The delayed start to the region’s tourist season has seen visitors in their thousands explore the mountains and coasts of North Wales in the last few weeks. From die-hard hikers and clambering climbers to easy family amblers and walking newbies, you’ve embraced the Great Outdoors like never before.
Although the summer is drawing to an end, we’re proud to say Snowdonia is still very much open for business. As we head into autumn, though, the weather plays a bigger part and you might find yourselves confined to the lower reaches of the National Park. If you’re a less experienced hiker or a fair weather walker, fear not, there are several lovely, low-level walks to enjoy that the weather won’t spoil!
Here’s our top three favourite low-level walks in Snowdonia.
It’s often said that the Ogwen Valley is the jewel in Snowdonia’s crown. Best described as a wide, glacial valley bowl – complete with lakes, waterfalls and boulder fields – it’s a fantastical landscape to behold.
Ogwen Valley dates back to the Ordovician geological period (c.450 million years ago), and the retreating ice of the last Ice Age left the landscape we see today as it carved out the Cwm Idwal bowl on its journey. The valley is bordered one side by the Glyderau mountain range and on the other by the Carneddau; the Ogwen river carves it in two, separating the mountain ranges.
It’s a great place to walk, there’s so much to see around the valley and you’ll feel part of the landscape. For a bit of mythology, it’s said that King Arthur was gifted Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake who dwelt – yes, you guessed it – in the depths of Llyn Ogwen.
The circular route of Llyn Idwal from Ogwen Cottage is just under 3 miles and will only a couple of hours. Be warned: it will take longer as you stop frequently to admire your surroundings! Check out the route here.
The circular route at Crimpiau near Capel Curig is the perfect for capturing the ambience of Snowdonia without schlepping uphill for hours. The route to Crimpiau’s summit is gentle but the views are some of the finest in the National Park and encompass the Snowdon horseshoe, the Mymbyr and Ogwen valleys and Llyn Crafnant. Along the way, the landscape of this walk is really diverse and will keep even the youngest walker occupied. As you head for the summit you’ll pass through woodland, heathland and moorland, all boasting their own unique eco-systems.
The route follows public footpaths but we recommend you familiarise yourself before embarking as the path isn’t well-defined in places. As with higher level walks, it’s important to be properly prepared – wear suitable footwear and take wet weather gear, plus drinks and a snack. There are some areas of rough mountain terrain here too.
At just 3.5 miles long it’s a great way to pass a morning or afternoon. However, as it’s also one of the more strenuous options, expect it to take apprximately 3 hours to complete. Check out the route here.
This is our favourite route because it’s just 15-minute walk from the hotel (and a great after-breakfast option if you’ve over indulged!). This accessible, circular walking route will wow you with many of the natural and manmade landmarks that have marked out Llanberis in Welsh slate mining history. Begin at The Lagoons car park and follow the path to your left. The entire white waymarked route takes you around the shreline of Llyn Padarn – sometimes eerily still and at other times busy with watersports enthusiasts and boats.
Along the way, make sure you allow some time to visit the National Slate Museum at Gilfach Ddu. This (free to enter) living history museum gives a fascinating insight into the lives of local quarrymen and their families during the height of the slate industry. If you’ve got kiddies or rail enthusiasts with you, you might also enjoy a trip on the Llanberis Lake Railway.
Coming in at just under 5 miles and, thanks to its flat, easy terrain, this walk can be completed in a couple of hours – you should allow longer for train rides or a visit to the slate museum. Check out the route here.
Heading into Snowdonia’s heartland provides a satisfying walking experience almost anywhere you go but if you’ve come away for a relaxing break these low-level routes aren’t challenging but will give you a new perspective on wild North Wales.
Images courtesy: Crimpiau by © Copyright Terry Hughes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Ogwen Valley by © Copyright John Fielding and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Llyn Padarn by Raintheone / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)