Walking In Snowdonia
Snowdonia walks are a timeless adventure, and 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 trails that attract most modern day visitors, with many looking to complete a wide variety of Snowdonia walks.
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 walking trip here is a really varied adventure. Snowdonia walks will also expose you to some rare and wonderful wildlife species that call the region home, 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 – so 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
As can be seen in this list of the top 10 walks in Snowdonia, the park 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 Snowdonia walks that are sure to give younger visitors the hiking bug. You’ll find hwalks 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 walks have 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 walks 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 walking 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 walks. 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.
Find other fantastic walking regions in the United Kingdom
Best Hikes in Snowdonia
The Bochlwyd Horseshoe is a major adventure on the slopes - one of the best in all Snowdonia! It’s as much a scramble as it is a walk, with plenty of portions requiring your hands as well as feet. Experience is required! It starts with a summit of Tryfan via the North Ridge with the descent along its South Ridge, bringing you to the foot of Bristly Ridge. A scramble up the gulleys eventually leads to the summit of Glyder Fach and nearby Castell-y-Gwynt. Your final descent is down the slopes of Y Gribin, a path cutting across rivers and streams to return to your starting point.
Moel Wnion from Rachub
Walking up Moel Wnion from Rachub is a superb exploration of the Carneddau’s lower reaches. A gate at the end of the road opens onto a path up Moel Faban, the first of your three summits today. Down into a bwlch, then up to the summit of Gyrn - two down, one to go! The final push up Moel Wnion rewards you with breathtaking coastal views over Anglesey. The first part of your return is steep, but quickly smooths out into a pleasant walk back to the village.
Y Garn and the Glyderau
The Glyderau may be the most celebrated mountain range within Snowdonia National Park, and this full-day adventure visits the highlights! There’s plenty of scrambling involved, so make sure you have experience and a comfort level with steep terrain. Start with a summit of Tryfan via the North Ridge, jumping between the twin pillars of Adam and Eve. Then it’s down the South Ridge in order to ascend the gnarled Bristly Ridge. The wonderful summit of Glyder Fach awaits, leading to nearby Castell y Gwynt and Glyder Fawr. The final big peak is Y Garn, with panoramic views of the mountains in all directions. Make one last summit push at Foel Goch and descend back to the A5, having conquered the best of the Glyderau.
Snowdon via Crib Goch and Miner’s Track
Of all the many routes up Snowdon, this approach via Crib Goch may be the most demanding! The walk starts along the Pyg Track, veering off to climb Crib Goch. This is a proper scramble and should only be undertaken by experienced, confident hill walkers. A stroll along the ridge provides breathtaking vistas in all directions. Continue past Garnedd Ugain and meet up with the Llanberis Path for the final push to the summit of Snowdon. Your return follows the winding Miner’s Track along the alpine lakes.
Foel Goch via Bwlch Tryfan Walk
A walk up Foel Goch via Bwlch Tryfan is an excellent way to take in the iconic beauty of Tryfan without actually having to climb it! Starting from Llyn Ogwen, walk around the base of the mountain until you reach Bwlch Tryfan, then join the Miner’s Track to summit Foel Goch. Its southern position provides a fantastic vantage point to look upon Tryfan and the Glyderau. A straightforward ridge walk brings you east along a number of smaller summits, finishing the walk in Capel Curig.
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