Standing Stones at the beginning of the path to Llyn Idwal describing the mountains

Top 12 Family Outdoor Activities in Snowdonia


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Looking for an adventure holiday in the UK? Maybe even with kids in tow? Located in North Wales, the “Adventure Capital of Europe”, Snowdonia will tick many boxes on your adventure bucket list. We spent two weeks in Snowdonia National Park exploring and adventuring but have still only scratched the surface.

This article highlights the best outdoor activities in Snowdonia you can have despite (or, in spite of!) kids in tow without having to compromise on experiencing amazing adventures. Seeing the World through your kids eyes and making memories together is the ultimate cherry on the adventure (ahem, the cake!).

My children were 8 & 11 years of age at the time of our Snowdonia road trip. They were able to participate in all the outdoor adventure activities mentioned in this article. Different activity providers will have different age restrictions – so, always check before you book.

Top Tip: If your child doesn’t meet a minimum age requirement for an activity, it’s always worth getting in touch with the activity provider as sometimes they’ll make an exception if they deem it safe to do so. A minimum age limit doesn’t always equate with a child’s capabilities. So, it’s worth asking.

1. Climb Snowdon
2. Go Rock-Climbing
3. Go Canyoning
4. Visit Llyn Idwal
5. Go Mountain Biking
6. Visit a Waterfall
7. Visit a Lake
8. Visit a Slate Cavern
9. Go Zip-Lining
10. Go Tobogganing
11. Bounce on Treetop Nets
12. Go Camping

How To Use This Map: Click the Tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the Layers. You can click the Tick Boxes to hide or show Layers. If you click the Icons on the map, you can get more information about each activity/point of interest. If you click the Star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your computer or phone, open Google Maps, click the Menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and this map will appear on your list.


Snowdon Summit - View towards Y Lliwedd
Snowdon Summit with views towards Y Lliwedd – Snowdonia, Wales

Over 500,000 people walk up Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales & England, each year. Luckily, the crowds get dispersed as there are several routes up Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh).

After studying the eight different routes – and still not becoming any wiser – as I didn’t want to settle on the easiest & busiest one – I sought advice from a trusted mountaineer who recommended the Watkin Path to us. The Snowdon Watkin Path is said to be the second-hardest route after the Crib Goch ridge walk; it’s also the quietest one.

Although it was the perfect route for us, it may not be the right one for you. The diagram below depicts the difficulty, fear factor and crowds of the various Snowdon routes.

Chart about Snowdon's 8 main hiking paths

As with any activity in the mountains, always check the weather forecast beforehand. The Mountain Weather Forecast by the MetOffice website or app is very useful.


Starting Point: Pont Bethania Car Park, Nant Gwynant, LL55 4NR (off the A498) 
Distance: 17.72km
Elevation Gain: 1,233m 
Moving Time: 6h
Elapsed Time: 10h
Difficulty: Strenuous
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley

Our Verdict: Hiking Snowdon was one of the highlights of our adventures in Snowdonia National Park. What a scenery, what an achievement!

LEARN MORE: Snowdon Watkin Path with Kids: The Ultimate Picture Guide


No matter whether you’re a beginner or a pro; there are countless opportunities for rock-climbing in Snowdonia.

I enlisted the services of a climbing guide who had also guided us in the past. I highly recommend Bob Thomas at Contour Outdoor for any climbing or mountaineering activities in the UK or beyond. Once you’ve experienced the best, it’s hard to settle for anything less.

Cyfrwy Arete

Climbing Cadair Idris via Cyfwry Arete, Snowdonia
Climbing Cadair Idris via Cyfwry Arete – Snowdonia, Wales

Our guide, Bob, suggested climbing a multi-pitch route up Cadair Idris via the Cyfrwy Arete which turned out to be the most amazing climbing adventure for us! After climbing up via the Cyfrwy Arete, we walked to Cadair Idris’ summit and finally returned via the Pony Path.


Starting Point: Ty Nant Car Park, LL40 1TL
Distance: 13.17km
Elevation Gain: 1,282m 
Moving Time: 4h 12m
Elapsed Time: 8h 2m
Difficulty: Strenuous
Ordnance Survey MapOS Explorer OL23 Cadair Idris & Bala Lake

Intrigued? Check out Bob’s article about climbing the Cyfrwy Arete on Cadair Idris.

Top Tip: If you prefer to walk Cadair Idris without the need of climbing and scrambling; there are two routes to do so. The easier, Pony Path, starts at the Ty Nant Car Park near Dolgellau. The more challenging, Minffordd Path, starts from the Dôl Idris Car Park near the Minffordd Hotel. We have only taken the Pony Path (up via the Cyfrwy Arete and down the Pony Path), hence don’t have any experience with the Minffordd Path, yet.

LEARN MORE: Climbing Cadair Idris via the Cyfrwy Arete: A Multi-Pitch Adventure

Amphitheatre Buttress

Amphitheatre Buttress |
Amphitheatre Buttress

The following year, we climbed the Amphitheatre Buttress which was yet another highlight of our summer. The Amphitheatre Buttress is a classic climb in North Wales and a big day out with a long approach.


Starting Point: Car Park at Grid Ref: SH 731 663
Distance: 13.33 km
Elevation Gain: 826 metres 
Climbing Time: 5 hours (including lunch)
Elapsed Time: 10h 15m
Grade: V Diff
Height: 330 m
Ordnance Survey MapOS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley
Amphitheatre Buttress Map & GPX File: View Route Map & Download GPX File

LEARN MORE: Amphitheatre Buttress: A Classic Climb in North Wales

Overlapping Ridge Route (First Pinnacle Rib), Tryfan

Overlapping Ridge Route (First Pinnacle Rib), Tryfan

The day after we climbed the Amphitheatre Buttress, we tackled the Overlapping Ridge Route (also known as First Pinnacle Rib) on Tryfan. This was yet another classic climb in North Wales and an epic adventure.


Starting Point: Car Park at Gwern Gof Uchaf Campsite, Capel Curig, Betws-y-Coed, LL24 0EU | Open in Google Maps
Distance: 5 km
Elevation Gain: 722 metres 
Climbing Time: 4.5 hours (including lunch)
Elapsed Time: 8.5-9 hours
Grade: V Diff (Crux: 4b)
Height: 175 m
Ordnance Survey MapOS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley
Overlapping Ridge Route – Route Map & GPX File: View Route Map & Download GPX File

LEARN MORE: Climbing Overlapping Ridge Route (First Pinnacle Rib), Tryfan

Our Verdict: Climbing was the highlight of our summer adventures in Snowdonia!


Sliding down a waterfall while canyoning in Snowdonia, Wales
Canyoning in Snowdonia, Wales

Whether you call it canyoning or gorge walking; it’s one and the same thing. Once you put on a wetsuit, off you go wading through a river, sliding down waterfalls, scrambling up rocks and jumping into pools.

I had been waiting for years to try canyoning with the kids – this time, they were finally old enough! Different companies will have different age restrictions; so do check before you book.

We chose Snowdonia Adventure Activities and were very lucky to snap up the last three spots for the entire month of August when I contacted them in mid July. Due to age restrictions, we booked the Family Canyoning session but they also offer Canyoning Extreme for the age range of 12+ years.

Our Verdict: George and Rachel were experienced guides and we had such great fun. At the end of the session, my son exclaimed that he wished he could have done the “Extreme” session as he was expecting “a bit more action”. It was indeed an appropriate session for families with children his age group up to 12 years. If you happen to have an almost fearless child, however, like I do, then they might find it less thrilling especially if the water levels are low in the river. I guess we’ll simply have to return once my son is old enough for the “Extreme” session!


Walking down the boulder field with views towards Llyn Idwal and Pen Yr Ole Wen
Walking down the boulder field below Devil’s Kitchen with views towards Llyn Idwal and Pen Yr Ole Wen – Snowdonia, Wales

When you first visit Llyn Idwal in Snowdonia, it’s like stepping into a magical wonderland. How can such a small lake be the setting for some of the most dramatic mountainous scenery in the UK at the oldest Nature Reserve in Wales? Well, the last Ice Age bears the answer for that.

It has everything you’d ask for an adventurous day-out: slabs for rock-climbing, a pebble shore for a dip in the lake, a scramble up Devil’s Kitchen and hikes to the peaks surrounding it as well as a gentle walk around the lake itself.

Starting Point: Ogwen Visitor Centre, Nant Ffrancon, Bethesda, LL57 3LZ
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley

There are three routes you can take around the lake.


Walk along the lake shore at Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia
Walk along the lake shore at Llyn Idwal – Snowdonia, Wales

Distance: 4.8km
Time: 1.5-3 hours
Difficulty: Easy


Hiking up towards Devil's Kitchen to cross the boulder field @ Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia
Walking up towards Devil’s Kitchen to cross the boulder field – Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia, Wales

Distance: 5.81km
Elevation Gain: 243m
Moving Time: 1h 49m
Elapsed Time: 3h 30m
Difficulty: Intermediate 
Appropriate footwear is a must.


Walking back down towards Devil's Kitchen from Llyn y Cwn - Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia
Walking back down towards Devil’s Kitchen from Llyn y Cwn – Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia

Distance: 16.46km
Elevation Gain: 459m
Moving Time: 6h 25m
Elapsed Time: 7h 47m
Difficulty: Strenuous 
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley
Appropriate footwear and the ability for easy scrambling is a must.

We completed all three; the first one a few years ago and the second and third options in summer 2021. By chance only, we stumbled across the third option when my son wanted to explore Devil’s Kitchen further. And what an amazing discovery it was!

Our Verdict: Always be curious and explore (further). You never know what lies beyond…literally. What a discovery!

LEARN MORE: Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia with Kids – The Complete Picture Guide


Wales offers some of the best MTB trails in the UK and quite a few of them can be found in Snowdonia National Park. You are spoilt for choice as there is something for every ability. From easy Green routes for families, to moderate Blue, to the most challenging Red, Black and even pro Orange routes. 

We tried out two mountain-biking trails in Snowdonia: one that I recommend for families and another that I do not recommend for novice mountain bikers.


Cycling the MinorTaur trail @ Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Snowdonia
Cycling the MinorTaur trail @ Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Snowdonia

Coed y Brenin Forest Park offers cycling trails for all abilities; from Easy to Moderate to Difficult. You only pay for parking – there are no entrance fees for the forest park. You can easily spend a whole day here taking on various mountain bike trails.

Address: Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre, Dolgefeiliau, Dolgellau LL40 2HZ

For more info, check out the National Resources Wales website.


Trail: MinorTaur
Grade: Blue
Distance: 12.17km
Elevation Gain: 176m
Moving Time: 1h 18min
Lapsed Time: 2h 53min (including a long break for snacks!)
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL18 Harlech, Porthmadog & Y Bala


Attempting (!) to cycle the Dolen Machno trail @ Penmachno MTB Trail, Snowdonia
Attempting (!) to cycle the Dolen Machno trail @ Penmachno MTB Trail, Snowdonia

This trail is only recommended for proficient mountain bikers! I do not recommend it with kids in tow. We only chose this trail because my son wasn’t keen on cycling an easy Green trail and there were no Blue trails in our vicinity. So a Red trail it was! We decided to cut this ride short as it wasn’t becoming any easier. But we’ve certainly learned a lesson: “It’s great to try out new things and push our limits, but we also need to recognise when to abort a mission.”


Grade: Red
Distance: 19km
Elevation Gain: 560m
Time: 1.5 – 3 hours
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL18 Harlech, Porthmadog & Y Bala


Grade: Red
Distance: 11km
Elevation Gain: 206m
Time: 1 – 2 hours
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL18 Harlech, Porthmadog & Y Bala


Distance: 12.61km
Elevation Gain: 388m
Moving Time: 1h 37m

For more info, check out the Penmachno Mountain Bike Trails website.

For other MTB trails in Snowdonia, as well as the rest of Wales, check out the MB Wales website.


Where there are hills and mountains, there are waterfalls. And Snowdonia boasts some stunning waterfalls. Whether you are looking for waterfalls that are easily accessible or willing to put in some effort to reach them, there are plenty to choose from. We love waterfalls. So, we always seek them out on our adventures.


My daughter hiking to the Aber Falls, Snowdonia
Aber Falls, Snowdonia

Aber Falls is a stunning waterfall that gushes down 37 metres in Abergwyngregyn in Northern Snowdonia. The Aber Falls can be reached via an easy trail – ideal also for families with very small children.


Starting Point: Aber Falls Car Park, Abergwyngregyn, Llanfairfechan LL33 0LP
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley


The rushing Swallow Falls waterfall in  Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia
Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia

The Swallow Falls are a spectacular waterfall on the Afon Llugwy. Conveniently located in Betws-y-Coed just off the A5, they are hard to miss when driving through the village. You can view the waterfalls from a location above the river; or, for the best experience, walk down the steps to view them from a platform near the river edge. The waterfalls are open all year round and admission is by turnstile entry.


Location: Betws-y-Coed LL24 0DW
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley


Watkin Path Waterfalls, Snowdonia
Watkin Path Waterfalls, Snowdonia

The Watkin Path Waterfalls are located at the beginning of Snowdon’s Watkin Path hiking route. If you don’t want to hike all the way up to Snowdon’s summit, visiting the Watkin Path Waterfalls is still a worthwhile undertaking. Don’t forget to pack your swimming trunk or costume and a towel as you can take a dip if you’re brave enough, since the water temperature is naturally pretty cold.

Starting Point: Pont Bethania Car Park, Nant Gwynant, LL55 4NR (off the A498) 
Time: 30-45 min
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley


There are countless, breath-taking lakes to choose from in Snowdonia National Park. We visited two lakes during our road trip through Snowdonia. While Llyn Idwal is stunning and very popular; Llyn Elsi is less popular but has fewer crowds and more tranquility to offer instead.


View from Devil's Kitchen towards Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia
View from Devil’s Kitchen towards Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia

Starting Point: Ogwen Cottage, Nant Ffrancon, Bethesda, LL57 3LZ
Distance: 4.8km
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley

READ MORE: See  4. Visit Llyn Idwal above for more information on route options around Llyn Idwal.


Llyn Elsi, Betws y Coed, Snowdonia
Llyn Elsi, Betws y Coed, Snowdonia

A tranquil lake in the woods only a stone-throw away from the buzzing village centre of Betws-y-Coed.

We chose this walk as an easy rainy-day activity and were greeted with peace and tranquility as it’s off the beaten track (or at least it was on a rainy day!). The first kilometre of the trail is fairly steep but there are benches to rest on at regular intervals. The smilie sign-posts along the way certainly help with the motivation to get going.


Starting Point: St Mary’s Church Car Park, Holyhead Rd, Betws-y-Coed LL24 0AL
Distance: 9.13km
Elevation Gain: 289m
Moving Time: 2h 38m
Elapsed Time: 4h 9m
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley

Other lakes to visit in Snowdonia include Lake Bala, Llyn Ogwen, Llyn Cau, Llyn Glaslyn; to name just few.


Llanfair Slate Cavern, Snowdonia
Llanfair Slate Cavern, Snowdonia

Wales is the major slate mining region in the United Kingdom. Hence, there are numerous sites to choose from.

We visited Llanfair Slate Cavern near Harlech in Snowdonia National Park. It’s a man-made cavern that has stayed as the miners left it, built over 100 years ago. It’s a self-guided tour; so once you pick-up a helmet and a torch at the reception, you explore the cavern on your own.

It’s a sobering experience when you realise that children as young as 12 years old used to work in this cavern. The recruitment process used to involve cutting off the tip of the boys’ noses as they were supposedly not man-enough to work in a cavern if they cried.


Titan 2 @ Zip World Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales
Titan 2 @ Zip World Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales

Ever wanted to go zip-lining but haven’t had the chance yet? In Snowdonia, you have the chance to go on the World’s fastest zip line with a top speed of up to 165km/h. Velocity 2 is immense fun and you feel like a bird as you zip across a quarry lake filled with turquoise-coloured water.

If you prefer something with a lower adrenaline rush, then Titan 2 might be for you. It’s way slower than Velocity 2 and you sit in a harness – as opposed to laying in it – as you zip across a slate site. Zip World’s Titan zip line used to be the longest in the World stretching across three zip lines. However, only two (Bravo and Charlie) are in operation at the moment due to maintenance reasons and there seem to be no plans to re-open the third zip line any time soon.

They still charge the same price for Titan 2 but include a brief quarry tour instead of the third zip line. I wasn’t aware of this when I booked the tickets; therefore, this was disappointing. I’m not sure whether I had overseen this detail or whether it wasn’t mentioned at all.

Did we enjoy Titan 2? Yes, my son and I did enjoy Titan 2, especially because he was so excited that he was finally old enough to go on it. But even he found it not quite as thrilling as he would have liked since it wasn’t that fast. He can’t wait until he is old enough to go on Velocity 2.

Was it worth the money? No.
At £60 per head, I don’t recommend Titan 2. If you really want to zip line, I recommend going on the World’s fastest, Velocity 2, for some real adrenaline rush and the feeling of “flying like a bird”.

Some relevant info (as of April 2022):

Titan 2
Minimum Age: 7 years
Minimum Weight: 25kg
Minimum Height: 120cm

Velocity 2
Minimum Age: 10 years
Minimum Weight: 30kg
Minimum Height: 120cm


Do you like the wind in your hair and a bit of adrenaline rush? Then you’ll have a lot of fun tobogganing and so will your kids!

Zip World’s Fforest Coaster near Betws-y-Coed was our first tobogganing experience with the kids when they were 4 & 7 years old – we all loved it. You get three rides per ticket.

My husband joined us on that trip and we had completed one ride with each child when we asked them who had ridden faster; “Mummy or Daddy?” Their concurrent answer was “Mummy”! Well, I do love a bit of speed, I must admit.


This isn’t your usual treetop walk; this is a super fun treetop bounce. You’ll definitely feel your quad muscles afterwards! Located at Zip World’s Fforest location near Betws-y-Coed, it’s a great activity to combine with the Fforest Coaster highlighted above or any other activity offered on-site. Afterwards, treat yourself to a delicious pizza at Hangin Pizzeria in Betws-y-Coed.


Wales is a camper’s paradise; and not only because there’s a campsite on almost every corner.
Whether you’re a tent camper, or prefer the luxury of a camper van or a motorhome, you won’t have to search long until you find just the right spot for the night.

We stayed at three different campsites during our road trip in Snowdonia. Two campsites were located in North Snowdonia and the third in South Snowdonia. The reason for picking two different campsites in the North at such close proximity was because we wanted to try out more than one campsite.

Both, Gwern Gof Isaf campsite and Dolgam campsite are ideally located for exploring North Snowdonia. Almost a stone-throw (or 4km and 11km, respectively) away from Llyn Idwal, it’s a great base to explore this part of the National Park.

Gwern Gof Isaf campsite is located in a more idyllic setting as it’s tugged away from the road. Whereas Dolgam campsite is better suited if you’re travelling with campervan or a motorhome as you can pre-book electric hook-up. Both campsites were very friendly and helpful – I highly recommend them.

In South Snowdonia, we stayed at the campsite at Cwmrhwyddfor Farm. They have no website but you can reach them via phone at 01654 761286. Address: Cwmrhwyddfor Farm, Tal-y-llyn, Tywyn LL36 9AJ, Wales. This campsite is ideally located for hiking (or climbing/scrambling) up Cadair Idris. It’s very popular with caravans but they also have a big grass pitch for tents and motorhomes/campervans. We haven’t used their facilities, so can’t comment on that. Again, very friendly and helpful campsite owner.


To plan our 2-week road trip through Snowdonia National Park, I used Rough Guide, Cicerone and Wild Guide guide books. While there are a plethora of travel guides available, these publishers’ guides are my go-to guides as I particularly like the structure and information provided in them. Click the images below to shop them.


It’s critical to always carry a physical map with you on hiking adventures; especially when in new territory. Below is a summary of the Ordnance Survey maps mentioned in this article – click the images below to shop them.


We spent two weeks in Snowdonia National Park and had the most amazing adventures. There were lots of first’s for us, especially now that the kids are older. Our highlight was climbing a multi-pitch route up Cadair Idris via the Cyfrwy Arete! Hiking up Snowdon was a great achievement, too; while Canyoning in a gorge was great fun! Whatever your abilities or interests, there’s something for everyone in Snowdonia; especially for the adventurers out there. It’s a playground for kids and adults alike! So, go and have fun!

Happy Adventuring!

Last updated: 30 Sep 2022

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