Classic Walks in Snowdonia – Cader Idris Pony Path
The Pony Path is the easiest and most popular route up Cader Idris.
Start and Finish:
Distance: 4.6 km
Ascent: 717 m
Time: Allow five to six hours both ways
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Before You Walk up Snowdon, ask yourself – Are you equipped? Do you know what you’re doing? Are the conditions safe? If you answer no to any of these, stay safe, don’t go! Check the weather forecast and make sure you know about walking up Snowdon in the Snow. If you lack experience – hire a Snowdon Mountain Guide.
Toilets at the car park and the Gwernan Lake Hotel isn’t too far down the road. There are campsites nearby, and the YHA at Kings.
Navigation off summit in mist.
Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path, Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.
Classic Walks in Snowdonia – Cader Idris Pony Path Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
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Classic Walks in Snowdonia – Cader Idris Pony Path
Many may give the Minffordd Path the accolade of best walk up Cader Idris. But the Cader Idris Pony Path, known as llwybr Pilin Pwn in Welsh, is a classic Snowdonia walk in it’s own right, and is regarded as the easiest path of All the Walks up Cader Idris,
Please note that some people have been ending up on the wrong side of Cader Idris near Dolgellau on private land by following the post code that Google had for the Pony Path. We think this has been resolved, but ensure you use the one provided above – LL40 1TN – and ensuring you end up in the car park and not actually on the lane at the start of the path. Use this link – Ty Nant – in order to get directions EXACTLY to the car park.
Cader Idris Pony Path Route Description
1 – The Pony Path route starts at the Ty Nant car park, which has toilets and picnic area. Run by the National Park it is £5 for a full day, or £2.50 for up to 4 hours if feeling confident of a swift up and down! This is not a large car park, and during high season there is an overspill to the adjoining field.
Leaving the car park take a right over the bridge along the minor road until you see the signposted route to the left.
2 – Follow the path passing a farmhouse accompanied by bunkhouse on your left, before passing a small wooded area and crossing a stone footbridge over the stream.
3 – The path immediately starts to climb steadily from here, with a few gates to navigate along the way up the hill side, which has recently been repaired with stone steps to keep from further erosion. With the Cyfrwy Arete dominating your view this section should pose no real problems.
4 – A steep slope with an ascent of around 100m now lies ahead, known as Rhiw Gwredydd. Pushing on here you’ll come to a natural turn with a large boulder around half way. Take a moment here to look back and admire the view of the Mawddach estuary meeting the Cardigan coast at the popular town of Barmouth.
5 – Carry on for a short while and you’ll reach a fence with gate and style. Weather permitting this is a good place to stop for a drink and snacks, where you can admire more views, this time out to Llanfihangel y Pennant, Tyrau Mawr, and of course your destination Cadair Idris.
6 – After the gate/style you’ll need to take a left, across a stretch of path placed to stop the already considerable erosion of the peaty ground.
7 – Once again the path stats to climb, this time along a series of steep zig zags, passing a number of monstrous cairns along the way. Such is the problem that the National Park have issued a warning to “Please refrain from building stone cairns” on the gate you just passed.
8 – Topping out briefly, you’ll need to keep a steady pace as the path gets rockier and larger boulders appear. There’s a short section of easy scrambling to be negotiated, which shouldn’t pose any challenges.
7 – Not far after the scrambling you arrive at the summit, with it’s trig on top of the summit cairn. Interestingly the summit is called Pen y Gader, not Cader Idris!
Just below it a shelter maintained by the Snowdonia National Park Warden Service, which may be useful if the weather is foul. Otherwise enjoy your reward of impressive views of Y Rhinogydd and Snowdonia to the North and the hills of Mid Wales to the south.
8 – On your decent from Pen y Gader there should be no major challenges, but do ensure you trace your way back to the same route you came up, as there are differing path options to be had.
Once back in the car leaving the Ty Nant car park back towards Dolegllau, a stop at the Gwernan Lake Hotel for some refreshments is well recommended.
For more walks up Cader Idris, visit our All the Walking Routes up Cader Idris article on our sister site Mud and Routes.
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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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