11 Mar The Best Mountain Walks in North Wales
With the breathtaking 800-mile paradise that is Snowdonia and the highest UK peak outside of Scotland, it would be crazy not to make the most of the best mountain walks in North Wales! Whether you’re up for a challenge, you want to enjoy a long day out, or you just want to spend some quality family time on an easier walk whilst being surrounded by stunning mountainous landscapes, this area offers something for everyone. To help you get started, we’ve picked a diverse range of mountain walks that should make it easier to plan your next adventure. Grab your backpack and let’s get started!
5 of the Best Mountain Walks in North Wales
Let’s begin with an easy but remarkable path! Taking place in the oldest national nature reserve in Wales which dates all the way back to the glacial period, Cwm Idwal is famous for its ancient rock formations and rare plants, making it ideal for those who are fascinated by history, flora and geology. It’s not a coincidence that it played a pivotal part in Darwin’s studies!
This 3-mile walk starts by the Ogwen Cottage Outdoor Pursuits Centre, and it should take you around 3 hours to complete it. It’s a mixture of fairly flat and slightly hilly sections, including an exciting climb over some 10,000-year-old moraines, precious tokens of this valley’s icy past. You will get to cross oak and slate bridges, gaze at a long dark crack known as the Devil’s Kitchen, and admire the steep Idwal Slabs, used as a training ground by professional mountaineers including Everest climbers.
The clean waters of Llyn Idwal add to the peaceful atmosphere of this unique valley carved by ice and glaciers: we bet you’ll find yourself picturing how it must have looked at that time!
The same starting point as the first walk can take you from the glacial period to… the immortal tales of the Round Table! By following the river upstream, you’ll be able to circle the 78-acre-wide Llyn Ogwen, a picturesque mountain lake offering unforgettable views and fascinating folklore: according to the legend, Sir Bedwyr threw Excalibur in these waters right after King Arthur’s final battle. This walk is perfect for those who want to enjoy a quiet walk in nature and breathe in some fresh mountain air without having to withstand steep climbs and rough terrains.
We believe that knowing that there is a specific landmark waiting for you at the end of a walk can be a great motivation to keep going. An impressive Bronze Age cairn of stones dating back to the 3rd millennium BC, you say? Count us in! Located in the Ardudwy area of Gwynedd, this walk starts in the village of Llandecwyn and includes some crystal-clear mountain lakes on the way. The cherry on top will obviously be this 8.7-metre-wide cairn circle: located at over 1250 feet, it makes for a challenging walk and a dazzling view.
If you’re after a smooth walk, pack your bags and jump to the next section. Looking for one of the most challenging mountain hikes in North Wales? Read on, you crazy adventurer!
This walk is just over 10 miles long but it’s so steep, testing and dotted with off-the-beaten-track sections that it will take you around 7 hours to complete it. From a scrambly passage around the Pen yr Ole Wen’s East Ridge, to the dramatic view of Carnedd Dafydd, to a rocky descent down Craig yr Ysfa, this hike will ensure plenty of variety and challenges. The view from the top will obviously be one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life!
An article on the best mountain walks in North Wales wouldn’t be complete without a hike up the highest peak in Snowdonia. While there are several ways to reach the summit of Mount Snowdon, we recommend the Llanberis path: it might be the longest, but it’s also the easiest and most family-friendly. It should take you around 6-7 hours to walk all the way up the summit and back, with the entire hike covering around 9 miles. You might even see a few ponies on the way! Located at 3,560 ft, the Snowdon summit will definitely make for an unforgettable scenery and some breathtaking pictures that will be the envy of all your friends.
Given the mountainous nature of Snowdonia, this area truly offers some of the best mountain walks in North Wales. What we appreciate the most about these peaks and valleys is that they provide an incredible variety of paths and landscapes, making it possible for both the most adventurous hikers and the largest families on holiday to have the time of their lives!