Easy hikes in Snowdonia (North Wales) with a dog
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Anyone who travels to Wales, to be precise to the Snowdonia National Park in the north, has certainly planned one or the other hike. And while Mount Snowdon, Wales' highest peak, is of course a quick addition to hike plans, there are plenty of other hikes that are just as beautiful - just a lot less crowded. Would you still like to find out more about the hikes up Snowdon? You can have it: here is the detailed Snowdon blog post. If you want to know more about alternative hikes in Snowdonia National Park instead, just read on. By the way: one of the hikes presented was even able to top the ascent of Mount Snowdon.
- Hiking in Beddgelert
- Hiking Ogwen Valley
- More walks in North Wales
- Hike around copper mines
Snowdonia in a Nutshell: Hike in Beddgelert (Dinas Emrys)
- length: 5 kilometers,
- Elevation meters: 160
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trail type: circular hike
- Start: Beddgelert hiking car park
The first tour I'd like to recommend was actually the first hike we did in North Wales. And first of all, I was completely thrilled from the very first minute, because over 5 kilometers you can see pretty much everything Snowdonia has to offer: hundreds of sheep, an imposing waterfall and of course mountains, mountains, mountains. And even with a moderate level of difficulty, which is also easy for families and dogs to master. However, dog owners should know that there are always fences to overcome. But from the front.
The hike starts from a (free) hiking car park just behind the pretty village of Beddgelert. First it goes a little uphill through a fairytale (primeval) forest. Not long and the first highlight is already waiting: a waterfall. If you have taken enough pictures and continue walking, the view of sheep pastures and mountains opens up. A few more meters of altitude must now be overcome before you can catch a glimpse of Lake Llyn Dinas and from now on hike on the higher mountain plains with fantastic views of valleys and peaks. The first fence that has to be overcome soon appears, which is easily achieved with the help of the ladder constructions. In order to get our medium-sized dog Frieda safely to the other side, one of us climbed up and took her from the other side.
The second half of the route goes through wide and rough landscapes like in a picture book. The descent back into the valley only begins shortly before the end. The path is well marked throughout, but you should check a map from time to time as there are various route options. I recorded our route with Komoot and linked it for hiking. It took us almost two hours for the 5 kilometers and 160 meters in altitude (which is comparatively little for a hike in Wales), of which we actually walked just over an hour. We used the rest of the time to capture the landscape with our cameras.
Better than Snowdon? The Ogwen Valley
- Length: 7 kilometers
- Elevation meters: 380
- Walking time: 2:15 hours
- Trail Type: Circular Trail
- Difficulty level: medium to difficult
We had actually planned the hike through the Ogwen Valley on the Llyn Idwal Trail (named after the lake of the same name, Llyn Idwal). In the end we did that too, but our naivety forced us to change the route, for which we will probably be eternally grateful. The reason for the change is easy to explain: we didn't get a parking space. And yes - I had read in advance that this hike is popular, but that the parking lot is rather small. So it pays to be there early. Otherwise there are alternative parking spaces along the pass road. And since we didn't feel like walking back along this road to the official starting point, we followed other hikers up a steep mountain path that starts directly from the parking lot. First over meadows and rocks, later along a spectacular waterfall, you fight your way meter by meter up the mountain, always parallel to the spectacular Tryfan summit, which looks like the back of a dragon.
At the top, at a small mountain lake, you should not only take a breather, but also enjoy the fantastic view of the valley. Now you walk over a plateau, until it suddenly goes down very steeply. 45 degrees to be exact. But the view that is now offered is perhaps the most beautiful in the entire Snowdonia National Park. In the back Tryfan, in front a fjord-like lake - the Llyn Idwal, framed by rough mountain massifs. We climbed down and now walked along the official Llyn Idwal Trail. First directly at the lake, before it goes up a few more meters. This time, however, much less steep and always well secured. The frontal view of the lake is just as beautiful as that from the summit before. However, we now have to share the path with other hikers. Once you have reached the highest point, it goes evenly downhill back to the shore. From here the hike is more of a relaxed walk.
Officially, the hike ends at the visitor center (where we couldn't get a parking space), so we had to follow the road for the last 1.5 kilometers (then after all). Overall, the hike had a length of seven kilometers and 530 meters in altitude. We would rate it as moderate to difficult as the first part was very steep, especially the descent into the valley. The official circular route is a bit easier at five kilometers and only 300 meters in altitude and is suitable for everyone.
Sygun Copper Mines: Hike around the copper mines (Snowdonia National Park)
- Length: 6 kilometers
- Elevation meters: 250
- Trail Type: Circular Trail
- Difficulty level: medium
- starting point; Beddgelert hikers car park or Sygun Copper Mines car park
It is not for nothing that Beddgelert is one of the most popular places in North Wales, as other hikes that you should definitely do start here. Because the hike around the Sygun Copper Mines was also one of the Wales highlights for us. You can start the hike directly from the copper mine or from the hiking car park mentioned above, as we did. By the way: There is the possibility to enlarge the route significantly. The way back then leads along a narrow path along a wild river. We decided not to use this route option solely due to time constraints, but we will link both tours here for subsequent hikes.
On this hike you first walk through the valley along a river until you reach the lake Llyn Dinas, where you should definitely take a short break. On the day of our hike in April, a few people (and dogs) who were surprised by the heat, like us, were already swimming here (keyword fleece pullover at over 20 degrees). You don't really need a break here, but the place is too beautiful to just turn your back on it. Because now it goes up the steep mountain hiking trail. Once at the top, you walk over a beautiful plateau for quite a while. On the descent you pass the copper mines, which you can also visit. This mine is just one of many, because during industrialization copper mines and slate mines were established all over what is now the national park, all of which are now closed or converted into museums. This hike has no particularly difficult passages and is suitable for everyone.
Other popular walks in North Wales
- the hike to the Aber Falls,
- climbing the Cadair Idris,
- the coastal walks on the Anglesey Coastal Path and the Wales Coastal Path
- and of course climbing Mount Snowdon.
How to climb Mount Snowdon with a dog
While these were three hikes with a dog that we thoroughly enjoyed, we also climbed Mount Snowdon with the dog. It was the greatest adventure of our Wales trip. Since the planning is comparatively time-consuming, I have created a detailed guide on how you can safely climb Mount Snowdon with a dog. Here you can find a comparison of all routes, our equipment and a field report and even more things worth knowing. Have fun while reading.
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