If your looking to do a hike in Snowdonia this spring, there are some off the beaten track peaks to bag to here in north Wales, all of which, have something a little different to offer. Within Snowdonia, are some amazing day hikes such a Cincht, Moel Siabod and Y Garn that have something a little bit special about them. Whether it is the views, the nature or an airy exposed ascent, there is always something new and original about these peaks each time we head out to them.
Here are the five mountain peaks in north Wales to choose from this spring on your stay. These amazing peaks, are up there in our estimations and are fabulous walks for the intermediate walker. Snowdon, Tryfan and the Glyders are all well known mountains but, there are many other mountains that are a great day out, not to heavy on the millage and can be accessed easily and all done between 4-6 hours depending on your fitness. Here are the five we have chosen for you.
They are all based around the intermediate hiking level and require some navigation skills, map reading and hill fitness. To get a closer idea on routes, directions and locations we have attached links to the best websites right now.
- Cnicht – The mini welsh matterhorn
- Moel Siabod – A hidden gem in the Moelwyn range near Betws y coed
- Carenedd Daffydd– The little brother of Carnedd Llewelyn
- Y Garn – A steep peak that can be great for a straight out the car hit
- Elidir Fawr– An Eveining hike for summer days
- Cnicht – known as the mini Welsh Matterhorn is an amazing hike on the southern side of Snowdonia. It is renound for its steep grassy ridge that rises up its flanks to its rocky summit. It’s a real cracker for a day hike in the spring and summer. The pyramidal peak is renound for its grassy scramble up to the top of the Peak. The views are fantastic of the south side of Snowdon over towards the renound climbing spot of Tremadog. You can make a circular walk of it by desceding on the lee side of the mountain. The hike is 10.15km and should take 4.5 hours and Its elevation is 742m high. What we love about this one, is the amazing arête that you hike up, its not too punchy but it has a bit of an airy feel to give you a little exposure. Perfectly fine for the family though.
- Moel Siabod — in Snowodnia near Betws Y Coed is another beautiful hike that’s a bit different that your average peak. Its quite secluded on the Moelwyn range away from its brother and sister mountains. I always think that these less glacial V shapped valley areas are more akin to JR Tolkeins Lord of the rings land scape. Seated near Capel Curig on the route to Betws y Coed it’s a bit of a solitary peak in the Moelwyn range and its fabulous views on a good day, extend north over towards Snowdon. I find this a more gentle hike than Cnicht, and the path winds its way up the sub 1000m peak. It has a Military range on its lower flanks which has confuses the life out of me as a young hiker when I heard shots and whistles going off in the mist! The hike is 10km and it should take 4 hours to complete and has an elevation of 747m high.
- Carenedd Daffydd – is a gentle but steady hike into the Carneddau mountain range on the Eastern seaboard of Snowdonia, you can make this into a more encompassing day by jingin it up with Carenedd Llewelyn and doing h hore shoe route back donw into Gerlan. Alternatively you can hike from CD to Pen-yr-Olwen and into the farside of the Ogwen valley. It’s a popular hike but not so popular that you will be fighting your way up the hill! We often do a hike and camp there, or winter climb the famous black ladders there. We walk in from the small town of Gerlan. It is the second highest mountain in Snowdon at 1024m. There are a number of ways you can get to the top of Carnedd Dafydd or Carnedd Llewelyn its bigger brother. See the link by mud and routes below for the variety of options avalible to you.
- Y Garn – A classic welsh peak that sits to the north of Snowdon and Tryfan. It can be accessed by going up through the devils kitchen and turning left and heading for the summit of Y Garn (see links) and then continuing back down into Cwm Idwal once you have topped out, via the steep pathway down. Its a steep hike but I like these ones as it really gets the lungs pumping but Its not a big hill as you start off from some already gained height at Cwm Idwal. It’s a classic for winter snow gulley climbs, there is banana gulley and parsley fern gulley which are gems when the snow falls. It’s a 900m mountain and should take you 4 hours ish.. It’s a round trip of 7km.
- Elidir Fawr – Can be accesses half way by car by driving towards the Marchlyn mawr reservoir and parking on the hillside. Its an ideal hike if you are short of time in the eveining and want to start from a higher point on the hill. It has amazing views over towards Caernarfon Bay and down the Llyn. I particulary like doing a route from Elidir Fawr over to Carnedd Y Ffiliast in the summer months. Its 10.6km so about four hours and is 960m in height. Again a really cool route for the autumn spring and summer..Its also a great cycle spot too for exploring on the bike, amazing switch back turns on the descent!
So there we have it, five spring time walks for the intermediate walkers. Snowdonia has some amazing off the grid style hiking if your willing to move off the beaten track, there is so much to do in Snowdonia hike wise, you don’t need to stick to the 1000 ‘rs as we call them, there are plenty of smaller peaks to bag that are equally as fun, challenging and picturesque.
Disclaimer: Please do your homework before heading out onto the hills. Our wonderful but yet over stretched mountain rescue teams have hard enough day job keeping up with ill equipped mountain days hikers at best. So here is a check list for your hike out (I am ML trained so can hand these points over to you in good faith)
Prep & Packlist :
Check the weather, use MWIS for snowdonia
Start early and tell someone where your going
Pack extra layers in a water proof pack at the base of your pack
Take a bottle for water or a camelback
Pack good high nutrition food and a warm drink in a flask
Take a 1:25000 & 1:50000 map, compass and GPS
Pack a hat, gloves neck warmer and extra warm layers its cold on the tops.
Take a friend with you & pack the GPS for poor weather nav
Allow for more time to do the route than it takes you
Wear a base layer and pack some gaiters it can be muddy in spring still
Choose a route and stick to it
Have a foul weather plan
Don’t rely on mobile phones to navigate- that is a fools game
Phill George and Ibex guides are two of my favourites in the area who are super professional yet fun. They are the highest level of mountain guides holding the IFMGA & AMI guide badge. Both Phil and Owen are super cool guys and offer various courses, both hiking, mountaineering and climbing.
Here are a few a things that I pack whilst out on the hill (OS Maps will cover all the areas mentioned) these items I have refined over the past fiver years and are my go to items.