Accessing some of Eryri’s best walking routes without a car can sound like a tricky task. However, many of Eryri’s trails and routes are surprisingly accessible. From challenging hikes to leisurely shoreline strolls, there are plenty of options for the eco-conscious traveller.
The Mawddach Trail is a 9-mile route between Dolgellau and Barmouth. It runs along the southern shoreline of the Mawddach Estuary and is considered one of the most flexible and accessible routes in the National Park.
It is a route suitable for all abilities and can be a good choice for cyclists or those with off-road mobility scooters.
The best way to access the route if you are visiting Eryri without a car is from Dolgellau or Barmouth. Dolgellau is one of the main stops for many bus routes through the National Park and the start of the Mawddach Trail is only a minute’s walk from the town centre.
Barmouth is one of the stops on the Cambrian Line, a rail line that traces the western coast of the National Park. If you are joining the Mawddach Trail from Barmouth, you’ll have the opportunity to cross the Mawddach over the striking Barmouth viaduct.
Another great option for the Mawddach Trail is to complete the route by eBike. There are bike hire options at Dolgellau and Barmouth.
Lôn Gwyrfai is a 4-mile multi-use route between Rhyd Ddu and Beddgelert. The route leads through a variety of landscapes offering fantastic views of the Gwyrfai valley and Yr Wyddfa.
There are several ways to access Lôn Gwyrfai without a car. One unique way would be by heritage railway. The Welsh Highland Railway stretches between Caernarfon and Porthmadog and runs alongside parts of Lôn Gwyrfai. The railway stops at Rhyd Ddu and Beddgelert—both stops where you can access Lôn Gwyrfai.
Both Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu are also accessible by bus. The Sherpa’r Wyddfa bus service stops at both locations.
Minffordd Path, Cader Idris
The Minffordd Path is one of three routes to the summit of Cader Idris. Situated in the south of the National Park, Cader Idris is a peak steeped in mythology and folklore and is one of the more challenging mountain hikes in the National Park.
Getting to the mountain’s trailheads can be a difficult endeavour without a car. However, the Minffordd Path can be accessed easily by bus.
The T2 bus service travels between Aberystwyth and Bangor. The ‘Minffordd Hotel for Cader Idris’ bus stop on the service’s route will drop you off a minute’s walk away from the Dôl Idris car park, the start of the Minffordd Path. When travelling on the service, be aware of several other stops named ‘Minffordd’ and be sure to stop at ‘Minffordd Hotel for Cader Idris’.
Cwm Penamnen, Dolwyddelan
Cwm Penamnen is a valley that leads southwards from the village of Dolwyddelan.
There are two routes to choose at Cwm Penamnen, a short 3-mile route and a longer 6-mile route. Both routes are circular and begin at Dolwyddelan.
Cwm Penamnen is suprisingly accessible on public transport. The best way to get to the route is by the Conwy Valley railway line. The service runs between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog stopping at Betws y Coed and Llanrwst. You’ll need to stop at Dolwyddelan train station for Cwm Penamnen. Both the short and long routes start from the train station.
Fisherman’s Path and Cwm Bychan
The Fisherman’s Path and Cwm Bychan is a 6-mile circular route beginning at the pictureseque village of Beddgelert. It starts by following the other-worldly Glaslyn river, up to Cwm Bychan before descending to Llyn Dinas.
The route is classed as a Hard/Strenuous route by the National Park Authority and only suitable for those with a good level of fitness.
Getting to the route is easy with plenty of public transport options. The Sherpa’r Wyddfa bus service, which travels around the base of Yr Wyddfa, stops regularly at Beddgelert. There are great links from Bangor and Betws y Coed as well as direct links from Caernarfon and Porthmadog.