If you’re not in a hurry, why not ditch the car and enjoy Snowdonia by bike? You’ll get a better view, produce no air pollution, and give yourself a good workout while you’re at it…
If you’ve got the energy for it, there are few nicer ways to explore Snowdonia than on a bike. Whether you take a recreational route, a gentle meander through a forest with the family or a thrilling downhill mountainside trail at full pelt, a view of Snowdonia from two wheels is hard to beat.
What are your options for cycling in Snowdonia? Here are ten worth trying out, though there are of course many more…
1. Coed y Brenin Forest Park
The mountain biking centre at Coed y Brenin Forest Park is a great day out for all the family. With trails suitable for children, disabled riders, absolute beginners and advanced mountain bikers (and everyone between), this gorgeous forest setting is ideal for a day on two wheels. Don’t have a bike of your own? Not to worry – you can hire one during your visit, from Beics Brenin; hire rates start at £25 per day.
2. MB Blaenau – Antur Stiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog, whose slate industry meant the town was for many years known as “the town that roofed the world”, is making a big splash as a mountain biking centre boasting four specialist downhill trails, an uplift road and a jump-site. Uplift prices (via Antur Stiniog) are £26 for a full day, £16 for an evening, or £3 per single uplift. Advance booking is highly recommended.
3. Beddgelert Forest
At the foot of Snowdon, just outside the picturesque village of Beddgelert, you’ll find Beddgelert Forest – a popular spot for off-road cycling. The forest has several trails, clearly marked with numbered posts, helping you follow the route you’ve chosen. If you don’t have your own bike with you, hire a bike from Beddgelert Bikes – they carry a great range of bikes and accessories, including helmets, child seats and even tandems if you want a really memorable day’s cycling with a friend!
4. Dolgellau Cycle Routes
Explore southern Snowdonia using any of the Dolgellau Cycle Routes. These routes take in some truly spectacular scenery, including the beautiful Mawddach Estuary, mountains and open countryside. Routes include the Cader Idris Route (21 miles); Mawddach Route (18 miles); Trawsfynydd Route (28 miles); Dolgellau to Machynlleth (28 miles); and the Penmaenpool route (five miles).
5. Llŷn Cycle Routes
The Llŷn Cycle Routes follow narrow lanes whose hedgerows of hawthorn, blackthorn, gorse and broom are adorned with a dazzling display of wild flowers. The gentle rural landscape of Llŷn and Eifionydd is notable for its vales and hills, rocky coves and sandy beaches. The cycle routes include Mynydd yr Ystum (19 miles); Garn Fadryn (27 miles); Garn Boduan (17 miles); and Garn Bentyrch (14 miles).
Find out more about the Dolgellau and Llŷn Cycle Routes and download route maps here.
The Gwynedd Recreational Routes – Lonydd Glas – provide a traffic-free, safe location for cycling, and also for walking. This network of routes covers 31.5 miles along disused railway lines, offering an opportunity to relax among nature and forget the outside world. The following are just five of the Lonydd Glas routes – maps are downloadable for all these and more, at this page of the Visit Snowdonia website.
6. Lôn Las Ogwen
Lôn Las Ogwen is an ongoing project which aims to complete the Bangor to Bethesda link. Also known as Lôn Bach, the path south from Porth Penrhyn follows the River Cegin to Glasinfryn. The path follows a disused narrow gauge railway which at one time transported slate from the Bethesda quarries to Porth Penrhyn for export. Lôn Las Ogwen continues south over the Glasinfryn viaduct to Tregarth and into the Ffrancon Valley past Penrhyn Quarry.
7. Lôn Las Menai
Lôn Las Menai is a 4.5-mile path that runs between Caernarfon and Y Felinheli, following the former railway alongside the Menai Strait and offering smashing views across the water to Anglesey.
8. Lôn Las Peris
From Llanberis, follow Lôn Las Peris along the shore of Llyn Padarn before connecting with the public road network where you can continue through Cwm y Glo and Llanrug towards Caernarfon. Or, you can follow country lanes to Deiniolen or Penisarwaun – or even up the valley towards Nant Peris. Whichever way you go, you’ll not be disappointed with the views along the way.
9. Lôn Eifion
The entire length of Lôn Eifion – perhaps the best-known and most popular cycle route on the network – is tarmacked. Following alongside the Welsh Highland Railway‘s tracks for part of the way, the trail goes along a green avenue of trees stretching between Caernarfon and Pencir. Lôn Eifion is guaranteed to dazzle with its outstanding views.
10. Mawddach trail
The Mawddach Trail – part of the Lonydd Glas network – follows the Mawddach Estuary from Barmouth to Dolgellau, along a disused railway track. The trail, which is surfaced with compacted dust, caters for disabled users between Penmaenpool and Dolgellau. The views along this trail are pretty special, taking in the estuary, Barmouth Bridge, wildlife-rich wetland and forestry.