Cadir Idris (walking) Route Details

Route Description

Planning on doing this route?

Why not add a comment when you get back and share your experience?

Got a better route?

Become a member (it's free) and share your route with the world.


The Minfford path is the start of the walk going up through the woods , you have Llyn Gan caused by a glacier in the ice age . you can detour of your route to have your lunch here if you want .There is some pathless heather hopping on the return. On a clear day the views are fantastic.


The condition of the route is well defined , some difficult sections but you can find your way round very easily. on the return it can get a bit boggy underfoot.As with all mountain walking the weather can change very quickly so be prepared. It amazes me the number of people you see who do not have any gear with them .

Hazards and warnings

There are the usual hazards you would expect loose scree on the return and high steeps on the way up and down through the woods, be careful when wet.

Detailed description

From the rear corner of the car park you will see a well made path signed to Cadair Idris. This soon splits to give two options – one passing to the North of the small lake and one to the South. An alternative start is to walk SW along the B4405 for about 275m and then turn right on the signed footpath through the metal gates – the original entrance to the Minffordd Estate. All these paths merge near the camp site.

After passing the camp site and arriving at the edge of the woodland, pass through a wooden gate to enter the Cadair Idris Nature Reserve and start the steep climb up through the woodland. A significant proportion of the climb has been pitched with stone, making for better underfoot conditions but doing nothing to reduce the energy required to make the climb. The path basically follows the lower section of the Nant Cadair, passing close to a sequence of spectacular waterfalls before exiting the woodland via another gate.

Shortly after leaving the woodland, the path arrives at Nant Cadair with a choice of routes. The path that crosses the stream is signed to Mynnydd Moel and forms our return route. The outward route stays on the path on the West of the stream signed to Cwm Cau. The path continues to climb but at a much less severe gradient, passing to the North of Craig Lwyd. Just as Llyn Cau comes in to view, the path splits once more with the main Minffordd Path bearing left (South) to continue the ascent. If you wish you can take the right hand (West) path to Llyn Cau.

Irrespective of the weather, there can be few places more picturesque than Llyn Cau, surrounded as it is on three sides by magnificent Welsh mountains. A walk to the lake, provides the legs with a welcome break from the incessant uphill work and also gives the eyes and mind a chance to feed on the full majesty of the setting.

The Minffordd Path as it climbs once more heading for the ridge to the South of the lake. After the hard work involved in getting on to the ridge, the profile of the rock slabs mean the view is restricted on the North side and so a little disappointing initially. There are places though where the views down gullies to Llyn Cau are breathtaking. Shortly after the path veers to the NW, the summit of Cwm Amarch is reached and the summit of Penygadair (Cadair’s highest peak) reveals itself. The descent from Cwm Amarch to the col at Craig Cau is welcome at this point of the walk and offers good views of the Cadair Idris range to the North and East.

Before following the path all the way round to the summit of Penygadair, I would strongly recommend a slight detour. As the path veers NE from just W of N at grid reference SH708127, head in a NW direction to intercept the Pony Path – the main path to Penygadair from the North. Follow the path around the rim above Llyn y Gadair to the rocks just beyond the summit of Cyfrwy which are home to some spectacular but very exposed rock climbs and grade 3 scrambles.

Retrace your steps back from Cyfrwy and onto the Pony Path which you follow to the summit of Penygadair. Just N of the true summit, marked by a trig point, is a stone built shelter-cum-bothy. Irrespective of the day or time, don’t pin your hopes on having the summit of Penygadair to yourselves. The views from the summit are amongst the best I’ve come across on a UK mountain.

From the summit shelter, head NE on the path that follows the top of the Northern ridge of the Cadair plateau, with extensive views across Dolgellau, the Rhinogs and Trawsfynydd to the Moelwyns beyond and, on a really clear day, to Snowdon. The path continues along the top of the ridge towards  the summit of Mynydd Moel.

You will see a large cairn you then need to bear right, follow the path you well come across some boggy sections hear, follow the path and you will shortly see a stone wall with a ladder stile and a wire fence. Climb the stile and turn right and follow the rocky path as it descends quite steeply, passing North of Moelfryn, to arrive at the path junction next to Nant Cadair that was passed on the outbound route. From here it is just a matter of retracing the outward route to return to the Minffordd Car Park.



This is one of my favorite walks, i have been here in the snow, and the ice. last year i came up here when its was minus 4 . Llyn Cau was totally frozen , i threw a stone onto the ice and the sound echoing here was amazing . I did not walk to the summit this time. This was the first time my son came here and he to has fallen for this very special place, since that day we have come here several times , the photos show you some of the fantastic views here i hope you to will enjoy bcadir as we do.

Route Map

Show: Bing Maps | Google Maps | Silverlight Maps | OS Maps.