Peak district waterfalls. An image of a waterfall in the Peak District

The Majestic Mountains of Snowdonia: A Guide to the Best Walks

Nestled in the northwest corner of Wales, Snowdonia National Park is home to some of the United Kingdom's most awe-inspiring natural landscapes. With jagged mountain peaks, shimmering lakes, lush valleys and quaint villages dotted throughout, Snowdonia offers a myriad of breathtaking walking trails to suit all abilities. From family-friendly rambles to difficult ridgeline scrambles, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know to plan your perfect walking holiday in Snowdonia.


We will explore ten of the best walks in Snowdonia along with practical information about the national park. We will look at popular routes up to Snowdon as well as quieter paths with magnificent views. You'll also find tips on getting around, where to stay and what gear to pack. By the end of this pillar page, you'll be itching to lace up your boots and experience the magic of walking in Snowdonia for yourself. So let's begin!

Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park covers a total area of 838 square miles in the counties of Gwynedd and Conwy in northwest Wales. It was founded in 1951, making it one of the oldest national parks in Britain. The Snowdonia mountain range stretches for over 35 miles from end to end. It contains some of the tallest peaks in England and Wales, including the highest, Snowdon at 3,560 feet.


In addition to its mountains, Snowdonia also features deep river gorges, rolling farmland, native woodlands, and over 100 pristine lakes. All of this natural beauty makes it hugely popular for outdoor recreation. Over 6 million people visit Snowdonia every year to walk, climb, mountain bike, sail and more.


For walkers, Snowdonia is nothing short of paradise. There are over 200 walking routes crisscrossing every corner of the national park. From gentle valley strolls to challenging ridge scrambles, walkers of all abilities will find a route to match their fitness and experience. Even mountains as iconic as Snowdon have multiple paths leading to the summit. Whether you want an easy track or an exposed scramble, there's an option for you.


While Snowdon often steals the limelight, there are plenty of other peaks to conquer in Snowdonia. Glyder Fawr, Tryfan, and the Carneddau range offer exhilarating ridge walks with panoramic views. Quieter corners like Moel Siabod and Cadair Idris also have their unique charms. And you don't have to climb a mountain to enjoy Snowdonia walking. There are waterfalls to discover, coastlines to explore, and lush valleys perfect for low-level rambles.


One of the things that makes Snowdonia such a joy to walk in is the variety of landscapes concentrated in a relatively small area. A single trail may start beside a shimmering lake before climbing up a rocky ridge and descending through verdant forests. The views are constantly changing yet always stunning. And thanks to its compact shape, it's easy to access different areas without too much driving or planning.


The Snowdonia National Park has an excellent network of public transport to help you get around. Buses run regularly to key villages and trailheads. The historic Welsh Highland Railway and Snowdon Mountain Railway also provide scenic access to the heart of Snowdonia. So even if you come without a car, you'll still be able to reach many of the best walking areas easily.


Accommodation options range from cosy B&Bs to bunkhouses, hotels, and campsites. BS you'll have no trouble finding somewhere to rest your head after a long day of hiking. Some of the most popular bases include Betws-y-Coed, Beddgelert, Capel Curig and Llanberis. Each offers easy access to multiple hiking trails as well as pubs, cafes and shops for post-walk refuelling.


When it comes to weather conditions in Snowdonia, walkers should be prepared for anything. As a mountainous area prone to fast-changing weather, you need to carry appropriate gear regardless of the forecast. Layers, waterproofs, hats and gloves are advisable year-round. Sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support and traction are also essential for most trails. Always check the mountain weather forecast before setting out.


One of the great things about walking in Snowdonia is that it offers something for everyone. Novices looking to get into hiking can conquer iconic peaks like Snowdon on straightforward paths. More experienced hikers will relish the challenge of narrow ridges and rugged terrain. Nature lovers of all stripes will find beauty around every turn thanks to the diversity of landscapes.


In summary, Snowdonia National Park walks encompass mountains, valleys, lakes and beyond. With so many excellent trails contained in a relatively compact area, it provides immense diversity and easy access. Factor in charming villages, varied accommodation and excellent public transport, and you have the perfect destination for a walking holiday. Are you ready to lace up your boots and explore? Let's move on to look at ten of the very best walks this stunning national park has to offer.

The Watkin Path Up Snowdon

Rising from lush valleys, Snowdon dominates the landscape of the national park that bears its name. At 3,560 feet, it is the highest mountain in Wales and England, making it a hugely popular peak to conquer. There are six main walking routes to the Snowdon summit, catering to different abilities and preferences. For reasonably fit walkers looking for a classic challenge, the Watkin Path is one of the best routes up Snowdon.


Starting from the charming village of Bethania just off the A498, the Watkin Path leads for 7.5 miles to Snowdon's summit and back. It is considered one of the more straightforward yet extremely scenic routes to the top. While constantly steep, the well-maintained path doesn't involve any technical scrambling or exposure. Yet it still provides a great sense of achievement upon reaching the roof of Wales.


The walk begins in the village, where there is roadside parking available. Cross the A498 and pass the Plas y Brenin outdoor centre to locate the start of the Watkin Path behind a row of houses. The initial section of the route climbs gradually up the hillside through a forest of oak androwan trees. There are glimpses of classic Snowdon views between the branches to whet your appetite for the wider vistas to come.


After 1.5 miles, the path emerges from the trees into a more open mountain landscape. The grade steepens as you climb up towards the imposing cliffs of Clogwyn y Person. This is the steepest and most tiring part of the ascent. Take your time and enjoy the ever-expanding views down the valley towards Bethania. Watch your footing over some loose rocks and stone stairs.


As you near the cliffs, the Watkin Path veers right into Bwlch Ciliau, a grassy col between Snowdon's east ridge and Y Lliwedd. This flattened section offers a nice reprieve before the final ascent. On a clear day, the views from here are truly breathtaking. The sheer cliff edges of Clogwyn y Person and Y Lliwedd frame vistas stretching all the way to the Isle of Anglesey.


Catch your breath before the final climb up loose rocky slopes to Snowdon's broad summit. The last section follows the railway line leading to the summit cafe. The crowds will likely grow as you near the top. Just beyond the cafe is the roof of Wales - the Trig Point marking Snowdon's lofty elevation of 3,560 feet.


Take time on the summit to soak in the phenomenal 360 degree views across Snowdonia and beyond. You'll be able to pick out surrounding peaks like Lliwedd, Yr Wyddfa and Crib Goch. On exceptionally clear days, vistas can stretch as far as Ireland and the Isle of Man. Admire them before retracing your steps back down the Watkin Path to complete the 7.5 mile round trip.


While long, the walk is achievable for most moderately fit walkers. The rough path may slow progress but there are no technical sections. Allow 6-8 hours to complete the hike at a comfortable yet steady pace. Bring plenty of food, water and layers to account for Snowdonia's changeable weather. Check conditions before setting out and adjust plans if poor weather moves in.


Overall the Watkin Path provides one of the most rewarding yet non-technical ascents of Wales' highest peak. While often busy, its gentlemanly gradient and outstanding views make it extremely popular. Just be sure to walk responsibly by staying on the path, not littering and respecting the mountain. With a little preparation, it makes for an unforgettable Snowdon summit experience.

The Miners' Track Up Snowdon

The walk begins in the Pen-y-Pass pay and display car park. Walk downhill following the signposts for the Miners' Track. The path starts relatively flat as it contours around the hillside, following the route of the old mining tramway. Built in the early 1800s, it carried copper from the long-abandoned Britannia Mine. After 1 mile, the gradient gradually steepens as you ascend towards Llyn Llydaw, a peaceful lake tucked below Snowdon. The path zigzags back and forth across the hillside. Stop regularly to admire the classic Snowdon ridges rising ahead of you. At the lake shore, the trail meets a junction. Turn left for the scenic detour up to Glaslyn, another idyllic mountain lake, or continue right to head directly up towards Bwlch Glas. This windswept col sits between Snowdon and its neighbour Crib Goch. From the col, the last push to Snowdon's summit begins. Follow the railway tracks steeply uphill over rocky terrain. The summit will soon come into view ahead, marked by the busy cafe and crowds of hikers. After a final staircase the trig point and panoramic views open up to mark your achievement! Spend some time appreciating the far-reaching vistas before carefully descending back down the Miners' Track to complete the 7-mile circuit. Allow 6-8 hours for a relaxed hike with photo stops.

Peak district waterfalls. An image of a waterfall in the Peak District

The Rhyd Ddu Path Up Snowdon

If you're looking for a peaceful, scenic route to the top of Snowdon, consider the Rhyd Ddu path. Starting and finishing in the village of Rhyd Ddu, this 7-mile trail provides stunning views as it climbs the northwest ridge of Wales' highest peak. To begin, park in the village car park near the Rhyd Ddu path trailhead. Pass through the gate and begin ascending gradually through meadows and woods. Glimpses of surrounding peaks soon open up through the trees.  After 1.5 miles, the forest opens up at Bwlch y Caerau. Turn right here for the main Rhyd Ddu path. The way now climbs steadily into the Cwm, a high glacial valley with dramatic views. Rugged ridges tower above you as the landscape grows more alpine. At Bwlch Main, reach a fork in the path. Turn left to begin the final ascent to Snowdon's peak. The gradient steepens as you climb over rocky terrain. Take care with your footing and pace yourself on this demanding section. Finally, the summit comes into view. The busy cafe provides a landmark guiding you to the trig point at the roof of Wales. Enjoy phenomenal 360-degree panoramas before carefully retracing your steps back down to Rhyd Ddu. While steep and strenuous in places, the Rhyd Ddu path offers a less crowded route to Snowdon's summit. Allow 6-8 hours to enjoy it at a relaxed pace. Just ensure you have proper footwear, clothing, food and navigation skills for this remote mountain path.

The Llanberis Path Up Snowdon

Arguably the most popular route to the summit of Snowdon, the Llanberis Path begins right in the mountain town of the same name. This 9-mile out and back trail follows the natural cleft of Cwm Glas as it winds between the peaks of Snowdon and Y Lliwedd. With a gradual ascent, spectacular views and handy facilities at the halfway point, it's easy to see why this path lures so many hikers. The Llanberis Path starts outside the Electric Mountain visitor centre at the edge of town. Pass through the gate and begin your ascent within sight of Llyn Padarn Lake. The initial stage of the hike involves a mellow gradient along a well-maintained path. Take time to admire the views down towards Llanberis town backed by the Menai Strait.  After 1.5 miles, the Halfway House cafe comes into view, tucked below the ridge connecting Snowdon and Lliwedd. Stop here for refreshments before pushing on towards Bwlch Glas. The grade steepens over rocky steps as you ascend into the Cwm. The summit finally comes into sight after a series of switchbacks. The last stretch follows the Snowdon railway leading right to the busy summit station. Queue up to touch the famous trig point and take in panoramic views from the highest point in Wales. Retrace your steps back down to Llanberis to complete this iconic 9-mile hike. Thanks to its steady gradient and incredible scenery, the Llanberis Path up Snowdon is accessible to most hikers of moderate fitness. Allow 7-9 hours to complete it comfortably. Since it's so popular, aim to set out early before the crowds arrive later in the day.

Walking down from Mount Snowdon on the Llanberis Path, Snowdonia, Gwynedd, Wales, UK - looking at Llyn Du'r Arddu and Clogwyn Coch

Cwm Idwal Circular Walk

Cwm Idwal in the heart of Snowdonia provides one of the most spectacular short walks in the national park. This 3.8-mile loop showcases the sensational glacial landscapes of the Cwm Idwal Nature Reserve. Jagged grey peaks, icy lakes and boulder-strewn hills make for an otherworldly scene. The walk starts from the Cwm Idwal car park off the A5 near Idwal Cottage. From here, take the well-trodden path into the dramatic cwm, following the shores of Llyn Idwal. This stunningly blue lake is fringed by towering rock faces like the Devil's Kitchen and Idwal Slabs. At the lake's far end, branch right up towards the stark angular peaks of Clogwyn y Tarw. Traverse the boulder field at their base as you marvel at the dramatic grey crags above. Pass by milky green Llyn y Cwn before descending on rocky steps back into the main cwm. Continue past Llyn Bochlwyd with its incredibly turquoise waters. Branch left up through the boulder-scattered bowl to reach Llyn Cwmffynnon. Gaze up at the imposing walls of Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and Tryfan framing this lake. Descend back into the main cwm and loop around Llyn Idwal to return to the car park. Allow 2-3 hours to explore this highly scenic short walk at a relaxed pace, appreciating the unique, sculpted landscape of Cwm Idwal.

Tryfan via North Ridge

Rising prominently above Llyn Ogwen, Tryfan is one of the most recognisable and challenging peaks in Snowdonia. While its summit requires scrambling skills, hikers of moderate fitness can still ascend Tryfan by its North Ridge. This 5-mile circuit packs incredible views into a half-day hike. Start at the large pay-and-display car park in Ogwen Valley near Tryfan Farm. Locate the trailhead beside the stone Milestone Buttress climbers' hut. The path heads uphill into the hills, weaving between outcrops with views back down the valley. After 1 mile, the way steepens up slabby rock steps etched with footholds. enjoyable scrambling brings you to the crest of the ridgeline. Turn left here on the obvious path. Follow the undulating ridge 1 mile to the summit. Take care negotiating the final exposed slab moves and notches requiring modest scrambling skill. Enjoy tremendous views from the top before retracing your steps back along the ridge. Descend via the Heather Terrace path. This scenic rocky trail returns you downhill through fields of heather. Close the loop upon reaching the milestone hut and car park once more. With its moderate length and outstanding views, the North Ridge makes a great half-day challenge for any fit hikers with a basic scrambling experience. Allow 3-4 hours to complete the 5-mile circuit unhurried.

Tryfan, Moody Mountain landscape scene in North Wales, Snowdonia National Park. Ogwen, profile of giant's head in the mountain.

Moel Siabod Summit Circuit

Rising isolated above the villages of Capel Curig and Dolwyddelan, Moel Siabod offers a fantastic short summit hike mere minutes from the main Snowdonia hotspots. This 5.5-mile circuit packs panoramic views into a half-day walk with 1,300 feet of ascent. Begin at the dedicated parking area just off the A5 near Pont Cyfyng. Pass through the gate and begin climbing gradually on a stony track into the hills. As you ascend switchbacks, Llyn-y-Foel Lake comes into view far below. After 1 mile, bear right at the fork for the main summit path. The trail now climbs more steeply via stone steps and some easy scrambles. Cresting the rocky ridgeline, Tryfan and the Glyders come into view. The summit sits just above to the right. Soak in the 360-degree views before continuing straight ahead to begin descending the grassy southwest ridge. The way soon turns rockier underfoot as you descend slabby steps. Steep remnants of glacier ice cling to crags here. Pass an isolated tarn before the trail descends back into the valley. Stay left at any trail forks to complete the loop back at Pont Cyfyng.

Fuel Up: Where to Stay and Refuel in Snowdonia

With its soaring peaks, crystalline lakes and charming villages, Snowdonia offers plenty of great options for places to rest your head after a long day of hiking. The main towns and villages such as Betws-y-Coed, Beddgelert, Llanberis and Capel Curig have an array of accommodation choices including hotels, inns, cosy B&Bs, hostels, bunkhouses, and campsites. Betws-y-Coed is a particularly good base with its variety of restaurants and central location. Beddgelert and Llanberis also provide excellent access to trails as well as amenities. Those seeking more rural seclusion can find self-catering cottages tucked away in Snowdonia's valleys and farms. Wherever you choose to stay, be sure to book well in advance during peak seasons. After fueling up on a hearty Welsh breakfast, you'll be ready to lace up your boots and head out on the trails. At the end of an active day spent walking in Snowdonia, refuelling on delicious local food and drink is a must. Traditional Welsh pubs serve up classics like lamb shanks, fish and chips, and bangers and mash. For lighter fare, tea rooms offer soups, sandwiches, baked treats and of course, tea. The towns also have a range of international restaurants. Don't leave Snowdonia without trying Welsh cakes, scones with clotted cream and jam, or savouring a pint of locally brewed ale.

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