The Snowdonia Way – our guide to this 94 mile route


We recently published a guide about The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which is a fantastic walking route in Wales. And although we love that route, we have a real soft spot for the Snowdonia Way. This route is shorter than The Pembrokeshire Coast Path at almost half the length, but it still takes you through some of the most stunning scenery that the country has to offer.

We wanted to publish a guide about the Snowdonia Way for anyone planning to tackle it in 2023, let's get into it:

Where is the Snowdonia Way?

The route runs from Machynlleth to Conwy in the North of the country. It's mostly in the North of Wales and takes you around Snowdonia itself. The suggested walking time of this route is between 6-8 days. The main route is low-level, which is the most popular way of following the route, but there is an alternative route which takes you through mountains. We outline the alternative mountain route at the end of this guide.

What sections are there?

We should start by saying that there is definitely not a "right" way of following this route, and you might find it ends up being slightly less or more than 94 miles in length, but typically the route will be split into the following 6 sections:


Machynlleth to Dolgellau
Dolgellau to Trawsfynydd
Trawsfynydd to Beddgelert
Beddgelert to Dolwyddelan
Dolwyddelan to Bethesda
Bethesda to Conwy

What is there to see and do as you walk along the Snowdonia Way?

There is a lot to see as you move along the Snowdonia Way. We've picked a few points along the way which we think are really worth seeing if you have the time, let's break it down section by section:

Machynlleth to Dolgellau - 15 miles

Machynlleth is the ancient capital of Wales and is an excellent place to start your walk from. As you leave the town, you cross the River Dovey and head into the Dyfi Forest, passing the villages of Corris and Aberllefenni. From here you head up into the valley before descending towards the hills of central Snowdonia (ideal if you're trying our some new Barefoot shoes). Cadair Idris will come into view on the left as you walk around the hill’s flank before heading through more woodland to reach Dolgellau.

If you have time during this section, you could stop at King Arthur's Labyrinth. Located near Corris, this underground attraction takes you on a magical journey through the myths and legends of King Arthur and Welsh folklore.

Dolgellau to Trawsfynydd - 14 miles

What's nice about this section is that the route immediately rises out of Dolgellau, so you can enjoy stunning views across this very pretty town as you look back over it. You head through some woodland and cross the Mawddach before entering Coed y Brenin Forest Park, where you can enjoy a series of excellent walking and mountain biking trails amidst stunning woodland and scenic landscapes. Once you've passed through the forest, you'll find yourself on the moors above Trawsfynydd, from which it's a fairly straightforward walk to the town. A highlight of this section is the views over the wild hills of the Rhinogydd.

Trawsfynydd to Beddgelert - 18 miles

The route starts by taking you halfway around Trawsfynydd Lake, giving you a chance to admire the beauty and tranquility of it. Once you reach the dam at the Northern end of the lake, you head through woodland into the Vale of Ffestiniog. As you cross the sandy estuary, you'll get to enjoy some stunning sea views before arriving in the town of Penrhyndeudraeth. If you have time, a visit to Plas Brondanw Gardens & Café is very enjoyable and a good chance to take a break. From the town, you follow a woodland path to the foothills of the Moelwyns, which you follow until you pass the village of Croesor. The Llyn Peninsula will be visible to the West (read our guide about the Llyn Peninsula here). The last part of this section follows River Glaslyn all the way to Beddgelert. It'll take you past the amazing gorge known as the Pass of Aberglaslyn.

Beddgelert to Dolwyddelan - 12 miles

There is a lot to see in this section, and you'll definitely want to set aside time for a few stops. As you leave Beddgelert you continue to follow the River Glaslyn, passing by the hill of Dinas Emrys. This section actually gives you some of the best views of Snowdonia of the entire route, so it's worth taking time to admire it. You continue along the route and pass Llyn Dinas before reaching Llyn Glaslyn, a lovely lake - if you fancy a swim or glide on your stand-up paddle board. There is a path from here up to the Bwlch y Rhediad, over the Moelwyns and down into Lledyr Valley. From there, it's through fields until you reach the village of Dolwyddelan. You’ll pass by Dolwyddelan castle, an impressive 13th century castle. Here is where you'll also see Moel Siabod, the highest peak in the Moelwynion mountain range.

Dolwyddelan to Bethesda - 15 miles

Most seem to agree that this section of the Snowdonia Way is the prettiest, particularly the walk through the Ogwen Valley. It's also one of the flattest sections. You start by walking up around the flank of Moel Siabod through forest, before dropping down into the village of Capel Curig. This is where the walk through the Ogwen Valley starts, with stunning scenery on all sides. Both Tryfan and Carnedd Llewelyn are particularly impressive. Once you get past Ogwen Falls, you head into the Nant Francon, another stunning valley. Once you reach Penrhyn quarry, it's a short hop to Bethesda. Penrhyn quarry was once the world's largest slate quarry and is still very impressive to see.

Bethesda to Conwy - 20 miles

It's a bit cruel that the last section of the Snowdonia Way works out to be the longest and steepest section, but that is just the way that it works out. So you'll want to be well-rested before tackling this section. As you leave Bethesda, you follow the northern flanks of the Carneddau. You'll soon get views of the sea and the views of the Isle of Anglesey are very pretty. Aber Falls is further along, a very impressive waterfall that you'll definitely want to stop at. You follow the Roman road from the waterfall all the way to Llanfairfechan, a nice town with good facilities. Some may wish to stop here to break this last section into 2 days. It's another 12 miles or so to Conwy from the town - you first head to the open moor around Tal y Fan, then follow the hills to the Sychnant Pass before following a track around the side of Conwy Mountain and down into Conwy. Conwy Castle is extremely impressive and well worth a look.

The extended version of the route via the mountains

For every section that we've outlined, there is an alternative mountain route which could be followed instead. If you were to follow the mountain route for every section then you'd probably add around 25 miles extra to the route, plus a lot of ascent and a lot more time.

Machynlleth to Dolgellau - climb to the summit of both Tarren Hendre and Cadair Idris
Dolgellau to Trawsfynydd - climb to the summit of Y Garn
Trawsfynydd to Beddgelert - climb to the summits of Moel Ysgyfarnogod, Moelwyn Mawr, and Cnicht
Beddgelert to Dolwyddelan - climb to the summit of Snowdon
Dolwyddelan to Bethesda - head over the top of the Glyderau ridge
Bethesda to Conwy - head over the summits of Carnedd Gwenllian, Foel-Fras, and Drum, all in the Carneddau mountains.

What should you be aware of before heading along the Snowdonia Way?

As with all of the routes we write about, probably the most important thing to be aware of before heading on the Snowdonia Way is that you need to plan your accommodation, and always have a backup plan! Always let plenty of people know where you're going, and ideally tackle the route as part of a group. If you can, complete the route in spring or summer when the weather is less harsh.
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to tackle this great route. As we mentioned, we've also got guides about walking routes in Scotland, including the Borders Abbey Way and the Southern Upland Way Our Gems of Wales guide will also help you to find other excellent places to visit in the country.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *