Best time to visit Wales

Winter Hiking in Wales 2024-2025

Explore the winter magic of the snow-capped peaks of Snowdonia or Brecon Beacons and walk historical trails along the Wales Coast Path

Best time: December–February

Winter Hiking
Winter Hiking

Dress warm and conquer the Welsh mountains and coastal trails in winter, basking in the glow of a winter sun. Discover Talgarth Waterfalls and Pwll-y-Wrach Falls where witches once lived, according to a local legend.

The Cwm Idwal walk in Snowdonia features the beautiful Llyn Idwal Lake, which freezes in winter. You'll have to climb atop through rock formations, but at the end, you'll be rewarded by a spectacular view of Nant Francon, the mounds, and the slate village of Bethesda.

Pen y Fan is considered one of the most iconic Welsh mountains. It is famous as Cadair Arthur, meaning King Arthur’s Chair, though there is no historical connection. The mountain is a part of the Brecon Beacons and may be the most dangerous one in South Wales because of the very changeable weather in this region. The routes are often covered with fog, strong winds and storms occur in late autumn, and the paths are covered in snow and ice with heavy blizzards in winter. Pen y Fan climbing is a great activity both for beginners and advanced hikers. You don't need a map as everywhere there are good footpaths, and in just 3-4 hours you can reach the top of the mountain.

Practical info

What are some recommended destinations for a winter hike in Wales?

There are fantastic winter hiking options throughout Wales. Trails within two of Wales' national parks, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons, offer beautiful winter landscapes. In Snowdonia, visit Cwm Idwal for panoramic views of Nant Francon and Idwal Lake. Brecon Beacons has the stunning Pen y Fan mountain, perfect for beginner and advanced hikers alike. The Wales Coast Path also offers coastal scenery, another popular winter hike destination. Show more

What kind of equipment do I need for a winter hike in Wales?

To enjoy your winter hike safely in Wales, appropriate gear is essential. Dress in layers, ensure reliable waterproof boots, and bring sunglasses, hats, and gloves. Consider carrying additional specialised gear like crampons, ice axes, or snowshoes, depending on the trail. Precipitation, extreme temperatures, and poor visibility make the weather unpredictable, so be sure to consult weather reports and pack for various conditions. Show more

When is the ideal period for winter hiking in Wales?

The best time for winter hiking in Wales is between December and February when the peaks transform into a magical winter wonderland. This period can be unpredictable, so check local weather reports often and take extra precautions. Keep in mind that some hiking trails may close in snowy conditions, so planning ahead is vital. Show more

What are some points of interest to consider during a winter hike in Wales?

Wales boasts several fascinating landmarks that make winter hiking unforgettable. The Wales Coastal Path presents stunning coastal views. Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia hosts breathtaking views of Nant Francon and Idwal Lake. From Brecon Beacons' Pen y Fan, hikers can enjoy panoramic views of the area. Besides waterfalls, hikers can experience historical and cultural ruins, including castles, an exciting bonus for winter hiking in Wales. Show more

What are the risks of winter hiking in Wales, and how can hikers avoid them?

Winter hiking anyplace has inherent risks, and Wales is no exception. Weather conditions are often unpredictable, with snow, ice, and storms, posing a danger to hiker safety. Slips, exposure to cold, and poor visibility also come with risks. Reduce these risks by consulting weather reports and advisories, choosing a suitable route, carrying essential winter gear, and keeping an emergency whistle, torch, and first-aid kit. Hiking with a group reduces the possibility of getting lost, staying hydrated and nourished, following the 'leave no trace' principle, and respecting the environment. Show more

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