Classic Walks in Snowdonia – Cader Idris via Minffordd Path
The circular route begins along the Minffordd Path and follows a ridge path around Llyn Cau to reach Cadair Idris and on to Mynydd Moel.
Start and Finish: Minffordd Pay and Display Car Park.
Distance: 8.46 km
Ascent: 907 m
Time: 4-5 hours
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 in the car park and the Cadair Tea Room is approximately 200-250 metres from the parking area.
Bus service 30 [ Tywyn – Abergynolwyn – Minffordd – Machynlleth / Dolgellau]. https://www.lloydscoaches.com/timetables.htm
Minffordd Pay and Display car park (£6 for the day).
Exposed cliff edge paths and short sections of faint footpaths which can be extremely hard to follow in poor weather.
Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Walk up Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon Safely Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.
Check the Weather before setting out.
Classic Walks in Snowdonia – Cader Idris via Minffordd Path Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
Download file for GPS
Classic Walks in Snowdonia – Cader Idris via Minffordd Path
Cader Idris is without a doubt one of Snowdonia’s most iconic mountains and the Minffordd Path the best route to the summit. On the edge of Southern Snowdonia before the mountains give way to the rolling hills of Mid-Wales, the Cader range can be hiked via four main paths. The Minffordd Path circuit to Cadair Idris and Mynydd Moel is, in my opinion, by far the best route, following an epic horseshoe ridge line and offering brilliant views down to Llyn Cau and, on a clear day, out to the coast and across Northern Snowdonia.
Cader Idris from Minffordd Path Description
1. Go through the wooden gate at the far left hand corner of the car park and turn right. The wide, gravel track crosses a river and continues to another wooden gate.
2. Go through the gate and bear left, passing the tea room. A footpath sign soon comes into view. Turn right and go through the wooden gate, following the direction of the sign post for Cadair Idris.
3. Straight away the path begins to climb steeply through the woods and past Nant Cadair falls.
4. At the edge of the wood, go through the wooden gate and continue on the rocky footpath to reach a junction.
5. Take the left fork and follow the well-defined Minffordd Path to climb away from the river, with Cwm Cau slowly coming into view.
6. The path eventually reaches another fork. Keep left and continue to climb (the right-hand path goes to the edge of the lake if you have time for a quick detour).
7. The views back across Llyn Cau are superb as the path continues to climb west.
8. The path leaves out and reaches a large cairn.
9. Bear right and follow the high level ridge path, with great views down to the lake.
10. There are a few minor scrambles along the way and sections of the path are very exposed. However, the majority of the path here is well defined and cairns help to show you the way.
11. The path bears right and steeply climbs through the rocks to reach a fence line and a stile. Go over the stile to reach the craggy top of Craig Cau.
12. Turn left and follow the fence for a metre or two. Turn right and join a faint path through the loose rocks. The path quickly becomes more defined and follows the edge of the cliffs.
13. After a short descent, the path climbs steeply across loose rocks, with low cairns to help you find the way.
14. Don’t forget to look back at the dramatic ridge path!
15. After a short scramble, continue to follow the path through the rocks, keeping an eye out for the cairns. The summit trig point soon comes into view and if you’re lucky with the weather, the coastline can be seen to the left.
16. From the summit trig point, drop down towards the stone shelter and bear slightly right, heading east to follow a faint grassy path. On a clear day, the next summit, Mynydd Moel, can be seen straight ahead.
17. Sections of the path are very faint and a cairn sits a few metres to the left, marking the edge of the Fox’s Path. Continue straight on to reach a faint junction. Turn left and climb towards Mynydd Moel. The path weaves between loose rocks and reaches a cairn on the left, with great views out to the coast.
18. Continue straight on to the fence. Go over the stile and head towards the cairns and wind shelter, which marks the true summit of Mynydd Moel.
19. From the summit, retrace your steps to the fence line and turn left. Keeping the fence to the right, follow the grassy path downhill across the moor.
20. Ignore the next stile and continue to descend; the path becomes very steep and is a mixture of scree, loose boulders, old pitching and muddy moor land. It’s not an easy path and needs to be tackled very slowly. The views however, are pretty wonderful.
21. The path eventually begins to level out and stone flags continue to a stile, with Tal-y-llyn Lake in the distance.
22. Go over the stile and follow the well-defined stone footpath to reach Nant Cadair river.
23. Cross the footbridge and turn left to re-join the pathway through the woods.
24. Retrace your steps back through the woods, go through the gate and turn left, passing the tearooms. Bear right through the wooden gate and continue straight on to the car park.
For more walks up Cader Idris, visit our All the Walking Routes up Cader Idris article on our sister site Mud and Routes.
Live Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon Conditions
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
Gear You May Need