Carved out during the last Ice Age, Snowdonia’s rugged beauty is a breathtaking sight to behold. Some of the best walks in Snowdonia allow you to explore this enchanting landscape and discover its ancient tales, natural wonders and industrial heritage. While the national park may be most famous for Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon, there is so much more to discover in this wonderful area! We have chosen our 5 favourite walks in Snowdon National Park to help you make the most of your time in this unforgettable corner of Wales.
1. Take a walk at Cwm Idwal
World famous for its rock formations, Cwm Idwal, Wales’s oldest National Nature Reserve is one of the top places to visit in Snowdonia. A walk around the stunning lake, Llyn Idwal, surrounded by the mountain peaks is suitable for all the family and allows you some of the best views in the national park! While it is requires a limited ascent the walk is not too difficult and gives you the opportunity to experience the majesty of the upland mountains without too much of a trek. The round route is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long and takes 3 hours to complete with plenty of great photo opportunities along the way. Make sure to check out the Idwal Slabs which were used for mountaineer training by the likes of Edmund Hillary and his team. Another site which you certainly will not miss is the dominating Devil’s Kitchen or Twll Du, so called due to the mist which often emanates from a chasm in the rock.
2. Discover the legends of Dinas Emrys
Discover the nature, legends and history of Dinas Emrys on this 2.2 mile (3.5 km) walk through the picturesque Snowdonia countryside. The route will take you to the summit of Dinas Emrys where you can explore the ruins of an ancient castle built by the princes of Gwynedd. There are many legends associated with this special area, most famously the story of the two dragons beneath the mountain! The story goes that King Vortigern wanted a castle on top of Dinas Emrys but that every time the work began the walls would fall down. The great wizard Merlin explained to the king that there were two fighting dragons beneath the hill, so the king commanded his workmen to dig down and release them. Once the hole was dug the warring dragons, one red and one white, flew from the hill and battled in the skies before the white one fled and the red one returned to its lair under the hill. Vortigern was then able to build his castle and the hill was named after Merlin (Myrddin Emrys) in thanks.
3. The Lon Gwyrfai Trail – Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert
The Lon Gwyrfai Trail is one of the best walks in Snowdon, as it offers a well sign posted, multi-use track suitable both for hikers and cyclists through beautiful varied scenery including ancient woodland, romantic ruins and mountain views! It is 5 miles (8 km) long with an ascent of 100 meters and takes about 2 hours to walk the entire route. When you get to Beddgelert make sure to find Gelert’s grave. This special site is dedicated to the loyal hound of the 13th century Prince Llywelyn and the heartbreaking story of his death. The legend tells us that on returning from a hunt Llywelyn found Gelert covered in blood and his baby son nowhere to be found. In anger at the perceived slaughter of his child Llywelyn plunged his sword into Gelert, but he was sadly mistaken. Later that day he discovered the dead body of a wolf and his son alive and well - Gelert had slain the wolf to save the child! Gelert’s grave is one of the top places to visit in Snowdonia, due to this poignant tale and the spectacular surrounding views.
4. Explore the secrets of the universe at Glaslyn
As a Dark Sky Reserve, Snowdonia National Park offers many opportunities to see aspects of the night sky you would never normally get the chance to see in more urban areas. One of the best walks in Snowdonia to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way is along the Miner’s Track to Glaslyn. This is not an easy walk, but is certainly easier than climbing Snowdon itself and offers wonderful views of the rugged mountain. Make sure to check the weather forecast before you leave, as if there is cloud forecast you will not see much! Glaslyn is one of the best places to visit in Snowdonia for unforgettable views of Mount Snowdon and is even accessible in the snow as long as you are well prepared.
5. Snowdonia Slate Trail
Snowdonia has a rich slate mining heritage, which in its heyday supplied high quality slate around the world. The route explores this fascinating industrial heritage through an 83 mile circular route beginning at Porth Penrhyn and ending in Bethesda. The 6.3 mile (10.2 km) walk from Bangor to Bethesda takes 3 to 4 hours and is a great introduction to the walk with an easy walk towards the mountains from the sea. In this stretch you can find out about how the slate was transported from the mountains to the ports. Each section of the trail is accompanied by notes on the history of the region and can be found through the Snowdonia Slate Trail website, where you can also find maps of the entire trail to help you plan your route.
So there we have it, 5 fantastic walks to help you discover the beauty of Snowdonia National Park. Why not combine them with a road trip and make the most of your motorhome hire through this stunning Welsh landscape?
Where to stay in Snowdonia
Now that you know some of the best places to walk, you need to know where to stay in Snowdonia with your motorhome. There are a variety of campsite options in region and we have narrowed them down to our favourite 3 to help you make your decision!
1. Llyn Gwynant Campsite, Nant Gwynant
An ideal base camp for tackling Wales’s highest peak, Llyn Gwynant Campsite has a spectacular lakeside position with wonderful views across the valley. It is perfectly situated for accessing many of the routes described above, as well as many different routes up Mount Snowdon. Guests can enjoy the campsite all year round and truly relax and get away from it all in the majestic natural landscape. In the summer there are a host of lakeside activities on offer, including kayaking, canoeing, climbing, gorge walking, raft building and abseiling all on site by arrangement. The campsite has 15 motorhome pitches and has all the comforts that you need during your stay with toilets, hot showers and laundry facilities. There is even a small shop if you forget to bring anything, with breakfasts and even pizzas also offered on site during the summer.
Prices start from £10 per night
GPS: 53.051967, -4.016749
Nant Gwynant, Caernarfon LL55 4NP, UK
2. Bryn Gloch Caravan and Camping Park, Betws Garmon
Situated at the base of Snowdon and on the bank of the Gwyrfai river, Bryn Gloch is an award winning campsite offering a wonderful setting with perfect motorhome conditions. You have the option of all weather pitches or large grass super pitches both offering electric hook up points, water and drainage. There are also heated bathrooms, a shop and Wifi available. The campsite is well located for those looking to explore the region’s slate industry with the 19th century Llechwedd slate cavern nearby, as well as the village of Llanberis where you can find the local slate museum.
Prices start from £20 per night
GPS: 53.095196, -4.188289
Betws Garmon, Caernarfon LL54 7YY, UK
3. Gwern Gof Isaf Campsite, Capel Curig
Based at a traditional hill farm, Gwern Got Isaf, is set in beautiful surroundings and is a family business in operation since 1906. One of its famous guests was Sir John Hunt who used the campsite as his base while he trained in the area to climb Everest in 1952. The campsite is open all year round and offers climbing and abseiling onsite, with the National Mountaineering Centre at Plas-Y-Brenin just down the road. It also lies on the long distance Sustrans cycle route and the Cambrian Way footpath. Facilities include hot showers, toilets, electric hook ups and even a token operated hairdryer!
Prices start from £10 per night
GPS: 53.121769, -3.965802
Capel Curig, Betws-y-Coed LL24 0EU, UK
Now that you know where to hike and where to stay in Snowdonia, make sure to check out Goboony to find the ideal motorhome or campervan hire for your trip!