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Minffordd Path Route Summary
As one of the highest mountains in Southern Snowdonia and the ninth highest in Wales overall, Cadair Idris is a popular mountain to scale and offers breath-taking views every step of the way. There are three official routes you can take to reach the summit of Cadair Idris, but by far one of the most scenic is the Minffordd Path.
At around 6 miles, the circular route of the Minffordd Path is one of the shortest routes to the summit of Cadair Idris, but also one with the greatest ascent, at around 907m, although that’s up for debate as various websites report different ascents.
|Start/Finish||Dôl Idris Car Park, LL36 9AJ|
|Distance||6 miles circular route|
|Time Required||Approx. 5 hours – you’ll need plenty of time to enjoy the views|
|Parking||Dôl Idris Pay and Display Car Park – £6 all day|
|Ascent||Different sources report different ascents, but approx. 907m|
|Public Transport||Bus service No. 30|
|Facilities||Toilets, Visitor Centre & Tea Room at Dôl Idris Car Park|
|Difficulty||4/5 – Hard, vigorous walk with lots of steep ascents & steps|
Cadair Idris Minffordd Path Route Guide
From the Dôl Idris Car Park, you’ll want to go through the kissing gate at the far end of the car park near to the toilets. Turn right along a gravel path lined with trees that leads across a river to another gate.
Once through the gate turn left, passing the tea room and visitor centre. Turn right at the footpath sign, following pointers for Cadair Idris, and go through the wooden gate to begin the ascent.
Follow the steeply rising path through the woods and passed Nant Cadair falls. The Minffordd Path follows the waterfalls for a short way and it makes for some pretty scenery.
Continue through the woods until you reach a split in the path. Keep left and follow the path through the valley with the mountains rising on your right. Here the path levels out which gives some much needed respite before the next part of the climb.
This was one of my favourite parts of the hike because you now get to experience the mountains opening up before you, with the ridge line of Mynydd Moel rising up to your right. Follow the path through the valley until you reach some large boulders overlooking the beautiful Cwm Cau tarn, or lake.
Hear the path forks again. The right fork will take you down to the lake, if you have time for a detour, and perhaps even a swim! If not, bear left and begin the second steep ascent. From down here, the ridge line that towers above Cwm Cau looks daunting and precipitous, but in actuality, when you reach the top, the path is wide and fairly safe.
Continue climbing and you’ll enjoy sweeping views out to the ocean and Talyllyn pass and lake below. Here the path levels out for a while until you start to climb steadily along a scrambly section of ascent up to Craig Cwm Amarch. In good weather, we didn’t find this section a problem at all, but in poor weather such as snow and ice, it may be difficult, so tread carefully.
Over a fence and stile, you’ll reach the first summit of the day, Craig Cwm Amarch, we felt it was a great spot for a hot chocolate and a bite to eat overlooking the ridge line stretching out ahead and the lake below.
From here, the next stretch of the trail is quite undulating. It can be a little hard to follow as it’s not always clearly defined but you can make out the general direction on a clear day. On a very misty day, the only way to follow the path correctly may be via a compass! Although it would be a shame to hike this route on a misty day and miss on out the epic scenery.
Follow the ridge line up and down until you reach your next summit and trig point of Cadair Idris. You’ll notice a large stone shelter nearby, which is always worth noting in case of bad weather.
Once you’ve reached the summit of Cadair Idris, you can either go back the way you came, or complete the Minffordd Path via a circular route. We opted for the latter.
If completing the circular route, you’ll press on a fairly flat path to Mynydd Moel, the third summit of the day and from there begin your descent back to the car park.
The descent is steep so you’ll be back at your car in no time, but also worth noting that there are a lot of large boulders and loose rocks that can be very slippery in wet weather, so take your time and take care not to fall. We followed the fence line so we had something to hold on to but we felt like we may have veered off the intended path somewhat accidentally, so do keep your wits about you.
After the steep descent, you’ll reach a steady descent with a clearly defined path made of flat slate-like rocks which later turns into a shingle path, which is a relief to follow after the treacherous scrambling on loose scree.
Follow the path down towards the forest that you originally started in, making sure to enjoy the stunning views through the valley to your right. You’ll soon reach a slate footbridge over the river, which leads you to the original fork in the path from earlier in the day.
From here, you’ll head back down through the forest and Nant Cadair falls back to the car park.
What to wear for hiking the Cadair Idris Minffordd Path
We were fortunate enough to have clear skies and sunshine when we reached the top of Cadair Idris, which meant we could enjoy beautiful panoramic views all around. However, on our descent, the weather changed very quickly with mist and rain coming almost out of nowhere, transforming the loose rocks and path into a treacherous slippery challenge. Fortunately, we had all our hiking gear with us so were well kitted out for whatever the weather might throw at us. If you’re planning on hiking the Minffordd Path to Cadair Idris, be sure to pack or wear the following items:
- Good walking shoes – either hiking boots, or comfortable trainers with good grip
- Waterproof coat/jacket
- Layers – wear layers you can remove/add as your body temperature increases/decreases
Are you prepared satefy wise?
Although the Minffordd path to the summit of Cadair Idris is clearly defined and isn’t very dangerous, mountain hiking can come with its own challenges. As mentioned above, the weather can change almost instantly, so ensure you’re always prepared and have checked the forecast.
It’s your responsibility to ensure you are fully prepared. Take plenty of water, high calorie snacks and ensure someone knows where you are going to be walking, just in case.
Accommodation near Cadair Idris
We stayed in a fantastic little cabin a short 15-minute drive away in Dinas Mawddwy. The cabin was so secluded, with no mobile phone signal or WiFi and a ton of epic hikes right on the doorstep. Highly recommended if you’d like to get off the grid for a few days. Read my review of this cabin in Snowdonia here.