Take an adventure through the Snowdonia mountains holiday cottages

Take an adventure through the Snowdonia mountains

Sarah P 04 November 2020

The Eryri / Snowdonia mountain range is a destination for adventure, discovery, and scenery like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Soaring peaks stand majestically over sweeping valleys and shimmering lakes. Home to the 15 mountains in Wales named as the Welsh 3000s for having a height of over 3,000 feet, you know you’re in for a challenge and a treat when it comes to mountain vistas and photo opportunities! It is, of course, also home to the highest mountain in all of Wales: Yr Wyddfa / Mount Snowdon. 

Whether you’re a seasoned scrambler, or keen for something a little gentler – but still a challenge – Snowdonia’s mountains are for you. We’ve picked some of the highest, most popular and lesser-known peaks to whet your mountain-climbing appetite.

Yr Wyddfa / Mount Snowdon (1085m)

Let’s begin with the best-known mountain in Wales, Yr Wyddfa / Mount Snowdon. At the very heart of the national park, this rugged peak stands at 1085 metres tall and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Climbing Snowdon has become one of those bucket-list activities for all generations visiting North Wales, and why not? Who doesn’t want to post that summit photo to Instagram and say they’ve conquered the highest mountain in Snowdonia, and Wales for that matter?

If you fancy a climb…

While it might be the highest mountain in Wales, it’s not the most difficult of climbs. Some routes are more challenging than others, but with six to choose from, it’s a mountain for all ages and abilities – providing you go prepared. The easiest, but the longest, is the Llanberis Path which progresses at a steady gradient and follows the route of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. The hardest, which should definitely be reserved for the most adventurous and experienced hiker, is Crib Goch

Carnedd Llywelyn (1064m)

Falling just 21 metres behind Snowdon, Carnedd Llewelyn in the Carneddau range in the north of Snowdonia National Park is the second-highest mountain in Snowdonia, and climbing it is an achievement in its own right. With wide-open views of distant peaks and sweeping valleys to the Glyderau, Snowdon and the Menai Straits, the climb to the summit is a photographer's dream on a clear day. 

If you fancy a climb…

Like Snowdon, there are several routes to choose from, varying in length and difficulty. Many of them combine Carnedd Llywelyn’s slightly smaller neighbour Carnedd Dafydd – both named after Welsh princes. If you’re feeling energetic, it's an opportunity to tick off two of Snowdonia’s mountain peaks in one day! Take a look at the various routes and plan an adventure of a lifetime.  

Glyder Fawr (1001m) / Glyder Fach (994m)

Another photographer’s paradise, the Glyderau boasts some of the most iconic views in Snowdonia and features two unique summits, Glyder Fawr and Fach, which are home to two of the national park’s most famous landmarks! A mound of shattered, menacing-looking rocks known as Castell y Gwynt stands proud at the Glyder Fach summit; come rain or shine nothing ruins the appearance of this striking viewpoint. Meanwhile, the Cantilever stone, also at Glyder Fach, provides probably one of the best Instagram spots for adventurers in the whole of North Wales. 

If you fancy a climb…

None of the routes up Glyder Fawr are considered ‘easy’, and while they aren’t the longest hikes in Snowdonia, they can be rough going! One of the best routes to appreciate the breathtaking scenery is from Ogwen, approaching the pair of mountains from the north and taking in Devil’s Kitchen. Don’t underestimate this route though as it can be challenging in places and take around 5 - 6 hours to complete. 

Tryfan (918m)

On the approach to Tryfan, the rugged mountain dominates the skyline with a trio of summits that will be sure to get the heart racing, the central peak flanked with two pillar-like stones known as ‘Adam & Eve.' With some jaw-dropping scrambles and sheer drops, these razor-edged rocks are definitely not for the fainthearted. If this towering trio of peaks tempts the daredevil inside you, on the way up you’re likely to spot feral goats that have made the Tryfan their home and are much more agile on the rocks than you will be! 

If you fancy a climb… 

With no ‘easy’ routes up Tryfan, this is definitely one of Snowdonia’s mountains that should only be attempted by the most experienced hiker and scrambler – which means they require your hands to reach the top! All three distinct routes require some level of skill, but the South Ridge is classed as the least difficult. If you’re up for the challenge and feel prepared, the route starts at Llyn Ogwen and heads along the old coach road towards Gwern Gof Isaf. 

Aran Fawddwy (905m)

A modest Snowdonia mountain, Aran Fawddwy keeps its most beautiful features close, rewarding only those who make an effort to reach the top! The mountain forms a long rocky ridge, with the summit making the highest point. Will grassy hills, rocky slopes and peaceful lakes at the foot, the views from the top are like nothing you will have ever seen before. On a clear day, your efforts really will be rewarded by far-reaching views over most of the North Wales mountain ranges, and as far south as the Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire peninsula. 

Fancy a climb…

As one of Snowdonia’s lesser-known mountains, many of the routes to the summit of Aran Fawddwy are much quieter than the likes of its well-known neighbour, Cader Idris. The 7.5-mile route from Cwm Cywarch takes hikers up away from deep valleys and rolling hills, across pretty streams and rocky landscape, and eventually to the summit, which plateaus and with very little shelter, and definitely bears the brunt of the unpredictable Snowdonia weather.  

Y Lilwedd (898m)

One of Snowdonia’s more iconic rock faces, and formerly a popular British rock-climbing destination, today Y Lilwedd is largely ignored by climbers in place of mountains like Tryfan. We love to find a less-popular spot though, because there’s nothing more magical than feeling like you’re the only people to have discovered such a beautiful and remote place. And while it might not be teeming with visitors, it doesn’t for a second mean it is any less of a Snowdonia beauty spot.  

If you fancy a climb…

Take the Lilwedd Route from the Pen y Pass car park – which, due to the popularity of the Pen y Pass route, will fill up quickly so get a head start on the day and go early! The Lilwedd route will take you southwards along the Miners Track before deviating away from the path and ascending the slopes of Y Lilwedd and up the East Ridge. Close to the summit, the climb gets steep and rocky and eventually turns into a Grade 1 scramble, so you must take extra care. 

Cader Idris (893m)

One of Snowdonia’s most popular peaks, it is also the highest in southern Snowdonia and its distinctive shape can be seen from the North Wales coast. Its popularity means that it is a lot busier than some of the Snowdonia mountains we have mentioned, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy climb. Legend has it that the mountain is named after a giant called Idris. It is also one of the Welsh three peaks, a challenge which sees walkers take on three mountains in Wales usually in less than 24 hours: Cader Idris, Snowdon and Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons. 

If you fancy a climb… 

The most straightforward, and therefore the most popular route to the summit of Cader Idris is the Pony Path, which begins from Ty Nant car park which features toilets and a picnic area. Like many of Snowdonia’s mountain walks, the steady path will get a little more challenging as you reach the summit, often requiring a scramble to the very top! Fingers crossed for a clear day because the views over Snowdonia, Y Rhinogydd and towards the hills of Mid Wales will be sure to take your breath away! 

Eryri / Snowdonia accommodation 

You’ll want to base yourselves close to Snowdonia’s mountains so that you can get ahead of the crowds with an early start to your climb! We’ve handpicked some of our best Snowdonia restaurants and cottages in Wales for exploring Snowdonia. 

Plas Meirion, Betws-y-Coed – sleeps 6

Close to the adventure capital of Snowdonia, Betws-y-Coed, Plas Meirion is in the perfect location for outdoor pursuits. The stunning property sleeps six people, so it’s ideal for a small group of hikers seeking a comfortable base to rest after a day in the mountains. 

Cappele Cottage, Betws-y-Coed – sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

This charming Welsh cottage offers a small group or family a cosy escape in rural Wales, with easy access to some of the area’s most popular mountain walks! The well-equipped farmhouse has everything you need to sit back and relax after a day outdoors.  

Custard Cottage, Barmouth – sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Custard Cottage

Located on the edge of the seaside town of Barmouth, this delightful cottage is perfect for enjoying the very best of the coast and countryside in Snowdonia National Park. Complete with beautiful views and unique features, it will be a delight to rest your head here each night. 

Eryri / Snowdonia mountains weather forecast

The main thing you need to know about the Snowdonia mountains weather forecast is that it can be unpredictable! It can also be completely different from when you start your climb, to when you reach the summit. You’ll need to consider the rain, wind, fog and storms that can be a dangerous combination on the peaks, so decide if you’ve chosen the best day to take them on. Equally, go prepared with appropriate clothing in case it does do a 360 on your way up. Don’t forget hot weather too – make sure you have plenty of water and sun cream!  

Eryri / Snowdonia mountains map

Where are our favourite mountains in Snowdonia? We’ve put together a handy map so you can see where in the national park to find these lofty peaks. 

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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