevation gain, making it a perfect outing in the stellar nature of Snowdonia for hikers and walkers of any level.

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No Reviews
Open details for Pyg Track to Snowdon and Miner’s Track

Pyg Track to Snowdon and Miner’s Track

Moderate
12.1 km
841 m
4.5-6.5h

The Pyg Track is the shortest walk up Snowdon; however, it’s not the easiest one. Although busy, the trail will give you some exceptional views of the mountain and the pass below the tremendous Crib Goch Ridge. The Miner’s track is a taxing initial descent, but it provides a long, interesting, and gentle return to the start point.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.4
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Moel Siabod – A Stunning Walk in Snowdonia National Park

Moel Siabod – A Stunning Walk in Snowdonia National Park

Moderate
11.1 km
801 m
4-6h

Moel Siabod is a superb Welsh mountain hike with excellent views across Snowdonia, and a wonderful climb to the summit. This walk is a definite must for lovers of the great outdoors. The trail starts out as a relatively easy few miles before reaching a short, sharp, final ascent to the summit.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Rhaeadr Ddu and Coed Ganllwyd

Rhaeadr Ddu and Coed Ganllwyd

Very Easy
2.1 km
116 m
0.5-1h

This is a spectacular riverside walk in Snowdonia that follows the River Gamlan from Ganllwyd up to the wild Rhaeadr Ddu falls. The route will wind its way through the peaceful woodland before bringing you back to your starting point in the village.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.

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Open details for Planning Your Trip to Snowdonia, Wales

Planning Your Trip to Snowdonia, Wales

By Lukas Saville
May 7th, 2019
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