From the hostel you can walk straight onto the back of the Nantlle Ridge and Moel Hebog. There are also plenty of low level walks around the Cwm Pennant Valley and the nearby Llyn Cwmystradllyn. Or how about the eastern summit on The Rivals, Tre’r Ceiri (485m), which is home to one of the most well-preserved and spectacular Iron Age hill forts in Britain. Alternatively, the Rhinogs and Snowdon are a 30-45 minute drive away.
North Wales is mountain terrain, so always prepare well and know your limits and those of your friends or family. During the winter season (late October to April), you may encounter snow and ice on many of the routes below. These conditions require an ice axe and the knowledge and experience to use them – don’t take risks!
One of the finest ridge walks in Snowdonia, the Nantlle Ridge is only moments from the hostel and links a series of peaks via a dramatic crest. It’s a great day out and more often than not you’ll escape the crowds often found on other well-known trails.
Some parts of the walk involve modestly difficult grade 1 scrambling but most difficult sections can be avoided if need be. It is a linear walk though (starting at one point and finishing at another), so some logistical planning is necessary arranging transport at either end for the one-way journey. Alternatively, if you choose a part-return by diverting off onto the top of Cwm Pennant before crossing back through the top of Beddgelert Forest to regain the normal starting point in Rhyd Ddu. This is quite a physical day out, so make sure you take plenty of water and tasty goodies to keep group spirits high.
This is a great walk across a varied terrain and some fantastic views all around.
The traditional route starts gently in Beddgelert but soon steepens as it climbs up the hill side. Further up it turns rocky and steepens even more. There is some basic scrambling on this section. At the far end of the summit plateau you will find the trig point and a stunning view of the Porthmadog coastal plain. A steep grassy slope leads down by the wall to Bwlch Meillionen where the path passes through a rock ravine to arrive at a small pool. Another rocky section takes you up to the top of Moel Ogof and then to the top of Moel Lefn. A steep path winds it way down the northern end of the ridge to reach Bwlch Cwm Trwsgl – the route then takes a right into Beddgelert forest. There is potential to get lost here but there is a direct path through the forest. Once back on the main road, all that remains is to walk back into Beddgelert.
This is a wild, sprawling mass of hills which still feels undiscovered and hostile. Sitting between the Harlech coastline and the A470 Trawsfynydd – Coed y Brenin road, these moderate peaks are a little different to the typical Snowdonia landscape. The area is covered in a blanket of heather that hides any paths and also the odd bog or two into the bargain. Good footwear is essential, along with patience and perseverance. Despite these ‘small challenges’, an ascent of Rhinog Fawr, makes for a pretty special day out. Passing around the shoreline of Llyn Du you cannot help but feel the eeriness of this intriguing place. The rocky, and occasionally scree-laden, path that takes you to the summit is steep and relentless, but the view at the top is quite spectacular.
If you are tempted to extend your walk with an ascent of Rhinog Fach to the south, we would suggest that perhaps you leave it for another day. There is no clear connecting route between the two and it’s probably more straightforward to tackle it on a day when you plan to take in Rhinogydd’s biggest peak: Y Llethr.
This isolated peak is prominently positioned on the north-western edge of the Llŷn Peninsula delivering exceptional views of the surrounding area, particularly of Bardsey Island. It makes an ideal short day out with the choice of a straightforward ascent and descent, or if weather is good, you can take a circular route south from the Snowdon Ranger YHA, up to the summit and then drop down through the Tros-y-gol forest. The second route involves a significant amount (3.5km) of road walking but is more pleasurable than the straight up and down.
The distinctive profile of Yr Eifl rises sharply from the north coast of the Llŷn peninsula. The peaks really stand out from a distance; particularly when viewed from the beaches along the south west coast of Anglesey. The main Yr Eifl summit is 564m, but this seems higher due to its closeness to the coast.
A circular walk from Trefor takes you along the coastal footpath above the shale sea cliff of Trwyn y Tal, before striking upwards by the side of the large quarry to reach the summit area. The view from the summit is stunning and well worth the effort. On the third summit of Yr Eifl, stands the ancient hill fort of Tre’r Ceiri, meaning ‘Town of the Giants’. The spectacular remnants of this Iron Age hill fort, including dry stone walls and hut circles, is said to be one of the most impressive monuments in Wales.
For a less strenuous route option, start from Llithfaen on the southwest side of the hill. This has the advantage of a 200m higher starting point, but on the downside it does miss out on some of the dramatic landscapes.
This prominent hill which sits above Nefyn on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula. It is only 280m high but the summit provides a splendid vantage point from which you can soak up the wonders of the Llŷn landscape, from Yr Eifl to the north east and across the southern flatlands of the peninsula and back round to Carn Fadryn.
Once you arrive on the summit plateau, you’ll be amazed at how vast it is. This unique geographical feature made it an obvious place of refuge during wars or invasions – and there are widespread remains of hundreds of hut circles from what was originally an Iron Age settlement.
If you are short of time, a straight up and down ascent is possible. There is also a circular route which involves dropping off the south eastern flank and looping round to the north. Here you can cut back across the wooded slopes of Mynydd Nefyn.
The north ridge of Tryfan is one of the finest scrambles in Snowdonia. The route is only grade 1 but should not be underestimated. There are plenty of options to vary the route; as there is a network of possibilities. The scramble is popular and thus the rock is heavily polished in places.
Remember to look out for the obligatory photo opportunities, as no visit is complete without these – The Cannon, a jutting finger of rock, and the famous Adam and Eve blocks on the summit. The east face of Tryfan features a number of other worthwhile scrambles, although most are much harder than the north ridge. There are also some excellent grade 2 and 3 scrambles on Milestone Buttress and on the west face of Tryfan.