Magnificent peaks, social walking and myths in the heart of Wales
DurationMultiple durations available
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty LevelsMultiple options available
2 - 3
Cadair Idris is a magnificent group of peaks, cliffs, waterfalls and woodlands at the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park. Perfect as a personal adventure, and the chance to settle down to a welcoming weekend discovering the local area with a great bunch of fellow walkers.
Bounded in the west by the Irish Sea and to the south and north by the Dysynni Valley and the Mawddach Estuary, Cadair Idris is on the wish-list of many walkers, with its spectacular views – from the moors of mid-Wales all the way to Snowdon on a clear day – and its size, the whole ridge stretching several miles east to west.
Our main goal for the weekend will be a guided ascent of the highest point of the Cadair Idris range, Penygadair, followed by another walk on the Sunday.
In a nutshell
- Explore southern Snowdonia with a friendly group of fellow walkers while staying in a cosy hostel overlooking the Vale of Ffestiniog.
- Attempt the famous Cadair Idris on a guided walk by its most dramatic path and celebrate the ascent in the pub afterwards.
- Take in the forests and mountains of this part of North Wales, a less visited but far wilder area than the more famous land around Snowdon in the north.
- Enjoy some excellent meals, cooked by us, while taking the time to sample the local tearooms.
Day Walk Option also available.
There are also a limited number of day walk only tickets available for the Saturday walk up Cadair Idris. This include the guided walk only and do not include any accommodation, packed lunches etc. You will simply meet the rest of the group at the walk start location around 9:150am on the Saturday.
After arriving at the hostel, you’re welcome to settle down to a relaxing evening as we prepare dinner and introduce you to your fellow walkers. Feel free to wander down to the pub in Ffestiniog, or relax with a cup of tea in the hostel lounge.
After dinner at 8pm, we’ll have a full briefing about the weekend plans and give you a general introduction to the area and the story of Cadair Idris. We’ll all be attempting the same route the next day, and your guides will let you know about equipment, food and water, and answer any questions you may have.
Breakfast is at 8am and we’ll also lay out the packed lunch ingredients for you to make sandwiches for the day, as well as other snacks to take with you.
Then it’s the main event! After breakfast we’ll head south and climb Cadair Idris via the Minffordd path, which begins in a beautiful woodland before rising and skirting the crags looking over the majestic Llyn Cau.
After reaching the summit and admiring the views north over the rest of Snowdonia, we head along the wide ridge to a second summit of Mynydd Moel, before descending back into the valley in a circuit that is easily one of the best mountain days in North Wales.
After our walk, there may be time to look round the ancient market town of Dolgellau, which boasts several excellent pubs and over 200 listed buildings.
Once back at the hostel, the time is yours to shower, get changed, and perhaps head down to the pub in Ffestiniog for a well-earned pint. We’ll be serving dinner at around 7.30pm, when we’ll also go over plans for the next day. For the rest of the evening it’s time to relax and go over the day’s adventures again in the comfort of the lounge!
We’ll also decide on the next day’s walk, where there are several options. There’s no need to make a final decision until the morning, but we’ll take weather and everyone’s tiredness into consideration.
We’ll all head out on the same walk, and our leader will decide on the day what this will be. To give to an idea what to expect, some options include:
Moelwyn Mawr – We could head up into the plateau of the Moelwyns and summit Moelwyn Mawr, a hill that stands proud over the Vale of Ffestiniog. There is quite a bit of ascent on this walk but the hill is close to the road and the views over Tremadoc Bay and the Llyn Peninsula are breathtaking.
Vale of Ffestiniog – If the consensus is for a valley walk, there are plenty of options to walk through woodlands and alongside streams in the Vale of Ffestiniog, near the hostel, where there are a number of waterfalls. Or we could head further down the valley to the estuary and take in some of the seaside villages in a walk that includes both woodland and the beach.
Other Options – For those not wanting to walk on Sunday, there is the nearby attraction of the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, which you can tour through and find out about Wales’ industrial past. Running down the valley is also the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway, a great way of seeing the hills and relaxing as the steam train takes you down to the coast and back.
After the walk we’ll assemble in a nearby pub for Sunday lunch, which we usually start by around 12:30pm. Everything is usually wrapped up by 2pm when you are free to head home, or be dropped at one of the nearby train stations. Hopefully you’ll leave with an eagerness to explore more of this very special part of Wales!
About the Area
The National Park of Snowdonia is far bigger than Snowdon itself, and stretches far to the south to include several more mountain ranges, including the Moelwyns, Rhinogs, Arans, and of course the stunning massif of Cadair Idris. This is an area of vast forests and pathless miles of moorland, where the great valleys of the Dwyryd, Mawddach and Dysynni form wide expanses of sand as the rivers drain the land into the Irish Sea.
Southern Snowdonia is just as famous for its coast as for its hills, and the many miles of beaches and coastal towns make for excellent walking when the hills are wreathed in cloud. Further inland, good paths make discovering new places easy for curious walkers eager to get off the beaten track, with plenty of waterfalls, rocky peaks and sheltered woodlands to explore.
Good to know:
Treks Bunkhouse lies at the head of the Vale of Ffestiniog, near the village of Ffestiniog itself. Nestled in the hills, it is a cosy and isolated refuge, with a lounge, drying rooms, and hot showers. You are welcome to arrive from 5pm on the Friday.
The address for the bunkhouse is:
Day Walkers Meeting Location:
Please meet the guide for 9:15am, we meet outside the toilet block in the Dol Idris Car Park, LL36 9AJ.
A few answers to our most common questions and a few tips to help you enjoy your time on our Cadair Idris weekend.
- This venue supplies bedding but you will need a towel.
- You are welcome to bring your own alcohol to drink on this trip.
- Please bring a lunch box with you, as part of attempt to reduce single use plastic we do not supply sandwich bags.
- Some driving is required during the trip, with the start of the Cadair Idris walk approximately 40 mins from the accommodation.
Travelling by road:
The postcode will not be completely accurate for some Sat navs. The bunkhouse is in the old golf course building, so from Ffestiniog please follow the signs to the golf course, and you’ll see Treks Bunkhouse signposted down a track off the B4391.
Arranging Car Shares and Travel:
Although Large Outdoors does not get involved in arranging car shares, you can use our dedicated Facebook Group set up so people can arrange travel together: https://www.facebook.com/groups/largeoutdoorscarshare/
Travelling by public transport:
Nearest Station: Blaenau Ffestiniog, this is the nearest station and taxi’s can be found at the station, a taxi should be around £10. If travelling by train feel free to post in our members Facebook page as you may want to arrive together and shares taxi’s etc.
Alternative: Minffordd Station, this station may be served by more direct trains however it is a little further away and so may cost more in a taxi. However there is an hourly bus service which stops at the end of the hostel drive.
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What our members have to say...
My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocomeVanessaMember Since 2018
“I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.ElizabethMember Since 2016
Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!ClaireMember Since 2016