You don’t need crampons, ice axes and have a head for adventure like Sir Chris Bonnington to enjoy the winter splendour of Snowdonia. With the roads clear – just watch for black ice like you would anywhere – you can get close to the cold stuff without risking sliding around on it.
Here are our TOP FIVE favourite places to admire the icy wonders of Snowdonia:
- Ogwen Cottage and Cwm Idwal, Bethesda, LL57 3LZ
Cwm Idwal captures the winter and keeps it for a long time. That’s because this fearsome natural bowl of sheer cliffs faces north east, and sees no sun at all until later in the Spring. Even after the ice and snow have retreated elsewhere, it’s still here, stuck between boulders and cracks in the rock. Park at Ogwen Cottage and follow the laid path as far as Llyn Idwal for headspinning views.
Visit Snowdonia website has information about Cwm Idwal
- Snowdon from Dinorwic Quarry Viewpoint
Getting a good view of Snowdon isn’t always easy, with the Glyder mountains crowding in from the North East and the classic view from Capel Curig difficult to appreciate because of busy roads. This is a lesser-known vantage point and about the best to see up into Llanberis Pass without parking on the pass road. Park at Llanberis Slate Museum and follow the waymarked route. It’s steep but this side of the valley does get the sun this time of year!
BBC Wales’ weatherman Derek Brockway walked this route and the PDF map can be downloaded from the BBC Wales website here.
- Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn, off the A55
Aber Falls and the valley it sits in face north, so again they tend to see little sun during the winter. The path in is great, though, so there’s no reason not to go and have a look. The Falls frequently freeze at their edges creating plenty of icicles. If you carry on up the valley road (very narrow!) there is a small car park at the end, and a track here leads to a hidden lake – much quieter than the Falls.
Snowdonia National Park Authority’s website covers the Aber Falls path in detail
- View point, Nebo road above Conwy Valley
This takes a bit of finding but it’s well worth it. Leave Llanrwst on the B5427 (signed Nebo). After about three miles at the top of the hill, turn back on yourself on the B5113 and the lay-by is a few hundred yards on the left. You can see most of Snowdonia’s northern peaks from here, as well as the beautiful Conwy Valley below. Few people come this way, so crank open the window and enjoy the silence!
- The Nantlle Valley, Penygroes to Rhyd Ddu
This stunning glacial valley feels like Snowdonia’s forgotten route, perhaps because it doesn’t link any significant town. What it does do is make a convenient route to Snowdon from the Lleyn Peninsula – and what a route it is! Once in the valley the steep sides close in as the road climbs gently to a bwlch (pass) before twisting down to Rhyd Ddu. Snowdon’s summit is visible straight ahead for most of the way.