Snowdonia National Park covers 823 square miles of north-west Wales and contains the country's highest peak, Snowdon.

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The region, designated as a national park in 1951, was sculpted by glaciers, leaving behind a spectacular landscape of craggy mountains and hills, deep valleys and over 100 lakes.

There are numerous ways to explore the park – mountain biking routes, driving tours and even by canoe – but for a truly immersive experience, why not take on one of Snowdonia's best walks?

From a classic Snowdon ascent to a less-gruelling riverside amble along the Afon Artro, here is our guide to the best walks in Snowdonia. Each route includes walking directions and a map.

The mountains around Llyn Idwal in northern Snowdonia/Credit: Getty

Best walks in Snowdonia

Snowdon, Gwynedd

7.5 miles/12km | 5-6 hours | challenging

Snowdon summit in snow/Credit: Getty

Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) is the highest mountain in England and Wales at 1,085m (3,560ft). The Snowdon range covers 16 square miles and gave birth to Welsh rock climbing in the 19th century. Today the tracks are bustling all year round and there are plenty of varied routes to the top.

This circular route, takes in the Miners’ Track and the Pyg Track, offers the chance of panoramic views and a varied terrain to and from the summit.

The route
  • 12km/7.5 miles
  • 5 hours
  • Challenging
Snowdon walking route and map
Snowdon map

Aber Falls, Gwynedd

4.2miles/6.7km | 3 hours | moderate

Autumn encroaches on Aber Falls in Snowdonia/Credit: Getty

This 4-mile circular walk starts from Bont Newydd car park near the village of Abergwyngregyn on the north coast of Wales.

Follow a quiet country lane before crossing the Afon Rhaeadr Fawr river, then take a track alongside some beautiful ancient oak woodland up a verdant valley to the spectacular Aber Falls (Rhaeadr Fawr).

Explore the falls then turn right along the foothills of the Carneddau mountains for incredible views over the Menai Strait towards the Great Orme, Puffin Island and Anglesey before heading back, above the tree line, towards the village.

The route
  • 6.7km/4.1 miles
  • 2.5 hours
  • Moderate
Aber Falls walking route and map
Aber Falls map

Cwm Idwal, Gwynedd

2.5 miles/4km | 1.5 hours | easy-moderate

Llyn Idwal lake and mountains in Snowdonia
Summer landscape of Llyn Idwal lake and Glyderau mountains/Credit: Getty

The jagged peaks that soar over Cwm Idwal dwarf the Arctic-alpine plants that grow on the slopes around its waters. To appreciate them fully, you have to crouch down or dangle over them to see their colourful petals hunkered on ledges or in crevices – it’s here that they thrive, feeding on minerals that leach through the rock.

The first to flower is purple saxifrage. Even when snow lies late into the season, Saxifraga oppositifolia prospers, growing in fragrant cushions on the basalt rocks around the streams that flow into the llyn.

More like this

A 2.5-mile valley walk through Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve offers the chance to see these flowers, along with many other natural delights.

The route
  • 2.5 miles/4km
  • 1.5 hours
  • easy-moderate
Cwm Idwal walking route and map

Beddgelert, Llyn Dinas and Aberglaslyn Pass, Gwynedd

5.5 miles/8.8km | 3.5 hours | moderate-challenging

Steps in the Aberglaslyn Pass in Snowdonia National Park in Wales
A rocky path beside the Afon Glaslyn/Credit: Getty

Right in the heart of Snowdonia, surrounded by craggy, frost-cracked mountains, is the cosy village of Beddgelert. This spectacular circular walk starts and ends at the village, taking in Llyn Dinas, the remnants of Sygun Copperworks, Bwlch y Sygun, Cwm Bychan and the gorgeous Afon Glaslyn.

The route
  • 5.5 miles/8.8km
  • 3.5 hours
  • moderate-challenging
Beddgelert, Llyn Dinas and Aberglaslyn Pass walking route and map
Beddgelert, Llyn Dinas and Aberglaslyn Pass walking route and map

Porthmadog to Criccieth, Gwynedd

11.8miles/19km | 5–6 hours | moderate

Criccieth sunset
Sunset over Criccieth castle and beach/Credit: Getty

Wales is west-facing and sunset embracing. From the coastal headlands and clifftops of Ynys Môn (Anglesey) and Sir Benfro (Pembrokeshire) to the marshes of Cors Fochno (Borth Bog), the estuaries of Sir Caerfyrddin (Carmarthenshire) and a multitude of beaches and coves, Welsh sunsets can be gorgeously apocalyptic.

This walk is an excellent one for gently lyrical winter light – although it's a rewarding walk no matter you time of year it is.

The route
  • 11.8miles/19km
  • 5–6 hours
  • moderate
Porthmadog to Criccieth walking route map
Porthmadog to Criccieth walking route and map

Nant Gwernol, Gwynedd

1.1 miles/1.8km | 45 minutes | easy–moderate

Water flowing through Nant Gwernol
Nant Gwernol waterfall/Credit: Peter Trimming, Geograph

There are numerous station walks along the historic Talyllyn Railway line, including the Quarryman’s Trail around Bryn Eglwys, and the Dolgoch Falls loop. But perhaps the most rewarding is the Cascade Trail from Nant Gwernol Station.

To alight here after rain is to enter a sparkling world, and this short trail alongside a chattering stream – where the woodland is luminous, and the air lucid – makes the very most of it.

The route

  • 1.1 miles/1.8km
  • 45 minutes
  • easy–moderate
Nant Gwernol walking route and map

Nant Gwernol walking route and map

Coed y Brenin, Gwynedd

3.5 miles/5.6km | 2 hours | easy-moderate

Coed y Brenin waterfalls in autumn
Coed y Brenin waterfalls/Credit: Getty

In Snowdonia’s rain-soaked forests, everything is clean and wet. Mist rises, trees transpire, moisture kisses your skin and wets your lips. Oxygen-rich air lifts your spirits and the sound of water fills your ears as it trickles down tracks, bubbles through moss, and crashes in creeks.

Coed y Brenin Forest Park covers 9,000 acres of woodland and river valleys. Its 500-million-year-old rocks with their deposits of copper and gold once made it a centre for mining. Now it’s managed for timber and recreation, with well-marked mountain-bike, walking and running trails.

This walk begins at Cae’n y Coed carpark – there’s also a bus stop nearby at Ganllwyd. It follows the Mawddach upriver, passing Pistyll Cain (the Cain Falls) and Pistyll Mawddach (the Mawddach Falls), before returning via the opposite bank.

The route
  • 5.6km/3.5 miles
  • 2 hours
  • Easy/moderate
Coed y Brenin walking route and map
Coed y Brenin map

Cnicht, Gwynedd

9.1 miles/14.7km | 789m accent | 6 hours | challenging

A beautiful landscape in the Snowdonia National Park
Cnicht is 689m high/Credit: Getty

Soaring in poetic isolation among Snowdonia’s famed mountains – Tryfan, Glyder Fawr and Carnedd Gwenllian – is Cnicht. Its name, the Anglo Saxon word for ‘knight’, was bestowed on it not by local Welsh people, but by medieval sailors who noted its resemblance when viewed from the sea to a 14th-century bassinet helmet.

Cnicht is so perilous and pointy among the meringue-like swoops and crests that surround it, that it is also known as ‘The Welsh Matterhorn’. At a sixth of the alpine peak’s height, it is rather more easy to climb.

Explore the Moelwynion mountain range in Wales, climbing through a prehistoric landscape to the pyramidal zenith of mighty Cnicht with this 9-mile circular route starting and ending at Nantgwynant.

The route
  • 14.7km/9.1 miles
  • 5-6 hours
  • Moderate/challenging
Cnicht walking route and map
Cnicht map

Moel Tryfan and Mynydd Mawr, Gwynedd

8.3 miles/13.3km | 6 hours | challenging

Craig y Bera, cliffs of Mynydd Mawr in early autumn
Craig y Bera and the cliffs of Mynydd Mawr in Snowdonia/Credit: Getty

A cold cloud swirls down from the hills and cloaks the chapel, the slagheaps, the brightly coloured playground and the grey stone and pebbledash houses.

This is Rhosgadfan, where author Kate Roberts spent her childhood on the slopes of Moel Tryfan and Moel Smytho, and which is the setting for her early novels including Feet in Chains and Tea in the Heather.

Discover the landscape – both its bleakness and its light – that inspired Kate Roberts with this nine-mile walk.

The route
  • 13.3km/8 miles
  • 5 hours
  • Challenging
Rhosgadfan walking route and map
Rhosgadfan map

Yr Eifl, Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd

4.5 miles | 3 hours | challenging

Yr Eifl Mountains from Tan Y Graig beach
Yr Eifl Mountains from Tan Y Graig beach/Credit: Getty

Mountainous in spirit if not in height, Yr Eifl is a hill of vertiginous vistas and igneous granite intrusions. Its craggy summits have various names but are referred to here as Garn For, Garn Ganol, and Tre’r Ceiri, and this walk scales all three.

The first two peaks are a bit of a scramble – for an alternative, lower route, a valley path skirts the valley to the north and east of the mountains.

The route
  • 7km/3.4 miles
  • 2.5 hours
  • Moderate
Yr Eifl walking route and map
Yr Eifl map

Mawddach Estuary, Gwynedd

9.5 miles/15.3km | 5-6 hours | moderate–challenging

Barmouth Bridge over Mawddach Estuary/Credit: Getty

Surrounded by mountains, the Mawddach Estuary must be one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Wooden ships were built in its creeks before the arrival of the Great Western Railway, which connected with the Cambrian Coast at Morfa Mawddach. After operating for 100 years the line closed in the 1960s. Nowadays the former railway track between Morfa Mawddach and Dolgellau is used for walking and cycling and it provides a delightful walk on a crisp winter day.

Savour the beautiful scenery on this 10-mile walk to the stunning Cregennen Lakes in the foothills of Cader Idris in Snowdonia National Park.

The route
  • 15.3km/9.5 miles
  • 6 hours
  • Moderate/challenging
Mawddach Estuary walking route and map
Mawddach Estuary, Gwynedd map

Llanbedr Woods, Gwynedd

6.3 miles/10.2km | 4 hours | moderate

The Afon Artro is 4.5 miles long/Credit: Getty

Pass through this ancient woodland teeming with wildlife in north-west Wales. This walk is especially glorious in late summer and autumn when the woods are filled with colour and foraging creatures.

The route
  • 10.2km/6.3 miles
  • 4 hours
  • Moderate
Llanbedr walking route and map
Llanbedr Woods map

Tŷ Hyll, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy

4.4 miles/7.1km | 2.5 hours | easy-moderate

Ty Hyll (The Ugly House), Snowdonia
Ty Hyll (The Ugly House), Snowdonia/Credit: Alamy Alamy

Tŷ Hyll, or ‘the Ugly House’, is named for its colossal, crudely cut yet lovely stones. It’s a place of uncertain origin – a brigand’s hide-out, duke’s folly, or maybe a tŷ unnos (a home built in a day to secure ownership of land). What is certain is that it’s now a cosy tearoom selling fresh-baked delights and very, very good tea.

If somewhat sluggish after a lunch of succulent ‘secret recipe’ Welsh rarebit, a stroll may be required. Explore the garden – which dissolves beguilingly into the surrounding song-swelled oakwoods (watch out for spring migrants, such as pied flycatchers and wood warblers) – or go in search of Swallow Falls along the Llugwy. But if you’re planning an afternoon tea of sandwiches, bara brith, Welsh cakes, scones or cakes, then a heartier hike is likely to be in order.

The route
  • 7.1km/4.4 miles
  • 2.5 hours
  • Moderate
Ty Hyll walking route and map
Tŷ Hyll tearooms to Llyn Bodgynydd map

Llyn Tegid, Gwynedd

8.9 miles/14.3km | 5-6 hours | challenging

Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) near the small town of Bala in Gwynedd in Wales in the United Kingdom.
Ellyn Tegid, known as Lake Bala in English, sit in the east of Snowdonia National Park/Credit: Getty

Known in English as Lake Bala, Llyn Tegid is the largest natural lake in Wales – explore its banks and surrounding forests in the east of Snowdonia National Park with this 8.5-mile hike.

The route

  • 14.3km/8.9miles
  • 4.5 hours
  • Moderate/challenging
Llyn Tegid walking route and map

Llyn Tegid map

Gwydir Castle, Llanrwst, Conwy

5.3 miles/8.5km | 3 hours | moderate

Wonder around the lush grounds of Gwydir Castle in Snowdonia/Credit: Alamy

Gwydir Castle stands beside an old road connecting the market town of Llanrwst with the village of Betws-y-Coed in the lush Conwy Valley. It’s a peaceful place – but it hasn’t always been that way.

Back in the late 15th century, this lawless, wasted land was occupied by bandits. But it was soon brought under control by Meredith ap Ieuan – leading regional supporter of King Henry VII – and his bowmen. Meredith and his men rebuilt the castle around 1490 and it became the ancestral home of the powerful Wynn dynasty. Towards the end of the Tudor period, Meredith’s great grandson Sir John Wynn was the most powerful landowner in north Wales.Explore a Tudor mansion and its former estate on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales with our easy walking route of Gwydir Castle, Llanrwst, Conwy.

There’s lots more to explore too – try this pretty amble from Llanrwst to Llyn y Parc.

The route
  • 8.5km/5.2 miles
  • 3 hours
  • Moderate
Gwydir Castle walking route and map
Gwydir Castle map

Harlech to Llandecwyn, Gwynedd

9.5 miles | 5-6 hours | moderate

Harlech Castle in Snowdonia National Park
Bryn Cader Faner – or ‘The Welsh Crown of Thorns’ as it is often called – was described by archaeologist Aubrey Burl as one of the wonders of prehistoric Wales/Credit: Getty

Located in the ancient district of Ardudwy, between the stunning estuaries of the Mawddach and Glaslyn, is the town of Harlech, famed for its dramatically positioned castle on a rock.

High above the castle and town, a Bronze Age trackway runs through a magical landscape, disturbed only by the mewing of buzzards and the song of the skylark. Choose a fine, clear day during a dry spell and follow this peaceful, linear walk towards Bryn Cader Faner, a striking Bronze Age cairn set in the wild foothills of the Rhinog mountains.

The route
  • 15.9km/9.9 miles
  • 6 hours
  • Moderate/challenging
Harlech walking route and map
Harlech map

Llyn y Dywarchen, Gwynedd

7 miles/11.3km | 4 hours | moderate

Llyn y Dywarchen, Gwynedd
Llyn y Dywarchen, Gwynedd/Credit: Getty

Deep in Snowdonia lies a lake across which an island once floated. In folklore, this is not unusual. St Brendan’s Isles drifted around the globe for centuries, and seven of Britain’s canonised saints apparently floated to our shores on a sod.

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Hike through deep valleys, along meandering forest paths and beside an old mountain railway to this mysterious lake.

The route
  • 11.3km/7 miles
  • 4 hours
  • Moderate
Llyn y Dywarchen walking route and map
Beddgelert to Llyn y Dywarchen map

Authors

Daniel Graham of COuntryfile magazine on a hike with wet hair and blue coat and hills in background
Daniel GrahamOutdoors editor, BBC Countryfile Magazine

Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.

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