North Wales is home to one of the most stunning National Parks and highest mountains in the UK. The views enjoyed from Snowdonia’s many peaks stretch as far as Ireland and southern Scotland, though you may need binoculars to help you! There is something magical about walking up the mountains and alongside the lakes of Snowdonia in winter, especially when the peaks are covered in snow.
The National Park offers a greater sense of wilderness in the winter months, and you can have a mini adventure with the whole group, putting your hiking and map reading skills to the test. If you are staying at our holiday homes for sale, North Wales, over the winter months there are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you occupied, including getting wrapped up and heading on a winter walk.
Moel Siabod sits above the villages of Betws-y-Coed and Capel Curig, and from the peak, you have unrivalled views of the Snowdon Massif as you can see 13 of Wales’ 14 highest peaks from one angle! At 872m, it is the highest peak in the Moelwynion mountain range and a great place to start your winter exploration of Snowdonia. Most people will begin their journey from Pont Cyfyng or Capel Curig, with the easiest route beginning from the Plas-y-Brenin National Mountaineering Centre in Capel Curig.
An easier mountain to climb, Moel Eilio is north-west of Snowdon and sees a lot of snow in the winter months. There are sensational views towards Anglesey and the Llyn Peninsula, which are especially good on a clear day after some light snowfall. The easiest route to the two peaks on Moel Eilio, Foel Gron and Foel Goch, starts in Llanberis, following part of the Bwlch y Groes mountain pass road, and is circular, with an approximate time of four hours. You can also access Snowdon via Moel Eilio if you want to tackle a longer walk.
Pen yr Ole Wen and Carnedd Dafydd
The East Ridge of Pen yr Ole Wen and the trip around the lip of Cwm Lloer is one of the most popular places for winter walks and a great introduction to the Carneddau mountains in Snowdonia. Pen yr Ole Wen, which is the same height as England’s highest peak Scafell Pike, is the starting point for the walk, as you then follow the ridge to Carnedd Dafydd. Depending on which route you take, there are steeper sections and scrambles which may require crampons.
Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr
Glyder Fawr is the highest peak at the Glyderau range with several routes to the summit, which is enhanced by the snow covering in winter. A popular walk includes neighbouring Glyder Fach and can be quite challenging, though you are rewarded with views towards Tryfan, Llyn Ogwen and Llyn Idwal, and pass by the incredible rock formations such as Cantilever Stone and Castell y Gwynt. The best place to start is from Llyn Ogwen by Idwal Cottage.
Y Garn and Cwm Idwal
Y Garn is one of the Welsh 3000s and can get moderate snow on the western slope between October and May. The walk to the summit of Y Garn begins at the same place as the one to Glyder Fawr, by Llyn Ogwen, but the route passes by Llyn Idwal and the glacial Cwm Idwal. You then ascend the North East Ridge. The views along the way are incredible, as you can cross the Snowdon Massif and over to Anglesey. The descending route takes you past the infamous Devil’s Kitchen, the black crack which splits the rock of Clogwyn y Geifr between Y Garn and Glyder Fawr.
The South Ridge of Snowdon
We can’t mention walking routes in Snowdonia without including the king of the mountains in Wales, Snowdon. Climbing Snowdon in winter is a full-on expedition, where you come up against snow and ice, so inexperienced tourists vastly underestimate it. As such, we recommend only tackling Snowdon in the summer months if you have little experience with hiking. However, if you are experienced and ready for a challenge, the South Ridge is the route for you. Not a well-known route, it is nonetheless fantastic, taking you away from the popular routes. There will be steep steps and a few scrambles, but it is all worth it in the end!
Tips For Hiking in Winter
- Dress in layers, so you can add more or take them off as you need
- Start early in the day, before the footpaths are busy with others
- Always check the weather – it can change quickly on top of a mountain!
- If you will know you’ll use crampons, get some practice with them first
- Hike in groups with other experienced hikers
- Have tea or hot chocolate with you in a flask, and energy bars to keep you going!
Contact us today to find out about booking over Christmas!
Updated November 2018