Snowdonia in 7 Epic Walks or Backpacks
Your mission, if you choose to undertake it, is to cover as much Snowdon as you can in 7 days. Many of these walks are seriously long and would make excellent 2 day backpacking routes in Snowdonia. By following these routes, you’ll only miss out a handful of summits across the entire park. just for the record, we’ve excluded those summits that are mere bumps on a ridge. So you’ll visit many more summits than mentioned here, but they’re excluded on the lack of re ascent. The list we’ve used is the WASHIS – Welsh and Six Hundred in Stature.
The hardest decision was to exclude Nantlle, but that’s included as the optional 8th day, as we never follow the rules we set out for ourselves.
(Distance 46km, Ascent – 2300m)
This one misses out just two summits in the range, but they happen to be Crib Goch and Lliwedd! This route starts in Caernarfon and ends in Penrhyndeudraeth, though those of a more modest constitution can start in Waunfawr or Llanberis and end the route in Nant Gwynant, Beddgelert or Rhyd Ddu. Starting off over the most pleasant grassy ridge of Moel Eilio and her minions, before slogging up the Ranger to Carnedd Ugain and Yr Wyddfa. Relief in the descent of the South Ridge before a final pull to bag yr Aran. Peaks ascended – 6. Left over – 2. The best thing about this is that the peaks left over are then ripe for the climbing by completing the classic Snowdon Horseshoe!
(Distance 30km, Ascent – 1800m).
This one’s an epic. The distance is plenty, the ascent greater. Starting off by gently ascending over Conwy Mountain, which isn’t one, and on to Tal y Fan which is. Continuing on towards Drum, Foel Fras, Garnedd Uchaf (resist the name change!), Foel Fras and finally the highest point of Carnedd Llewelyn. Bagging the lot is now made difficult as you’ve four ridges that meet up at Llewelyn. You’ve the Elen in one direction,which you can descend to naturally before contouring and continuing over Carnedd Dafydd and Pen yr Ole Wen. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you doing that and returning to Llewelyn and continuing with the route we suggest. End the route by descending to Bwlch Eryl Farchog and over Pen yr Helgi Du and Pen Llithrig y Wrach before descending to Capel. You manage to bag 5 proper summits (with 3 well known tops that are only bumps in the ridge) while missing out on the other 4 summits. You’ll need 2 other walks to finish these off!
(Distance 37km+, Ascent – 2100m+).
Another epic day out, that could well be done in reverse and combined with the previous route to create a mini LDP. In fact, you could link it to the Snowdon Challenge and create an absolute monster. Starting off at Maentwrog or the Oakley Arms, you first ascend Moelwyn Bach, then Mawr before the decsision is taken to head for Cnicht or Allt Fawr. Cnicht makes a logical continuation before then bagging the outliers of Moel Druman and Allt Fawr. Returning over these, you have a wild walk over Moel Meirch and the just too short Carnedd y Cribau, but one of the best views of Snowdon. Finally ascending the least interesting ridge of Siabod before descending whichever route you see fit. 8 summits bagged in this excursion with only the tops to the east of the A470 left over (Manod and Moel Penamnen).
(Distance 30.5Km, Ascent – 1600m).
This one is best done as a wild camp unless you know these hills. Starting off in Trawsfynydd in order to climb the pain in the penolau and Ysgyfarnogod, before heading south over the badlands and then the 4 hard won summits. Once you reach Y Llethr, the going becomes much easier, thankfully. The only summit you won’t ascend is Y Garn, though you could easily extend the trip in order to do so.
(Distance 21Km, Ascent – 1650m).
A Classic day out and on paper this is one of the easiest here, but don’t underestimate it! You ascend Elidir from whichever way you will, before crossing over and dog legging to Carnedd y Filiast (or the other way around, it’s all good). There’s summits galore from here onwards as you continue over Y Garn, both Glyderau and finally descend to Bwlch Tryfan in order to finish the day off on a high by climbing Tryfan. 8 Summits bagged, including the outlying Y Foel Goch (another one!) easily excluded if you want a shorter day (only about 2km).
(Distance 23km, Ascent – 1200m).
This route is usually completed as an out and back, but the Cwm Croes horseshoe is a superior option. Ascending the endless wide ridge makes a tough start to this walk and you could easily be three hours before you reach any sort of summit. While you only visit 4 summits on this walk, you do manage to bag the outliers of Foel Hafod Fynydd and Esgeiriau Gwynion which provide a wonderful view of Aran Fawddwy from its most flattering aspect. You miss out on Glasgwm and Pen y Bryn Fforchiog to the west that can easily be climbed in one more excursion. To the east as well lie the Hirnant hills, and it’s rather difficult to know where one starts and the other begins with Esgeiriau Gwynion falling firmly between them. To the west is Aran and the east the Hirnant hills to which it is more likely a part of as the terrain is similar and is separated by less ascent. The only reason it’s often put in with the Aran range is the placement of the Bwlch y Groes road which seems to serve as an unofficial divider.
(Distance 26km, Ascent 1500m)
This route climbs every summit in the Cadair Idris range, but misses out on the walk via Cwm Cau. While that’s the more spectacular facet of this mountain, the Minffordd path is a nightmare of rock steps that make me break out in a cold sweat thinking about. This route is a much quieter side of the mountain, and while you climb the main summits, you’ll walk over Pen y Gadair twice before a final remote bimble over the less often visited Tyrrau Mawr and Craig-y-llyn.
(Distance 15km, 1400m ascent)
This has to be one of my favourite walks and a must do. The route linked to can be extended over the always was a mountain of Mynydd Graig Goch and down to Nebo, or descend via Cwm Cipwrth in order to return to Rhyd Ddu via Bwlch y Ddwy Elor and make it a really decent day out.
Having walked all that, you’ll still have plenty left to do in Snowdonia, but your walking CV will look impressive. A notable omission from the popular hills is Moel Hebog, which is another decent day out. Then you’ve got the southern ranges of the Tarrenau and Maesglasau ridges that are largely straightforward bar some forestry navigation. Then you can try and get the pesky Central hills around the Arenig area, including the less known Rhobell and Dduallt before finally whacking the heather over the remaining Hirnant peaks. Oh, and there’s yet another Foel Goch just to the north of Bala that you’ll need to climb!
And of course, you could always just do the 14/15 peaks!