MOUNTAIN WALKING

We are surrounded by beautiful mountains here in North Wales. And for understandable reasons, the one peak that everybody knows the name of is the biggest one of all. Snowdon.

But… it probably won’t have escaped you that A LOT of people want to conquer our highest mountain when they visit North Wales. In peak season the main paths up can become rather crowded. 

The good news is, there are dozens of alternative peaks in North Wales to enjoy, each within their own wonderfully distinct ranges. Here are some of our favourites.

The Carneddau 

The beautiful Carneddau mountains run along the western side of the Conwy Valley and form the backdrop to our adventure parc. They are home to herds of wild ponies and heather-strewn grassy slopes.

They are also home to some of the biggest mountains in Wales, with the highest summit, Carnedd Llywelyn, standing at 1064m. That’s just 21m lower than Snowdon. 

These are grassy whaleback humps rather than the rugged peaks of the Snowdon massif, with some beautiful lakes and forests to explore – Llyn Crafnant is one of our favourites. 

The Glyderau

The spectacularly dramatic Glyderau mountains (also known as The Glyders) stretch from the village of Mynydd Llandegai near Bethesda (home of Zip World Velocity) south east to Capel Curig.

Boasting five of Wales’ fifteen summits over 3000 feet, these are rugged, rocky, mountains and home some of the best scrambling and climbing in the UK. The Glyderau is where you’ll find Tryfan (917m), a hands-on granite giant and one of the finest mountains in Wales.

The Rhinogydd

The Rhinogydd is a chain of low mountains which stands at the south western edge of Snowdonia. One of the most rugged upland landscapes in Britain, it is a beautiful, tranquil place. The hills are notoriously quiet and uncrossed by any road. Most of the vegetation management is done by sheep and a population of wild goats.

Moel Ysgyfarnogod is the most northerly of the Rhinogydd mountains. It is remote, heathery, grassy terrain, cut by streams and lakes. Try the 10km circular walk up Moel Ysgyfarnogod from the village of Eisingrug.

The Moelwynion

The Moelwynion – also known as the Moelwyns – sit in the centre of Snowdonia, extending from just north east of Porthmadog to Moel Siabod near Capel Curig. These craggy summits are characterised by their boggy bottoms, moist hollows and disused slate quarries. They also offer some of the best mountain views in Wales, with superb vistas north to the Snowdon horseshoe. 

Perhaps the most picturesque peak of the Moelwynion is the summit of Cnicht. It should be pretty obvious why it is known as “The Welsh Matterhorn”. 

Back to Snowdon

If you still can’t resist the lure of climbing Wales’s highest summit, the best time of year to walk is spring or autumn. You can plan ahead by downloading the Snowdon Walks app, which covers the six main routes up, with detailed maps and a live progress tracker.

Mountain Safety

All the usual safety advice applies: never go into the mountains without the right gear. Our bare minimum recommendations would be waterproofs, spare layers, food, water, gloves, hat / sun hat (and sun cream if you are climbing in summer), map, compass, mobile phone and whistle. 

Make sure you check the weather before you depart, and if possible, tell someone at home which route you intend to take and what time you expect to finish. You should always thoroughly research your route so that you have the best possible idea of what to expect.