Best Hill Walks in Snowdonia and North Wales
Snowdonia boasts more walking than just Snowdon, so here’s our pick of the best walks in Snowdonia National Park. These are the best mountain walks in our opinion, though we’ve limited the routes so as not to take more than 2 walks from one mountain range. So we’ve probably missed a couple of walks off because we preferred some other routes in that mountain range.
Here’s our Walk up Snowdon run down of the Best Mountain Walks in Snowdonia.
The Carneddau are a must-do hill walk in Snowdonia, and this one will allow you to bag the most important ones. Starting off with a pleasant scramble up Pen yr Ole Wen along the East Ridge (as opposed to the notorious ascent from Ogwen) it continues to Carnedd Dafydd and an airy ridge walk over to Carnedd Llywelyn – the highest mountain in the range at 1064 metres in height and the second highest mountain in Wales. The walk continues onwards, down a ‘bad step’ on Craig yr Ysfa and desecending down via Cwm Lygwy. You can also extend this walk on and over to Pen yr Helgi Du and Pen Llithrig y Wrach for an even longer day out.
This is one of the best scrambling day outs in Snowdonia. It includes not just one, but four named scrambles that would be among the best ascents on many other mountains. It ascends Tryfan North Ridge and descends the South Ridge before ascending Bristly Ridge up to Glyder Fach. The fun doesn’t stop there as the route continues with a down scramble of Y Gribin ridge to Cwm Bochlwyd. An excellent day out in the welsh mountains.
The Glyderau are among our favourite walks, and while the Bochlwyd Horseshoe is a bit technical for many, the routes up via Devil’s Kitchen should be within most hill goer’s ability. The astute might notice that we’ve actually included TWO walks here – with the ascent up the Devil’s Kitchen being the important part.
We’ve already mentioned the Bochlwyd Horseshoe as one of the best scrambling days out, here’s another! This scramble starts in Pen y Pass by ascending Crib Goch and Crib y Ddysgl to Snowdon. The descent then includes the scramble over Y Lliwedd, which is easier than Crib Goch but should not be underestimated.
As we decided to limit the walks from each range to two walks, we had only one other to pick from Snowdon – and this is the one we’d plump for! While the Watkin Path is a popular walk, we still prefer the South Ridge. The best option is to ascend the South Ridge from Nant Gwynant and descend via Y Lliwedd. The South Ridge is barely a scramble, with one short section that might require hands, and some exposure on Bwlch Main as you approach Snowdon Summit.
Keeping on the theme of scrambles, this short scramble up Moel Siabod would have to be our first choice for Moel Siabod. The walk in is also varied, with an initial pull up, a walk past a quarry lake and finally Llyn y Foel before you even start on the scramble! Views towards the higer summits of Snowdonia are wonderful.
Cnicht, aka the Welsh Matterhorn owing to it’s appearance from certain angles, is one of the more popular mountains in Snowdonia. While it makes a fine outing on it’s own, it would be a short one. Much better to combine it with the mountains of Moelwyn Bach and Mawr, the latter being the highest point in the Moelwyn hills other than Moel Siabod.
There are a number of variations on this walk, but the important section of the actual ridge tends to stay the same. Whether you extend it, walk it twice or just in the opposite direction; it’s still one of the best hill days going. Relatively short, it still packs in a summit every half hour once you attain the ridge with each one having it’s own distinct personality. Y Garn has a huge cairn, Drws y Coed is a rocky ridge, Trum y Ddysgl has a flat bare summit, Tal y Mignedd a tall obelisk, Craig Cwm Silyn has the feel of the highest mountain, Garnedd Goch has it’s trig point and Mynydd Graig Goch a wide moorland with some interesting tors to clamber over.
Beddgelert’s own mountain is a worthy inclusion on this list of walks in Snowdonia, with this route being the best one. It’s a popular mountain, but the route up is far from easy, and deceptively harder than it looks. For the best mountain day, you need to continue your walk over Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn to create a satisfying circular walk.
Climb these mountains if you dare! These hills are rough, with the going slow, especially in the section known as the Basdlands around Craig Wion. While you may choose to pick a shorter section of the range, we think that the best option is a traverse of the entire range from Trawfynydd to Barmouth. That’s a big ask in one day, but makes a perfect route for a 2 or 3 day backpack (we took 2 nights, starting with a short day – it’s just more enjoyable and the camping is part of the fun)
Many hill goers won’t have heard of these mountains in the less popular part of the national park, which keeps them quiet for those of us who have. Surrounded mainly by lower ground, the views from Arenig Fawr are among the widest in Snowdonia. Add on Moel Llyfnant to create a satisfying circular walk.
Aran Fawddwy is the highest mountain in South Snowdonia, even though most people would think of Cader Idris. These hills can be ascended from Cwm Cywarch near Dinas Mawddwy, Rhydymain in the west or from Llanuwchllyn. We’ve plumped for the ascent from Llanuwchllyn as it gives you a view of the well hidden cliffs above Creiglyn Dyfi. You can cut the route shorter by walking down Cwm Ddu rather than climbing over the final summit of Esgeiriau Gwynion.
The Minffordd Path is our favourite walk up Cader Idris, as it has a bit of everything. It has an initial ascent up a gorge, a view over a mountain tarn and an ascent over another mountain and a ridge walk before you reach the summit unlike the other walks to the summit of Cader Idris.
We ummed and aaahed about including this path, but as it’s so popular we decided to keep it in simply for the views back across the Mawddach. If Snowdon can have two walks on this list, then so can Cader Idris!
This is the only walk on this list outside the Snowdonia National Park (and why it’s a North Wales Post!) and can be found in the hills of the Berwyn range. Largely heathery and rounded, they provide something a little different to the rockier summits further west. They can be a bit wet, and are best tackled in drier or colder conditions when the ground is frozen. As they are far inland and still reasonably lofty at 830 m in height, they have a high probability of snow in the winter.
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Recommended Walking Guides: A Pocket Guide to Snowdon: A Guide to the Routes of Ascent, The Ascent of Snowdon: The Six Classic Routes Up Snowdon, Snowdon – The Story of a Welsh Mountain: Biography of a Mountain
Walking Books – Snowdonia Ridges of Snowdonia: The Best Ridge Walking, Mountain Walks: The Finest Mountain Walks in Snowdonia, Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia , Day Walks in Snowdonia, Mountain Walking in Snowdonia
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