3 Snowdonia mountains for your bucket list

Inspires by Avis contributor and outdoor adventurer Rob Haggan details his favourite mountains to climb across the Snowdonia National Park.

Famous for its incredible landscapes, rugged coastline and imposing mountain range, Snowdonia is synonymous with adventure. From surfing to climbing to mountain biking to kayaking, this national park is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

There’s a place for almost every adventure sport you can think of in Snowdonia, but it’s the hiking that makes it a place you’ll want to return to again and again. With almost 1500 miles of walking trails and some of the UK’s highest mountains, there is plenty to explore here. Lace up your hiking boots and start planning a road trip to North Wales because these three mountains should definitely be on your bucket list.

The Glyderau

The Glyderau, also known as the Glyders, is a group of mountains in Snowdonia that include Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and Tryfan. This set of mountains offers some of the most stunning hiking routes in Snowdonia. Accessed from Cwm Idwal and rising up past the beautiful lake of Llyn Idwal, the fun really begins with a scramble up the ominously named ‘Devil’s Kitchen’. The word ‘Glyder’ derives from the Welsh word for heaped stones, and once you gain some height you will understand why.

Stony path leading up a mountain

Mountain path leading to Cwm Idwal, Devil’s Kitchen

Above Devil’s Kitchen the landscape changes dramatically to a barren expanse of large grey stones all piled on top of each other; remnants of the mountains glacial past. There are several stunning rock formations that will have you reaching for your camera, including ‘Castell y Gwynt’ which translates as ‘Castle of the Winds’, and the iconic Cantilever Stone where you can catch your breath and get your Instagram photos.

Pointed rocks in formation on top of a mountain

Castell y Gwynt/Castles in the Wind

The summits of the Glyderau can often be enveloped in cloud which only adds to the atmosphere of the rocky landscape. However, the route can be hard to follow so it’s important that you have a map, compass and some basic navigation skills to tackle this epic route.

Parking and Starting Point – Use postcode LL57 3LZ to arrive at the car park opposite to Idwal Cottage YHA. The walk then begins by following the trail behind the snack bar.

Cadair Idris

At the Southern end of Snowdonia National Park, near the town of Dolgellau is Cadair Idris. This mountain falls just short of 3000 feet, so doesn’t make it onto the revered list of Welsh 3000s (fifteen prodigious Welsh mountains over 3000 feet). However, Cadair Idris should not be bypassed because a few of its neighbours are slightly taller. This is a spectacular, and challenging hike that will offer incredible views around the horseshoe-shaped route that overlooks the mountain lake of Llyn Cau.

Mountainous valley

Cadair Idris landscape

The Minfford Path offers a short but steep route to the summit, following the ridgeline of Craig Cau up to Penygadair. There are many hikers who will happily tell you that this is their favourite walk in Snowdonia, even Wales – a big statement considering just how many epic locations there are. Being at the southern end of the park, this mountain can sometimes seem much quieter than Snowdon itself but it’s no secret so you can expect to see a few people at the summit on a sunny day.

Parking and Starting Point – For the Minfford Track, park at the Dol Idris Car Park, postcode LL36 9AJ. You can start the trail by following the steep track up through the woodland behind the tea rooms.

Snowdon (via the Rhyd Ddu Track)

Lake by some mountains

Mount Snowdon and landscape in Snowdonia National Park

If you’ve never been to the top of Snowdon, the biggest mountain in Wales, then it’s time that you changed that. Even if you have already scaled to the summit, if you haven’t tackled it from the Rhyd Ddu path then it’s definitely worth seeing it from this side. The most common routes up to Snowdon’s summit are via the Pyg Track and Miners Track, both of which see a steady stream of visitors all year round. The Rhyd Ddu Track approaches the summit from the west and offers incredible views and a relatively easy approach to the top.

The route rises to meet the Llechog ridge and the panoramic views from there are to be enjoyed all the way up. This route is typically much quieter than the others and even in the summer months, you can find yourself completely alone in this beautiful landscape. From the summit, you can descend the same way you came, or head back down the Snowdon Ranger Track to make a circular route.

Parking and Starting Point – For the Rhyd Ddu track, park at the station using postcode LL54 6TN. From here, head to the far end of the car park and follow the trail over the tracks and up towards the Snowdon summit.