The Thrill of the Climb – Tal Y Fan Walking Trail

Just over 6 miles from our Llandudno hotel, begin your North Wales walking holiday with a hike in the impressive Carneddau mountain range in Eryri (Snowdonia National Park). The range’s peaks, make up the largest continuous area of high ground in Wales and England, covering an area of more than 200sq km.

An often-overlooked area of Eryri, the Carneddau mountains are rugged and wild, and offer varied terrain and breath-taking 360-degree views of our storied mountains and coastline.

Tal y Fan stands at 610 metres, Wales’s northernmost mountain and one of the range’s more remote peaks. Tal y Fan is also one of four Marilyns that can be found in the Carneddau range – a Marilyn, being defined as a mountain with a relative height of at least 150 metres (494 ft) within the British Isles.

Rambler checks map on Tal Y Fan coastal walking trail in North Wales

Terrain and weather will be most favourable from March to September, and despite Tal y Fan’s summit not being the highest, it doesn’t fail to deliver spectacular views. While you hike in the Carneddau, look out for the majestic Carneddau Ponies, native to the range, they are wild and hardy semi-feral mountain ponies, managed by local farming families. There are also free-roaming sheep, which means dogs, whilst welcome on this trail, should be kept on a lead at all times.

A herd of Carneddau ponies on the mountainside

The walking route, like many in this area of Snowdonia, has some harder navigational areas and scrambly, rocky sections so confidence on steeper ground or uneven terrain is advised and care should be taken. It’s important to note that mountain weather is changeable and unpredictable, carrying layers and waterproofs are essential year-round, no matter what the weather report says; whilst also carrying enough food and water is key to having a comfortable, happy hike. Familiarising yourself with navigational skills, map-reading and how to use a compass can help to keep you safe should your phone or navigational device fail or lose battery. And packing a headtorch is always advisable.

The Tal y Fan Walking Trail

Total length: 12 km / 7.5 miles

Time: 3 – 4 hours

Elevation gain: 531 m

Type: Out-and-back

Map: OS Map – Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa – OL17OS Explorer

Apps: OS Maps / All Trails (https://www.alltrails.com/en-gb/trail/wales/conwy/tal-y-fan)

Experience level: Beginner – Moderate

View from Mount Snowdon towards Carneddau mountain range during beautiful sunset

This beautiful walk starts at a small roadside car park on Sychnant Pass Road, between Conwy and Capelulo. It’s important to note that there are lots of walks and trails in the area so sticking to the main path is key.

Start early to avoid crowds, parking is free and can fill up quickly during busier periods, although these hills and peaks are usually much less crowded.

The walking trail first takes you past the llyn (lake) Gwern Engen before a short steep climb skirts the peak of Craigyfed Wen and then becomes a gentler incline.

The route joins the Cambrian Way, until it takes on a lollipop shape at the Maen Penddu standing stone, and heads south, past a disused slate quarry, following the Eastern slopes and along a wall for the final section, taking you to the trig point and the peak of Tal y Fan.

From the summit admire the views to the south of Eryri’s great peaks, or look north to Conwy’s coastline.

Landscape views from Tal Y Fan walking trail in North Wales

The trail then takes you down via the northern slopes, looping the peak to rejoin the Cambrian Way at Maen Penddu. The descent here can be tricky so take care to take a safe route down from the summit as there is not a clear marked path.

When it’s time to rest and refuel, head back to our Llandudno hotel to freshen up and enjoy a delicious dinner at Chantrey’s Restaurant overlooking our beautiful Llandudno Bay. It’s time to plan the next hike of your walking holiday or perhaps a day off, relaxing by the pool and easing tired muscles in the sauna and steam room before another big walk in Eryri’s mountains – after all, the thrill is in the climb!


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