Cader Idris (Cadair Idris) via the Pony Path

Gwynedd, Wales

SummaryGetting there

A popular route climbing steadily to the summit. Return on the same path or (if conditions are good) try the Fox Path.

Distance:2.7 Miles
Est. Time:2 hrs 20 mins
Difficulty: Moderate 
OS map: Explorer sheet OL23
Total Ascent:2441 ft 
Total Descent: 141 ft 

DescriptionMap View

The RouteSafetyNotes


  • summit cairn on Cader IdrisSuperb views of the west coast of Wales
  • a respectable climb with no special difficulties
  • views of Snowdonia
  • One of Wales' best known peaks

Cader Idris (Cadair Idris) is at the southern end of Snowdonia, but away from the most popular tourist areas of North Wales. But popular neglect of this region is quite without justification; it is stunnigly beautiful and Cader Idris offers the perfect platform for viewing the area.

The Route go to top

Bridge on the Pony Path (Cader Idris)Ty Nant (690152) From the car park - turn right - SW direction. Left at footpath through gate beside telephone booth. There is a stream on the right of the track. Go through a kissing gate and over a footbridge crossing at the confluence of two streams. Follow the path uphill through thin woodland. At the yellow arrow (on a log) turn half-right and continue uphill. Go through a kissing gate and over another bridge. The path is well maintained and the views get better as you climb. Soon the cliffs of Cader Idris (Cadair Idris) come into view to the left. cliffs near the summit of Cader IdrisClimb to a dry stone wall and go through a gate (good view of cliffs to the left).

From here the slope eases off for while and the path is grassy. Cross a stream, go through another gate and follow the path up beside a wall and through another gate. Now the path begins climbing towards the ridge, where zigzags soften the steepness of the climb. Go round a large erratic boulder, after which you have just six zigzags to negotiate before reaching the top of this section. Cross a ladder stile at 691135 and turn left along a gravel track.

erratic boulder on the approach to Cader IdrisThe path from here is marked by a line of cairns but the path itself is being increasingly improved with stones laid by the National Park authority. At the top of this section the path comes close to the cliff edge then levels off before the final scramble to the summit.

Return by the same route unless conditions are ideal, in which case you may like to try the shorter, but much steeper, Fox Track (with extreme caution).

Safety go to top

Cader Idris is a moderate climb. It has no special difficulties and the Pony Path route is barely 3 miles long from car park to summit and may take less than 2 hours. But, at 2820 feet (855 metres) this mountain is high enough to suffer sudden changes of weather, so wear decent boots and take adequate clothing.
The alternative Fox Path is a risky walk, to be used with care only in ideal conditions.

Notes go to top

Dollgellau is the largest nearby town and a handy centre for the region. It has many shops, B&B's, hotels, pubs and restaurants.

Fox Path - probably the shortest walking route up Cader Idris, it heads straight up among the screes and loose stones on the NW side of the peak. It is a risky route, only to be used in ideal conditions

Minfford Path - an alternative walking route from the eastern side of Cader Idris.

Pony Path  - one of the most popular walking routes up Cader Idris.

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