The Carneddau in North Snowdonia are unrivalled in their scale in Snowdonia, even compared to Snowdon itself. The terrain is also less mountainous in places, meaning that there’s a vast selection of routes available
The main starting points for walking the Carneddau are Aber in the north, Bethesda in the West, Ogwen to the South and Capel Curig to the South East. There’s some sort of bus service to all of those locations, with only Ogwen being poorly served with a handful of daily buses in season. To the East, you have a long walk in from the road if you’r depending on public transport, or a drive up narrow country lanes to Cwm Eigiau if you’re driving.
Here are what we think are some of the best Routes in the Carneddau:
The Carneddau Challenge. There’s nothing more satisfying than a decent traverse of an entire mountain range. This walk takes you loosely from Conwy over the Carneddau and down to Capel Curig and can be an ideal wild camping trip. Why not extend your trip by returning via the Eryri Way and a tough but doable 30k day?
Navigation can be tricky in some places, and you’ll certainly need to be able to take and walk on a bearing if the mists come down.
All in all, a satisfying day or two in the hills!
Ogwen to Aber This is one of the best walks in the area. If you want to get a feel for these spacious hills, then this walk provides all that. Of course, you could start from the North, or even from Bethesda or the remote Eastern cwms, and all of them excellent choices.
The main advantage of this one, is that you minimise ascent, and it’s a short walk considering the ground covered (shortest walk from Ogwen to Aber). The sun is also to your back, but a lot of the view is behind you. The ascent via the short scramble from Glan Denau is a more interesting ascent, meaning you can take it easy on the long, rambling descents to the north.
Llwydmawr from Aber via Marian Rhaeadr-fawr This is an alternative approach to Llwyd Mawr (Llwytmor) from Aber that avoids the usual route via the screes to Cwm Coch and instead takes a higher route across the scree slopes that is a little hairier in places! It isn’t wet like the lower path (a stream crosses one section) and takes you straight onto the higher slopes of Llwytmor Bach (Technically the Little Big Grey Hill!)
Alternatively, you can approach via the plantation in order to come out on the slopes, and is one we’ll hopefully try out later on.
Carneddau from Rachub This, make no bones about it, its a long un. Snowdonia, the north at least, seems to have a lack of natural long walks. Even walking one end of the Carneddau to the other just passes 20km. Other longer walks involve the joining together of different ranges and the inherent excess of ascent that produces. This is a more manageable longer walk, with most of the ascent and descent being gradual and on good paths once the main spine of the Carneddau are reached. If you want even more, just dogleg out to Carnedd Dafydd and bag Yr Elen on the return journey.
Cwm Llafar Horseshoe This walk up Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd is a part of the Carneddau that is just a little wilder than the usual Ogwen and Aber ascents. You soon find yourself off the path, and either navigating over quaking mires or loose boulders. If you like a bit of off path action, this is for you.
Tal y Fan from Pen y Sychnant This is a steady plod to the northernmost Welsh mountain. This is a pleasant enough route that’s almost an out and back, but with so many parallel tracks in the area you’ll find it’s easy enough to take a different return route.
Creigiau Gleision from Capel Curig Creigiau Glesion is a peak to the North of Capel Curig. You are most likely to have seen it when looking East up Ogwen towards Capel, or on the A5 entering Capel Curig. Whichever one, if you have seen it then you’d be aware of how bumpy this lowly piece of Eryri actually is.
Awkward lumps and bumps that appear more hindrance than help of any sort, similar to the terrain between Beddgelert and Cnicht. So this lumpy-bumpy had to be traversed before the more promising peak of Creigiau Gleision was climbed, a viewpoint reputed to be one of the best in Eryri.
High Carneddau From Ogwen An ascent up Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn via Pen yr Ole wen and descending via Cwm Llugwy. This walk starts at Glan Denau on the A5, past the Lake towards Capel Curig. You can either park here, or get the Sherpa here from Bethesda or Capel. If you use the Sherpa then you can catch the bus directly to the start of the Reservoir road, or alternatively camp at Gwern Gof Isaf and walk up from your tent. You can also descend via Craig Llugwy if you need an emergency descent.
More Walks in the Carneddau can be found here.