Wales is full of mountains, hills, moorland, forests, rivers, streams, and has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the UK. There are 15 national parks in Wales, three of which are quite famous. The Pembrokeshire Coast, The Brecon Beacons, and Snowdonia National Park that holds the highest peak in Wales and the second highest in the UK.
Just like in England, and Scotland, there are hundreds of different trails and hikes in Wales’ national parks, along with some great campsites to stay at too. The trails range from easy to hard, suiting all levels of hiking. Whether you’re after a forest walk, following a river, strolling through white-sand beaches, or summiting a mountain, Wales has got it all. The scenery is beautiful and you quite often get a view of the sea from most peaks, so don’t forget your camera.
Most of the trails can be accessed via public transport but it will be a lot easier to have a car, we highly recommend it. You’ll be able to get to trails that are a bit further out the way, and it makes getting from A to B a lot quicker and more convenient.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the best hikes in Wales ranging from hard to easy that cross the beautiful environments Wales has to offer.
Hiking in Wales, unlike Scotland, does not allow wild camping, and therefore crossing or pitching your tent on private land is illegal. This does limit the freedom of hikers and bit, but Wales is well kitted out with excellent public footpaths and some great campsites. You can also camp anywhere you like, but you have to make sure it’s legal and to do this, you must seek the permission of the landowner.
The Pen y Fan Summit Loop from Libanus is a stunning hike found in Wales’ Brecon Beacons National Park.
The hike takes you up to the Pen y Fan summit that offers stunning views. Along the way, you’ll pass through some magical scenery and it’s definitely a hike worth taking your camera on, and you will be walking above the clouds if you’re lucky.
The hike starts at the Storey Arms, lovely little pub worth stopping in at once you’re finished.
The hike starts from the car park and takes you over a lovely river. From here you’ll follow an obvious path while the route ascends on the way to Bwlch Duwynt or windy pass.
Continue through the windy pass and to find yourself on the southern slopes of Corn Du. With a few more strides, you find yourself in the saddle between Corn Du and Pen y Fan. Turn and look south to see incredible views on the Neuadd Valley and the lakes.
For here it is a hard push to the summit of Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park, at 2906 feet. On the summit, you’ll find a burial chamber from the Bronze Age, also known as a cairn. It was excavated in 1991 when a spearhead and a bronze brooch were found inside.
The views from the top are incredible, especially on a clear day. You can see the summit of Cadair Idris in the distance, the town of Brecon, the Bristol Channel if you’re lucky and the Sugar Loaf sits far to the east.
Once you’ve spent enough time enjoying the summit, follow the same route back through the saddle and then up to the summit of Corn Du for some more views. There is a cairn on Corn Du as well, and if you look north-west, you’ll see the beautiful Cwm Llwch valley.
From here descend and follow the ridge to get to Tommy Jones’ obelisk, with beautiful views behind it. Once you’ve seen the obelisk, follow the path the way you came and cross a little stream to follow the path back down to the Storey Arms.
This is a long hike with some very steep sections. It’s labeled as hard and you’ll need some solid fitness for it.
The weather can change very quickly, and it’s advised to bring a torch, whistle, map, compass, and waterproofs in case it gets stormy.
One of the most famous walks in Wales is the summit of Snowdon, the second-highest mountain in the UK. Snowdonia National Park is beautiful and full of incredible views.
Along the hike, you’ll see historical water wheels, views of lakes, mountains, boulders, and amazing rock formations.
The hike starts at Llyn Cwellyn Car Park which gets very busy during summer, and you’ll need to be there very early like 6 am early to get a spot.
The hike begins across the road where you’ll find a path that takes you to past the entrance of Cae’r Orsaf, over train tracks to the Llwyn Onn farmhouse. You’ll notice an ancient waterwheel at one end that was driven to grind corn in the old days.
After the farmhouse, the path starts to zig-zag and climb up the mountain. You must stick to the path as the land around it is private. As you slowly ascend it’s worth taking breaks to stare back at the stunning views of Lake Llyn Cwellyn which has the lowlands of Mynydd Mawr rising out of its shore.
Continue on and on your left, you’ll see the summits of Moel Goch and Moel Cynghorion with the pass in between. Follow the path through the pass an onto Llanberis.
After this, a giant boulder left by the ice age will come into view called Maen Bras. The path continues and the views do to, overlooking rugged mountain scenery with lakes in the distance.
Eventually, you’ll arrive at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog where the path gets very steep and leads to the summit. While you’re on your final push to the top, the are magical views of ridges, lakes, valleys, and the summits of all the other peaks around you.
The path gets trick, especially in bad weather, so be careful. You’ll cross the Snowdon Mountain Railway Line and you’re almost there.
Once you reach the summit, the views are out of this world. You can see 14 peaks, 18 lakes, and on a really clear day, you can see the Isle of Man, the Lake District, and even as far as Ireland.
The walk it tough and strenuous, and you’ll need to be fit to manage it. Being such a hike peak, the weather is also a factor to consider, as it can change quickly. Make sure you have warm clothing and waterproofs, a torch, a map, and a compass.
The St David’s Cathedral Loop hike is full of history and the beautiful coastal scenes of the Pembrokeshire National Park. The hike takes you from the town of St Davids, that’s worth spending some time in itself to look at the ancient architecture.
The walk starts at the center of St Davids and takes you to the St Davids peninsula. There is a chance to see amazing marine life and great birds on the way, so bring your camera.
Starting from Pebbles Cafe you’ll follow the road towards the sea and you’ll soon reach the Chapel of St Non and the coastal path. The Chapel is very quaint and you’ll find the coastal path just near the cliff face.
Follow the path around the stunning cliff faces and St Non’s bay while keeping an eye on the sea for dolphins and the sky for peregrine falcons.
You’ll eventually arrive at a quaint little harbor called Porthclais and past it, you’ll cross the estuary of the River Alun. As the path continues you’ll pass a natural rock arch while being blessed with incredible ocean views.
Soon you’ll be reaching Porthliski Beach, which is the perfect place to stop for a picnic or a swim if you’re brave. The beach is beautiful, rocky with white sand and crystal blue water.
Keeping to the coastal path, you’ll see islands in the distance and ocean currents rising up in the straits. Eventually, you’ll come to another natural rock arch and eventually you take a right back into St Davids.
This walk is pretty easy and fine for all hiking levels. The hike is best on clear days but can be done in all weather conditions. Be careful of gusts near the cliff faces though.
The Beddgelert Loop is a hike that suits anyone’s fitness level. It’s a lovely picturesque hike that includes ravines, rivers, valleys, forests, a waterfall, and stunning views of some peaks.
The hike starts in Beddgelert, known as the most beautiful town in Snowdonia. It’s alive with tourists, and there are a lot of pubs and cafes to go to before or after your hike. If you have the time, it’s worth taking a look at the beautiful bridge that crosses the River Colwyn.
From Beddgelert, you follow the river downstream and once you’ve crossed the railway line you’ll start to see the river narrow and the ravine comes into sight. The ravine is absolutely beautiful, possibly one of the most magical places in Snowdonia.
The trail is cool too, as it gets narrowers you’ll have to work your way around knots and narrow ledges, crossing small bridges over the river below. It’s great fun. If it’s been raining a lot, the river can be troublesome, and if the flow looks too heavy at the start of the ravine you might need to turn around.
Once you get the Nantmoor bridge, the trail starts to climb through a small valley along a river surrounded by woodlands. One the way there is a get resting point next to a waterfall.
After a while, you’ll go around the summit and notice old mining remains that were left there by the Romans. Eventually, you’ll reach the top and see awesome views across the valley and the peak of Moel Hebog.
Once you’re done with the views, the path takes you down to the shores of a lake called Llyn Dinas. It’s very pretty and you can’t help but gaze over the lapping waves. As you continue, you’ll follow the shore to the river and back towards Beddgelert via the Sygun Copper Mine.
It’s worth stopping at the mine and taking a tour around the deep caves. It’s great for kids too; you can pan for gold, do some metal detecting and take a tour around the museum.
From the mine its a short hike to get to Beddgelert where a pub and a cold beer awaits you.
The hike is pretty easy, and manageable for all fitness levels. The only tricky part is in the ravine and older people may find that section a little more difficult.
The route is great for any weather conditions, just take in considering the flow of the tiver if it has been raining a lot.
Found in the Brecon Beacons, the 4 waterfalls hike is hailed as one of the best hikes in Wales. There aren’t many dedicated waterfall routes in Wales, and if you’re looking for one, this one of the top waterfall trails you could find.
The hike features caves, rivers, forests, gorges, and of course stunning waterfalls. You can even hike behind one of them. The hike starts from the Cwm Porth car park and is suitable for all levels.
From the car park, you cross the road and enter a lovely woodland. Keeping following the path as you walk on a concrete walkway that takes you over a cave system. Eventually, you’ll hug the edge of the woods and continue to pass cave after cave.
Unfortunately, you can’t explore the caves, as there is a river running through them. But, it is pretty cool think you’re walking on top of a flowing river system.
After a while, the Mellte River will come into sight flowing out of a valley. At this point, you cross over the cave, but be careful it’s slippy with a steep drop. Continuing on, you’ll follow the river bank until you reach the first waterfall, Sgwd Clun Gwyn. It’s worth stopping to take the path down to it and admire it from below.
Once you’re ready, head back up and follow signs to Sgwd yr Eira. The trail takes you on the top edge of a gorge that has the river following through it. Eventually, you’ll drop down to the river and find Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn waterfall upstream and Sgwd y Pannwr waterfall downstream. Both are rather spectacular.
Heading back to the gorge trail and after a few hundred meters you’ll see some steps that lead you to the final waterfall Sgwd yr Eira. Once you reach the falls, you can even walk behind it. It’s quite famous for being the only waterfall in Wales with a public footpath inside of it.
From here it’s a quick dash back to the car park.
This hike is ideal for all ages and abilities. You can do it in all weather, just be aware fo the flow of the river if there has been heavy rainfall.
The Barafundle Bay Loop hike is found on the Pembrokeshire Coast and shows off some of Wales’ most beautiful coastal scenes. You’ll wander along the cliffs, down to white-sand bays, through wildflowers and butterflies (spring and summer only), around lakes, through woodlands and past deer. You couldn’t really ask for much more from a coastal hike.
The hike starts in Stackpole, a quaint little welsh coastal town found right on the southwest tip of Wales.
Starting at Stackpole Quay car park, you follow the coastal path to Barafundle. It’s worth having a look down at the Quay and seeing the rock changing from limestone to a deep red sandstone in the cliffs.
Following the trail, you’ll reach BarafundlecBay, one of the most picturesque beaches Wales has to offer. The sand is white and the sea is crystal clear. It’s a great place to spend some time hanging out, swimming, and picnicking.
From the bay, the coastal path leads through the woods on the other side to Stackpole Head and on the way, you’ll see natural stone arches below you. On the head, it’s worth looking out of for breeding sea birds on the ledges but only in spring and summer.
As the trail continues, you’ll walk through grasslands that are full of wildflowers and butterflies in spring and summer that lead to the shores of the Bosherston Lakes. The lakes are a great place for watching birds and seeing otters.
Continue around the lakes as you like, through the deer park and you’re back at Stackpole Quay.
This hike is for all abilities and all-weather conditions. It’s best done on a warm spring or summer day, especially if you want to enjoy the birdlife, butterflies wildflowers, and otters.