Hiking has always been something I love during my travels, and when I was over in London for a week, I just had to squeeze a weekend trip out of the city to the nearest mountainous area from London -- Mount Snowdonia National Park in Wales!
Why Snowdonia National Park?
The reason I selected this particular place to hike in the surrounding towns/ cities and areas of London is that -- coincidentally, at least 2 friends who have stayed in UK have strongly recommended an outdoor enthusiast like me to check out Northen Wales Snowdonia walking routes/ trails -- which they profess is known for the amazing scenic drive there, and its great hills.
Get a Car and do a Scenic Drive up to Snowdonia National Park
We rented a car that costs us about 190 Pounds for 2 days to drive up from London over the long weekend to Northern Wales. It says in google that it will take 4+ hours, but took almost 6+7 hours to get there given we started a bit slower with some rest breaks in between. Not as near as we thought but we eventually got there happy!
Try to set out once its sunrise in London, as you don’t want to reach Snowdonia in the dark like we did, which was a bit scary.
Top Snowdon Paths -- How to get to the Mt Cadair Idris Trail Entrance
We decided to go with the Cadair Idris Trail, though we are not sure if it is the easiest route up Snowdon. However, it was accessible and searchable on Google maps so that made our choice of which Snowdon path/ hiking trail to pick.
We parked the car at the Community Centre car park in Abergynolwyn, where the walking path/ trail starts. There is a nice little cafe there that you walk past before you get to the entrance where there is a little sheep pen like wooden gate. Walk further down before arriving at the bridge. The remnants of the autumn foliage is beautiful as we walked towards the start of the woodland trail. It was drizzling slightly so we had our waterproof jacket with hoods on. Northern Wales tend to be as rainy as London, so always invest in a good set of waterproof jacket, pants, backpack and boots.
Discovering the Cadair Idris Trails in Snowdonia National Park
We were so caught up with taking pictures of the river and bridge at the beginning of the routes/ trail, that it took us quite a while before we actually got into the rhythm of hiking up to Mount Cadair Idris, or to some also known as Cader Idris. Halfway on the route up Snowdon on tons of smooth rock steps about 2+ hours in, we got to a little river bank aka waterfall where we continued on our photo rampage.
How did the trail name Cadair Idris Came About?
‘Cader Idris’, which translates into “the chair of Idris”, is commonly believed to originate from Welsh mythology ith reference to ‘Idris the giant’, who used the beautiful mountain as an enormous armchair to gaze at the stars.
While walking up the lovely rocky trail of Cadair Idris, you would notice the unique Ordovician igneous rocks and pebbles along the way. Paired with the green little mossy banks and little river streams going downhill, it truly makes it such a fun walk.
It was rainy before we started the trail so it is possible that this waterfall isn’t always there.
Enjoy hiking in UK? Why not also check out the other outdoor scenic spots in UK like Lake District and more.
Check the Wales Weather at Snowdon
I must say we are lucky that we are all very prepared for the rainy weather despite not doing the proper weather check before coming for the trip. So little warning to all planning to come visit, please check out the weather forecast before coming over, as it will help you gauge how much you need to prepare for the climb.
Incredible views at Snowdon
Before long, we have finally arrived at the beautiful ‘crater’ or lake along the trail. Look how pretty it is with its heart shape, that we had to build a tower of stones of remembrance, in great thanksgiving of the beauty of the vast creation.
We walked down to the lake for a closer look and also came upon a nice little ‘plateau” that was perfect to capture some shots of the surroundings. Can you spot the little rivers and streams running down the mountains? Such a beautiful sight!
There are in total 4 trails to get up to the peak -- Pony Path/ Fox’s Path/ Llanfihangel y Pennant Path and lastly Minffordd at the southern side near the glacial Tal-y-llyn Lake.
More detail imagery of the glorious beauty of Mount Snowdonia
If you are not a fan of hiking, why not consider trying horseback riding to see the best of Wales instead?
Places to Stay in Snowdonia National Park
This Cader Idris Snowdon Hike Trail is located in Dolgellau in Wales, where we went to explore a bit the following day before we headed back to London. It was a lovely quiet town with some small shops for breakfast/ tea and also little churches here and there. There is a rather peaceful still vibe in the surroundings.
How long to climb Snowdon
So for those who really enjoy some fresh outdoor experience and can only afford a day trekking in Wales, this Cadair Idris trail in Snowdonia National Park is highly recommended as it is not too difficult as long as you are prepared for the weather and have good waterproof anti-slip hiking shoes. If you walk at a nice good pace even despite the rain, you can easily get to the great lookout spot and back in 6 hours, at least that was for us.
The views are truly stunning especially at the top with view of the lake, surrounding mountains with the cloud and fog coming in and out occasionally.
Tongues of fire on Idris flaring,
news of foe-men near declaring,
to heroic deeds of daring,
call you Harlech men
(Men of Harlech, a popular Welsh patriotic song)