Rhyd Ddu makes a great base for walking, with plenty of routes to choose from. You’ve got the Welsh Highland Railway that reaches here from Caernarfon, and onwards to Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestinog. Walks of choice from here would have to be the Nantlle Ridge and Snowdon’s south ridge. Getting there by bus is easy. There are Sherpa buses from Caernarfon, Beddgelert and Porthmadog; with connections coming in from Llanberis and Betws y Coed. Drivers can click on the link here to plan their route to the car park, which charges £4 a day.
If you finish your walk here, then there’s two great options for refreshments. The Ty Mawr B&B and Tea Room is well worth a visit. If like me you always think of Withnail And I when the words Tea Room are uttered and generally keep clear, you’d be making a big mistake as walkers genuinely are welcome.
If you want a pint, then the Cwellyn Arms in the village centre serves a peerless real ale. They have a range from local breweries (Cwrw Mel from Conwy is one of the finest!) and further afield, including Leffe on tap. With a selection like this, you could easily forget the hills. Definitely not recommended that you stop here for a swift pint before a wild camp. This pub used to have a reputation for being pricey. It’s still not cheap, but compares favourably to other pubs selling quality ale.
With so many options, we’ve gone for the Cwm Dwyfor Return route as the most satisfying route of doing all the traditional peaks. It does miss out the final peak of Mynydd Graig Goch, but makes up for it simply by being a circuit. Of course, yo can add that mountain as well, and return via Cwm Cipwrth and Cwm Pennant for an even more challenging walk. It is also possible to descend Cwm Braich y Dinas, though this is a rough, unclear descent.
This takes in the main scramble on Mynydd Drws y Coed before descending a short while later to bring you a taste of the ridge in a matter of hours. This is a favourite after work walk.
Despite being arguably the best walking route up Yr Wyddfa, the South Ridge path draws blank expressions from most walkers. Those in the know however, realise that this is an absolute gem of a route that provides awesome views of the summit and an airy walk over Bwlch Main to cap it all off.
Another quieter route up Snowdon, but often gets busier late morning as the stragglers arrive and are unable to park at Pen y Pass. There’s not much going for this route, until you reach the cliffs above Cwm Clowgwyn and the walk across Bwlch Main, which is shared with the South Ridge ascent.
Yr Aran is a fine peak of a mountain, but overshadowed by Yr Wyddfa. It’s still worth a short walk, or even better to bag it before walking up the South Ridge.
Despite being close to Snowdon, this is a nice, quiet walk with a bit of interest. Mynydd Mawr is a solitary summit, perfect for a quick morning or afternoon bimble, with a walk up a pleasant grassy ridge and an alternative return via Llyn y Dywarchen and Clogwynygarreg adding interest to the end of the walk.