10 of the best walks in Eryri/Snowdonia National Park

Walking, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Lucy on 2nd August 2021

Snowdonia walks

UK scenery doesn’t get much more intoxicating than that of Eryri/Snowdonia National Park, its varied terrain making it heaven for hiking.

Wales’ oldest national park spans 838 square miles and rises over 1,000 metres above sea level. The landscape here is a vivid tapestry of shimmering lakes hemmed in among soaring peaks, with a patchwork of grassy slopes and streams weaving down mountainsides, and 37 miles of unspoilt coast lining the edge. 

Few can dispute that Snowdonia walks come in epic proportions, but where are the best walks in Snowdonia? Our comprehensive guide covers all bases, from low-level walks in Snowdonia right up to the best mountain walks in Snowdonia, and everything in between. Broken down into groups of short, medium and long walks, it encompasses routes of all shapes and sizes, for legs big and small.

Come and discover why Snowdonia National Park walks are some of the most spectacular in the UK.

Eryri/Snowdonia National Park cottages

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Short walks in Snowdonia/Eryri (1-3 miles)

Forest in Ganllwyd

Rhaeadr Ddu and Coed Ganllwyd walk

If you’re after easy walks in Snowdonia, try this 2-mile circular trail that follows the River Gamlan to the bewitching Rhaeadr Ddu waterfalls, which change in appearance each time the weather shifts. It’s a short, easy, dog-friendly path that begins in Ganllwyd village and loops back through wildlife-rich woodland. 

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Stay nearby: Glyn Malden Keepers Cottage | Sleeps 5 + 2 dogs

Approaching Llyn Ogwen

Llyn Ogwen walk

This circular lakeside walk comes with no nasty ascents. Llyn Ogwen sits peacefully beneath Snowdonia’s towering peaks, with dramatic views up towards the mighty summits of Tryfan and Glyderau. Legend has it that King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, rests in the waters here, adding a mystical air to this enchanting setting. Park at Tryfan car park and begin the trail at Ogwen Cottage, joining the path that skirts the perimeter of the lake. The terrain is relatively flat, though it can get boggy at times.  

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Stay nearby: Daffodil House | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Cwm Idwal walk

This is one of the best Snowdonia walks for beginners, families or groups with varying abilities - as well as four-legged friends. The lakeside route takes in a majestic hidden landscape famous for its rare plant life and curious rock formations. A short uphill climb leads you to Cwm Idwal, a glacial valley with a secluded, shimmering lake and numerous waterfalls cascading in the distance. Simply follow the perimeter of the lake to drink in these idyllic watery surroundings.

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Mountain Escape | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Coed y Brenin forest and waterfall

Coed y Brenin walk

When you fancy a break from mountain walks in Snowdonia, head to its cool, misty forests, where rivers cut through rocks and then crash over cliff faces. This short loop through Coed y Brenin forest is ideal for families, with no steep scrambles to contend with. It begins at Cae’n y Coed car park and then follows the course of the Mawddach river upstream towards a pair of pretty waterfalls, returning via the opposite bank.

Distance: 3.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Stay nearby: Hermon Bach | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Medium walks in Snowdonia/Eryri (3-7 miles)

Mawddach Estuary in Barmouth

Barmouth Panorama walk

Snowdonia is just as breathtaking at sea level as it is from the mountain tops. Located on Snowdonia’s west coast, Barmouth is a sweet Victorian seaside town lying at the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary. To begin this scenic walk, climb up from the car park just outside of town and you’ll see the coast in all its glory; unfolding before you are far-reaching views over the estuary, Cardigan Bay and the Cader Idris range. Allow time to stroll around the pleasant Victorian Gardens en route, and pop down into Barmouth afterwards for lunch or afternoon tea. Note that some sections of the walk are steep and can get very wet and boggy.

Distance: 4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: The Moorings Barmouth | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Aber Falls

Aber Falls walk

This circular loop to one of Wales’ best waterfalls is a favourite Snowdonia walk. It rambles through leafy Coedydd Aber Nature Reserve and follows the Afon Rhaeadr-Fawr river past the ruins of an Iron Age roundhouse and kiln to the majestic, 120-foot spectacle that is Aber Falls. Come in winter when the falls are fully engorged and at their most magnificent. On your return along the North Wales Path, look out for swooping buzzards and peregrines, as well as Carneddau ponies – semi-wild horses native to the area. The local village of Yr Hen Felin has a couple of cafes if you’re peckish afterwards.

Distance: 4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Werdnas Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 2

The Lonely Tree at Llyn Padarn

Llyn Padarn Walk

This lakeside walk is one of the best walks around Snowdonia. It loops around Llyn Padarn and rewards wayfarers with dramatic views of Yr Wyddfa's/Mount Snowdon’s lofty peak. The wooded lakeside path weaves past a pretty waterfall, a 13th-century castle, and a famous tree nicknamed ‘The Lonely Tree’, whose stark appearance is mirrored in the seductive stillness of the lake’s waters, creating an atmospheric scene that has captured the attention of photographers far and wide. Veer off for snacks in the village of Llanberis.

Distance: 5.1 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: Hen Gapel | Sleeps 4 + 2

Path at the top of Mount Snowdon

The Snowdon Horseshoe

One of the most spectacular Snowdonia hiking trails, but also one of the hardest, this heart-pumping route is only for experienced hikers - and those with a head for heights. Starting from Pen y Pass car park, it follows the jagged ridgeline of three mighty peaks: Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl and Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa – the latter two being the tallest mountains in Wales. Avoid the route in bad weather as high winds can be dangerous, but go on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with the most phenomenal panoramas - just don’t look down!

Distance: 6.8 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Stay nearby: Bryn Llinos | Sleeps 5

Long walks in Snowdonia/Eryri (8-11 miles)

View of the Mawddach Estuary

Mawddach Estuary Walk

The aforementioned Mawddach Estuary (see Barmouth Panorama walk) is a spectacular mountain-framed waterway that gushes past a string of pretty Snowdonia villages. Ending in Barmouth, at the mouth of the Afon Mawddach, this 9.5-mile hike follows the course of a disused railway line that runs from Dolgellau to Morfa Mawddach. Follow it through the Arthog Bog RSPB Nature Reserve, past marshes, forests and mountains, and take in long vistas over estuary sands as you go. Take some time to explore Barmouth at the end of the walk, then catch the bus back to Dolgellau.

Distance: 9.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Stay nearby: East Hay Barn | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

View from Mount Snowdon

Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa by the Miner's Track

We couldn’t do a round-up of the best hikes in Snowdonia without including the ascent up to its highest peak - the ultimate thing to do in Snowdonia! But first, a warning: climbing Snowdon is tough. There are six different routes up to the 1,085-metre summit, many with treacherous scrambles, but the Miner’s Track has slightly better terrain than most. The path was originally built for transporting copper from the Britannia Copper Works, until mining ended in 1916 - lookout for remains from its glory days as you walk. Park at Pen-y-Pass car park and follow the path up past lakes and over craggy ascents to Yr Wyddfa's/Snowdon’s lofty peak, then revel in the panorama.

Distance: 8 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Stay nearby: Llenfa | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Stay with us in Eryri/Snowdonia National Park

If you need somewhere to rest weary legs at the day’s end, we’ve got a gorgeous collection of cottages in Snowdonia National Park. Warm up beside a fireplace, soothe muscles in a hot tub, or put your feet up in a secluded garden; you’ll find your ultimate remedy at these cosy retreats.

Snowdonia National Park cottages


Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.