Boasting the highest peaks in England and Wales, wild mountain trails, wetlands, waterfalls, cracking coastline and unique Welsh culture, Snowdonia National Park is unrivalled for its rich variety and stunning beauty.
Outdoors enthusiasts of all descriptions flock to this mountainous Mecca to challenge themselves, push the boundaries and, ultimately, become spellbound by the rugged charm of Snowdonia; the wildly beautiful yet unforgiving landscape will beckon you back time-and-time again.
Snowdon itself, at 3,560 feet (1,085 meters), is the prime destination for most visitors. As such, the sky-scraping mountain—the highest in England and Wales—can get a little crowded. Fear not, though, this Collection offers two approaches to conquering Mount Snowdon that are a little different: the quietest route and the most extreme approach.
However, if you are looking to conquer Snowdon without any hair-raising drops, technical sections and rocky ridges, the Llanberis Path (not included here) is a super-easy option that most people will find manageable. If that still sounds like too much effort, you can get the train to the summit and back from Llanberis as well.
Snowdonia is about much more than Mount Snowdon, though, and this Collection reflects that. You will experience the exhilarating and surprisingly little-visited Carneddau Mountains: the largest area of land over 2,952 feet (900 meters) in England and Wales. This exhilarating route is technical, fun, full of interest, has magnificent views and is packed with exciting ridges, scrambles and heady drops. .
You will also be awe-struck by the Glyder mountains and the ‘Devil’s Kitchen’: a route that captures the rugged charm Snowdonia perfectly and boasts magnificent landscapes at every turn. You will also have the opportunity to visit three magnificent waterfalls: Rhaeadr Ddu, Swallow Falls and Aber Falls.
For the routes in the Collection, Llanberis is a good option to stay. With many hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, as well as plenty of restaurants, cafes and pubs to enjoy, the honeypot village is a much-loved destination that is perfect for most. There are good bus links from Llanberis all over the park, too. If you plan to arrive by train, you need to head to Bangor and catch a bus.
For information about Snowdonia National Park, getting there, where to stay, and more, visit: visitsnowdonia.info.
For information about the Snowdon Sherpa (a bus service that travels around all the popular attractions), visit: gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Parking-roads-and-travel/Travel-passes/Snowdon-Sherpa.aspx
For detailed information about Llanberis, visit: llanberis.com.
If you are in Snowdonia there is one mountain climb that is unmissable. The national park’s namesake, Mount Snowdon, dominates the views for miles around. At 3,560 feet (1,085 meters), it is the highest mountain in Wales and England.
Snowdon is definitely a ‘bucket-list’ mountain and the crowds flock accordingly—especially when the weather is good. The most popular paths are from Pen-y-Pass, the direct approach from Llanberis and the Watkin Path. There are also many visitors arriving by train.
If you want to beat the crowds without losing any of the views, landscape or challenge, this route is the one for you. Taking you along two of the quietest and most historic paths, you can enjoy the serene mountain landscape in as much solitude as is possible.
You ascend Snowdon via the Rhyd Ddu Path (pronounced ‘rheed-thee’). Renowned as being the quietest and least touristic route up Snowdon, it is also one of the best with views to rival any alternative. Once called the Beddgelert Path, this route was used for the first official ascent of Snowdon in 1639.
Before the summit, you are treated to a taster of what is to come on the Llechog ridge and peak. Your climbing efforts are rewarded richly with views north over Cwm Clogwyn and towards the Snowdon Ranger Path, as well as the lakes of Llyn Nadroedd, Llyn Coch and Llyn Glas below.
Just over a mile later you will find yourself on the summit of Snowdon. On a clear day, the views are endless and are absolutely magnificent. The summit is also home to a fantastic summit station, complete with refreshments and facilities.
From here, you will descend on the Snowdon Ranger Path. Also one of the quietest routes on Snowdon, the descent begins on LLanberis Path, before a rocky track takes you down the eastern slope. The Ranger Path boasts magnificent views over mountain lakes and rocky ridges that the national park is famous for.
A mile after passing Llyn Fynnon-y-gwas, you reach a junction of paths. From here you can either descend to the bottom of the path to the Snowdon Ranger Station, where you will be able to catch a bus to Rhyd Ddu, or, if you are lucky, the vintage steam train.
If you want to hike to Rhyd Ddu, take the stile on your left at this junction and follow the path down into the valley. This will add an additional two miles to the route.
For information about the Snowdon Sherpa (the bus that runs around the base of Snowdon), visit: gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Parking-roads-and-travel/Travel-passes/Snowdon-Sherpa.aspx
For information about the trains, visit: festrail.co.uk/timetable-whr.htm
The imposing razor-back ridge of Crib Goch is, quite simply, the ultimate way to climb Snowdon.
The Grade 1 scramble is a sure-fire thriller that will challenge every aspect of your skill level and personality. If you want to push the boundaries for your Snowdon experience, you will not find a better option than this route.
The Crib Goch scramble from Pen-y-Pass is the toughest way to ascend Snowdon. Renowned as one of the best scrambling routes in the UK, it is the most exposed and challenging route to the summit and should not be undertaken lightly.
Before we speak about the joys, though, it is wise to mention that in winter conditions, Crib Goch is not a ‘hike’ and you will need to be an experienced mountaineer with the proper gear to tackle the spine-tingling ridge.
If the weather is good, though, this is the wildest and most exciting way up Snowdon: the highest peak in England and Wales. With awe-inspiring views, breathtaking exposure and low technical difficulty (Grade 1 is the lowest rating on the scrambling scale) it is one of the best scrambles in the UK.
After conquering Crib Goch and arriving at the summit of Snowdon, you can sit back and enjoy the views with a smug sense of achievement. You deserve to bask in your glory for a moment.
There are a few more thrills on this route yet, though. The three tops of Y Lliwedd—Lliwedd Bach, the East Peak and West Peak—are all challenging in their own right but reward you with magnificent vistas across the landscape and into the darkness below.
From there, it is a steady saunter back past the glorious lakes of Llyn Lydaw and Llyn Tarn back to Pen-y-Pass.
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If you are looking for a super-leisurely route that packs in magical scenery and a spectacular waterfall, you will be hard-pressed to do better than this glorious circuit.
At just over three miles long, this route follows a well-maintained, easy-going path that all ages and abilities will manage without issue.
With the magnificent Aber Falls ever present in distance, the route has lots of benches and places to stop, enabling you to take your time and soak in the glorious landscape.
The first sight en route is Aber Falls Hut Circle. These curious ruins have elements of both iron age and bronze age usage, as well as medieval occupation. From there, it is only a hop, skip and a jump to falls themselves.
At 120 feet (37 meters) high, you will be awe-struck in the presence of the mighty Aber Falls. Best seen after heavy rainfall, the water from the Afon Goch plunges down to earth creating an almighty spay. Take care, the rocks can get slippery.
The Carneddau Mountains are the largest area of land over 2,952 feet (900 meters) in England and Wales. Not surprising, then, that serious hikers visiting Snowdonia head here as a matter of urgency—the wild and unforgiving landscape simply begs to be conquered.
This exhilarating route is technical, fun, full of interest, has magnificent views every step of the way and is packed with exciting ridges, scrambles and heady drops. In short, it is a hiker’s dream. Absolutely unforgettable.
Right from the get-go, this route will have you pumping. Less than two miles in, you reach the 3,209 feet (978 meter) high summit of Pen Yr Ole Wen. While this route opts for the slightly easier approach to the peak, if you are feeling like a challenge, try the ascent from the Youth Hostel on the other side of Llyn Ogwen. While there are no ‘easy’ options, the alternative route is considerably steeper, rockier and a lot more technical.
Less than a mile from Pen Yr Ole Wen, you will find yourself on Carnedd Dafydd. Boasting magnificent views over to the Glyders, Tryfan, Carnedd LLewellyn and Anglesey to the north, the third highest summit in Wales is little-visited, which is surprising considering how richly it rewards those who conquer it. From there, you head along the ridge to the even less visited Yr Elen, which you might even have to yourself.
The final peak is the third highest in Wales, Carnedd Llewelyn. At 3,491 feet (1,064 meters)—a mere one meter below the second highest in Wales, Crib y Ddysgl—the wild summit boasts incredible panoramas.
From there, it is all downhill and even though the walking is not taking your breath away, the views certainly will.
Swallow Falls is a popular sight for people visiting Snowdonia National Park.
For good reason, too. Set amid a blissful beauty spot, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and with a mesmerizing ambience, it is a stunning location to visit.
If you want to view the falls—the highest continuous waterfall in Wales—without too much fuss, they can be reached from the car park on the other side of the A5, where there are viewing platforms and safety rails. This is a super-easy option. All ages and abilities will have no problem at all. You will need to pay £3.50 to park.
However, if you feel a little more adventurous, this route allows for a much better view of the falls and a fun-filled hike through some beautiful scenery. The dramatic, narrow path you will follow on the north bank is challenging, but most people will find it easy enough to traverse. With crags overhead and drops below, it is a rewarding trek.
If you continue upstream to the ‘Ugly House’—a quirky, rather beautiful-looking old cottage that nobody knows much about—there are refreshments and facilities available before you head back along the river. However, if you want to cut short, you can head back straight after you have seen the falls. In short, there are many options to tailor this route really depending on how you feel.
This route captures the rugged charm Snowdonia perfectly. Boasting magnificent views of the mountainous landscape at every turn, prepare to have your breath taken away many times—and not just from the climbs.
Starting from the A5 road, it is a challenging push past the blue waters of Llyn Bochlwyd and onto the first peak of Glyder Fach: the sixth highest mountain in Wales. From there, you follow the path to the slightly taller Glyder Fawr.
A truly spectacular place, Glyder Fawr boasts perfect panoramas of the bold, wild and rugged landscape, including the giants of Snowdon and Crib Goch, which shimmer majestically in the distance on clear days.
After conquering the Gylders, you get your first glimpse of Llyn Idwal. It is lovely to see this honeypot attraction of Snowdonia from the clouds; away from the crowds that gather on the calmer landscape below.
Before this route ends, you also get to experience the delights of Devil’s Kitchen. The ominous dark crack in the rocks releases mysterious plumes of steam escape every now and again. Or, as folklore says, when the Devil is home and cooking.
If you are feeling like an expert hike, why not try and conquer the peak of Tryfan first? It will add roughly two hours to the expedition—and will be a challenge—but if the weather is good and you are feeling fit, you will not regret this fabulous extension.
This lovely little route packs a lot of punch for its size.
Taking you alongside the choppy waters of the River Gamlan, past the magnificent Rhaeadr Ddu waterfalls and through the stunning Coed Ganllwyd National Nature Reserve, it is a delightful circuit to complete in under one hour.
Rhaeadr Ddu, meaning 'Black Falls', are two waterfalls which cascade over 60 feet (18 meters). As you head to see the larger waterfall, it does get a little steeper—yet still manageable—in parts but the views from of the waterfall are magnificent, beautiful and utterly breathtaking.
The superb waterside path this route follows is well-maintained, leisurely and suitable for all ages and abilities.
It has plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery, too; meaning everybody can bask in the moss-covered ancient oak woodland and relax to the sounds of fresh water tumbling through it.