Eryri is a truly ancient land of dramatic mountain ranges, exquisite valleys, sparkling llyns and magnificent wildlife. Its dynamic landscapes are the result of over 500 million years of geological upheaval that has seen mountains of Himalayan stature rise and fall. What remains is one of Britain’s most celebrated mountain regions, which was given national park status in 1951 and named Snowdonia.
Today, Snowdonia also goes by its Welsh name, Eryri (pronounced Eh-ruh-ree), which many believe to have originated from the Latin ‘oriri’, meaning ‘to rise’. It’s a fitting title, as hiking through this timeless landscape, admiring its natural beauty and the great peaks that rise high above, certainly gives a sense of wonder and elevated consciousness.
Snaking through Eryri, from the great Afon Dyfi in the south to the Irish Sea in the north, is the Snowdonia Way long-distance trail. Launched in 2017, the Way is not one, but two distinct routes: the main, low-level route and the challenging Mountain Route.
This Collection follows the low-level route across eight stages, meandering through the picturesque valleys that divide Eryri’s mountains over its 97-mile (156 km) course. On its way between the historic towns of Machynlleth and Conwy, the route visits many places of natural beauty and historical interest, from the stunning Ogwen Valley and the dramatic Aber Falls to the impressive Dolwyddelan Castle and the immense Penrhyn Quarry.
This is a journey that reveals Eryri in a whole new light, as you become intimately acquainted with some of the region’s charming villages, slate mining heritage, castle ruins, unfrequented valleys and new perspectives of its famous mountains. There are plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities in the wooded valleys and vast moorland regions. Meadow pipits and wrens are common, as is the sight of buzzards and ravens in the skies above, while there are numerous mammal species to spot too.
I’ve split the Snowdonia Way into eight stages, though it’s often done in just six, without stops in Penrhyndeudraeth and Llanfairfechan. In my opinion, more days on the trail allows for a more leisurely approach and a closer acquaintance with the region. Every stage ends in a village or town with accommodation options, though these can be scarce, so I recommend advance booking. There’s usually somewhere to eat and resupply too, but don’t take it as a given. See the Tour descriptions for precise details.
North Wales is known for its changeable weather, so warm layers and waterproofs are vital. However, there are more sunny days than the region is given credit for, so be sure to pack your suncream during the warmer months. Unlike the Mountain Route, the low-level Snowdonia Way is possible in winter conditions without mountaineering equipment, though careful planning would be required, as not all the amenities and transport links will be in operation.
Getting to the Way by public transport is relatively easy. Both Machynlleth and Conwy have train stations and accessing many of the stages is also possible by bus. Otherwise, there are local taxi services you can make use of. If arriving by car, you can get back to Machynlleth from Conwy by taking a train and changing at Shrewsbury.
For the Collection following the Snowdonia Way Mountain Route, see: komoot.com/collection/2348754
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Last updated: August 23, 2023
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The first stage enters the national park and ventures into the Dyfi Forest. First, you’ll discover the village of Corris and its slate mining heritage, then ascend by the Afon Llefenni towards the land dominated by the sprawling Cadair Idris. After crossing the high pass, the final section enjoys enticing…
The second stage is a long trek across the forested heart of the Harlech Dome, a land that was blessed with mountains of Himalayan stature some 360 million years ago. Subsequent erosion has seen these once gigantic peaks all but disappear, with the ancient humps of the Rhinogydd, forged of 500-million…
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This is a shorter stage that traces the southern shore of Llyn Trawsfynydd before exploring the northern edge of the Rhinogydd. It finishes in Penrhyndeudraeth, on the cusp of Northern Snowdonia. The views across the lake towards the Moelwynion range and also back towards the Rhinogydd make this a particularly…
The scenic centrepiece of this stage is ‘the Welsh Matterhorn’, Cnicht, one of the great peaks of the Moelwynion. Seen from the trails near the former mining village of Croesor, Cnicht’s pyramidal profile is every bit the classic image of what a mountain should be. After exploring the Moelwynion’s foothills…
This stage reveals views towards the imperious Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), as it ascends from Nantgwynant, the picturesque valley that runs along the southeast of the Snowdon massif, to the wild and atmospheric moorland at Bwlch y Rhediad. The latter section is more gentle, descending to the pretty valley of…
There are few low-level routes in Britain to rival this magnificent trek, which takes you around the great bulk of Moel Siabod before dissecting the Glyderau and Carneddau ranges via the immensely scenic Ogwen Valley. Many of Eryri’s most charismatic peaks strut their stuff here, including the unmistakable…
This stage sees you striding along the moorland flanks of the wild Carneddau, the UK’s largest area of continuous high ground south of Scotland. Look forward to superb views out towards the Menai Strait, Anglesey and the Irish Sea, as well as the spectacle of Aber Falls, before finishing the stage at…
The final stage is a short but glorious walk that takes in the dramatic Bwlch Sychnant (Sychnant Pass) and the heathland below Mynydd y Dref (Conwy Mountain), finishing at the Llewelyn the Great statue in Conwy. The impressive Conwy Castle dominates the final stretch into the town, a fitting end to an…
Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield
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