Cadair Idris by the Minffordd Path

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In my opinion, Cadair Idris and the surrounding hills are in the 'Big Four' of Welsh mountain ranges (the other three being the Carneddau, Tryfan and the Glyderau and the Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) Group). That's not to denigrate the other magnificent hills of Wales – it's just that you know you are in for something special when you stand at the bottom of one of the Big Four, something that the English hills just don't have. And that's from an Englishman!

For me there are two classic ways of climbing Cadair Idris; one is to go up by the Foxes Path and down the Pony Path (Routes 1376 and 874 by Peter Salenieks), the other is this route – a high-level circuit of Cwm Cau via the Minffordd Path.

The route starts from the car park at Minffordd and uses the excellent path to the Cadair Idris Nature Reserve. The route approaches the lake of Llyn Cau before heading upwards to Craig Lwyd and then following the ridge round by Craig Cau to the summit of Cadair Idris at Penygadair. There is a substantial stone hut on the summit, so whatever the weather your sandwiches should be dry. The hut is kept in a spotless condition and would make a good bothy. However, if you are tempted to stay overnight you should bear in mind that legend has it that if you sleep here you will waken up a madman or a poet. The descent starts by heading easily towards Mynydd Moel, then more steeply towards Nant Cadair before rejoining the early section of the route to return to the start point.

This isn't a long walk, but it packs a lot in; a great route, taking in one of the finest Welsh peaks.

Wales - North Wales - Gwynedd - Snowdonia


Birds, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Lake/Loch, Nature Trail, Toilets, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland
10/4/2019 - Bill Simon

There is no doubt this is a stunning walk and well worth all the effort. The ever-changing mountain scenery is a joy to behold and just gets better as you continue to climb. We completed this with our 18th month Cockapoo on a sunny midweek day and probably only met around thirty people on the mountain. We are very experienced regular fell walkers and would agree with other reviews that this however is not a moderate walk and the time estimate of 3 hours 34 minutes should be treated with caution. We took just under 5 hours, which allowed us to take in all the splendid views the walk has to offer while walking at a reasonable pace for this terrain. Apart from the grading issue we can thoroughly recommend this walk.

7/2/2019 - Andy McTaggart

First and foremost, I would like to thank Paul Shorrock for listing this wonderful walking experience. We cautiously planned this walk and took every precaution, in terms of additional water, clothing and sustenance. The weather forecast was very good and predicted wind speeds were very light. Despite all of this, we had to cope with and navigate through banks of cloud and fog for much of the walk. We are experienced walkers who have hiked all over Europe and beyond. Given the 900 metre ascent, hours of navigating steep stone slabs we would strongly recommend that this walk is upgraded to being graded as strenuous, as a walk such as this one can in no shape or form be considered moderate given that it is a mountain just shy of being 3000 feet high and that the conditions one will likely have to encounter periodically are challenging both to one's experience and to one's physical fitness. Thanks a million Paul. This has to be the most wonderful and spectacular walk that we have ever done. An absolutely awesome experience.

5/12/2011 - Walkingworld Administrator

Message from Paul Shorrock: "Although the walk is comparatively short, and graded as 'moderate', it should be regarded as being at the upper end of that grade." Adrian (Admin)

5/12/2011 - Paul Pinder

Walked this on 9th May 2011 within a party of 4 and a dog and found it to be a complete delight for its proximity to superb mountain architecture and its views. However we all found the descent following the fence to the clapper bridge, Waymarks 8-10, was unremittingly painful on the broken and irregular path, thus because of this and the exposed nature of the top sections before the summit trig. point, would suggest that its grading should be greater than moderate.

5/10/2011 - John Blundell

Walked this in May 2011 with my dog. Without doubt one of the best walks I have undertaken, the views are spectacular. Well worth the lung busting start.

7/9/2009 - Dave and Sam Asbury

Walked 8/7/09. Excellent walk. Wonderful panarama. Falls at the start of the walk a bonus. Shan't say too much due to spoilers. Car park is £4 pay and display all day. Hopefully WW sorted problem with MMO. Finally, anyone else encounter the scrounging sheep at the trig point? Serioulsy! Recommended walk but check weather - as with any walk in welsh mountains can be changable - go prepared!