North Wales is home to rugged coastline with meandering coastal paths, hills and mountains ready to be climbed with well-earnt views at the top, and rolling farmland filled with nature’s finest plants and animals! Whether a seasoned hiker looking for a challenge, or a family looking for a gentle stroll to soak up some fresh air, there will be a walk for you in North Wales.
We have compiled our Top 10 Walks in North Wales to help narrow down the vast amount of choice that you have available. Don’t be put off by our Number 1 walk – Snowdon! We appreciate that this is not for the faint-hearted and promise that there is plenty of less challenging walks further down, but we thought it would be sacrilege to not include Wales’ highest mountain on our list!
Distance: 11-14km (there and back – depending on the route chosen)
Time: 6 hours (there and back)
Incline: 700-900m (depending on the route)
There are 6 main routes available that allow you to get to the top of Snowdon, so which you choose is really down to personal preference. Although this is a challenging walk that really is only for those of you that are used to getting out hiking, the views that you will be treated to the whole way (but particularly at the top) really are unbeatable! Not only this, but standing at a whopping 1085m, Snowdon is the tallest mountain in not only Wales but England as well, so is a real achievement – if you can make it to the top!
NOTE: This walk requires a lot of preparation to be completed safely. Make sure to carry a rucksack with supplies and plan your route before completing.
2. Cwm Idwal
Time: 2-3 hours
Walk around the oldest National Nature Reserve in Wales, taking in jaw-dropping mountain scenery throughout the whole walk. Formed hundreds of years ago, during the Ice Age, this walk skirts around the edge of the beautifully clear waters of Llyn Idwal. There is something for everyone on this walk, from the impressive Darwin Idwal Boulders that scatter parts of the hills, to the dramatic cliff faces and calm peaceful waters – you definitely won’t be short of views to absorb! Not only this but there are plenty of places to enjoy a picnic! The one downside to this walk is that it can become rather busy during the summer months, so we would recommend avoiding peak season or getting up early – we promise it will be worth it!
3. Gelert’s Grave and Beddgelert
Time: 40mins – 1 hour
The story and history behind this walk is what makes it to our Top 10 walks in North Wales. This is a nice and easy route, suitable for the whole family with views over the surrounding countryside. You will also get the opportunity to visit Gelert’s Grave and relive the fateful tale of man’s best friend. The walk is dog friendly, so all you dog-lovers be prepared to have a tear in your eye when you read the tale that led to this gentle, circular route!
NOTE: Gelert’s Grave is a nice, simple walk that will take under an hour, however, there are many more walks to explore around Beddgelert that are well worth a visit!
4. Llyn Ogwen
Time: 1-2 hours
Follow the stream up towards Llyn Ogwen and you will find breathless views that will leave you questioning if you are still in Great Britain. This walk doesn’t have too much of an incline but there are some areas filled with boulders that you will have to manoeuvre around. In our opinion, this just adds to the excitement of the walk, and the contrast between the still open waters and the rugged hills behind really is something to behold! Not only this, but legend suggests that this route includes the last resting place of King Arthur’s sword – Excalibur. Now imagine happening upon that whilst you are out walking!
5. Llangollen Canal Walk
Time: 4 hours
The main requirement of this walk is that you have a head for heights, which is not something that we say for many of our walks! This walk takes you over the Pontcytslite Aqueduct, which is impressive not just because of the fact that it stands at 126 feet with 19 arches spanning 45 feet each, but also because the aqueduct is over 200 years old!
The walk has a little incline, so is relatively easy to navigate and walk along, but you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, peaceful wildlife making the most of the canal and the history that surrounds this walk. From the pump-house to Horseshoe Falls, there is so much to take in on this walk!
6. Anglesey Coastal Path
Distance: 225km in total!
Time: Dependant on which parts of the path you undertaken!
The Anglesey Coastal Path is a trail that literally spreads the whole circumference of the Isle of Anglesey! The views of the open sea, cliffs but also farmland and countryside are what draws hundreds of people to this little part of North Wales every season! We appreciate that it would be impossible to complete all of the coastal paths in one go – but there are many routes to choose from that will allow you to reap the benefits of the trail, without having to commit to undertaking the full coastal path! However, if you are interested there are holidays available that allow you to hike around the full path in less than 2 weeks!
7. High Carneddau from Llyn Ogwen – Carnedd Dafydd and Llywelyn
Time: 6-7 hours
From coastal paths back to mountain scrambles – this walk allows you to ‘tick off’ some of the main peaks in North Wales; Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llywelyn. But much more than this, the views of the surrounding high peaks and also the lakes down low means that there will always be something to look at whilst you are undertaking this challenging walk. Admittedly, it is not one of the easier walks on the route, so you need to be prepared for a bit of a climb – both literally and metaphorically! But we feel it is well worth the effort!
8. Nant Gwynant Valley
Time: 3-4 hours
This circular route starts and finishes in the peaceful village of Craflwyn, with so much to take in on the way! Through rolling farmland, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful waterfalls of Afon Cwm Llan and the lake Llyn Dinas. Not only this, but you will step onto Snowdon itself (admittedly just the lower slopes), but it will allow you to look up to the highest mountain in England and Wales and possibly start making plans for that major achievement! There is some beautiful woodland to walk through on the stretch of Watkins path, but also plenty of farmland, which may mean you have to keep your dog on the lead for stretches of this walk!
9. Dolmelynllyn Estate
Time: 3 hours
Walking through the Dolmelynllyn Estate with its vast open countryside and tumbling Rhaeadr Ddu Falls is the perfect way to spend any day out walking! The good thing about this walk is that there are MANY options and routes allowing you to extend it or decrease it depending on what you are wanting on a particular day. You will walk through farmland, woodland, and alongside the river, so there is always something new to see throughout the walk – not to mention the varied wildlife and plants!
NOTE: Don’t forget to allocate some time to explore the remains of Cefn Coch gold mine – a treat for adults and children alike!
10. Nercwys Forest
Time: 3-4 hours
Last, but definitely not least on our Top 10 Walks in North Wales is Nercwys Forest. It is hard to say exactly how long it will take you to walk around Nercwys Forest, as it really depends how much exploring you are wanting to do – there is plenty available. With beautiful views, plants and wildlife there really is so much to take in on this walk. Children will also love being able to run in and out of the trees – but the forest is large enough for you to not be inundated with people walking by the whole time!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are most walks in North Wales dog friendly?
Yes! You will find a large number of routes in North Wales that are dog friendly, providing you are happy to put your dog on the lead when walking through farmland. However, many of the walks in North Wales do have stiles, so you will need to have a dog that is able to get over these, or be happy to lift the dog over!
Are there any more accessible walks in North Wales?
Yes! There are a number of walks in North Wales that are suitable for families, pushchairs or those with less mobility – in fact, a number of the walks have this specifically in mind, with paths that are purpose-built. These include; the Mawddach Trail, Llyn Cwellyn and Benar Boardwalk, but there are many more!