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Minffordd Path Route Summary
Cadair Idris goes by many names – Cader Idris, Penygader and Penygadair – and as one of the highest mountains in Southern Snowdonia and the ninth highest in Wales overall, it is easy to see why this mountain is so popular amongst hikers. A hike to the summit of Cadair Idris offers breath-taking views every step of the way, from tarns and lakes to rugged mountain scenery as far as the eye can see. There are three official routes you can take to reach the summit of Cadair Idris, but by far one of the most spectacular is the Minffordd Path.
Approximately six miles long, the Cadair Idris Minffordd Path circular walk is one of the shortest routes to the summit of Cadair Idris, but also one of the hardest, with a total ascent of around 900m.
|Start/Finish||Dôl Idris Car Park, LL36 9AJ|
|Distance||6-mile 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. 890-907m|
|Public Transport||Bus service T2 between Aberystwyth and Bangor|
|Facilities||Toilets, visitor centre and tea room (seasonal) at Dôl Idris Car Park|
|Difficulty||4/5 – Hard, vigorous walk with steep ascents and steps|
Cadair Idris Accommodation
If you’re looking for looking for accommodation near Cadair Idris, we have you covered…
Toad Hall Hostel – Just a short drive from Cadair Idris. Average price £30 per person per night. Great reviews and close to a train station and bus stop.
The Slaters Arms Corris – Average price £70-80 per room. Breakfast included.
Gwesty Minffordd Hotel – A cosy hotel surrounded by incredible scenery at the foot of Cadair Idris.
Cader Mountain View Cottage – Gorgeous cottage for 5 people with hot tub and stunning views.
Plas Dolguog – Luxury hotel with stunning rooms. Prices range from £155-225 per room per night.
Cader Suite with Luxury Hot Tub – Gorgeous rooms in a bed and breakfast just a 13-minute drive from Cadair Idris with luxury hot tub and breakfast included.
Cadair Idris Minffordd Path Route Guide
From the Dôl Idris Car Park, 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 short but challenging 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 junction with the Mynydd Moel track. 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 (lake).
Here the path forks again. The fork going off to the right will take you down to the lake. If it’s a warm day and you have time for a detour, enjoy a swim in the tarn surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery! If not, follow the path to the left and begin the second steep ascent towards the ridge line. From down here, the ridge line that towers above Cwm Cau looks daunting and precipitous, but when you reach the top, the path is actually wide and fairly safe.
Continue climbing and enjoy the sweeping rugged 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. As we hiked the Cadair Idris Minffordd Path in good weather, we didn’t find this section too difficult, but in poor weather such as snow and ice, it could be treacherous.
Once 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 or smartphone app such as OS Maps.
Follow the ridge line 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 circular route. We opted for the circular route to enjoy the scenery from a different angle.
If completing the Cadair Idris Minffordd Path circular route, you’ll follow 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 and the scrambly sections can be unpleasant especially in wet weather, so take your time. We followed the fence line so we had something to hold on to but we felt like we may have veered off the Minffordd Path accidentally.
After a while, the descent evens out and reaches a clearly defined path made of flat slate rocks which later turns into a shingle path. 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 Should I Wear to Hike 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 out of nowhere, transforming the loose rocks and path into a treacherous slippery challenge. Fortunately, we had prepared well and had the right footwer and clothing.
If you’re planning on hiking Cadair Idris via the Minffordd Path, be sure to carry the following items with you:
- Robust walking shoes – hiking boots, or comfortable walking trainers with good grip
- Waterproof coat/jacket
- Warm layers – wear layers you can remove/add as your body temperature increases/decreases
Cadair Idris Minffordd Path Safety Tips
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 make sure you check the forecast in advance and dress accordingly.
It’s your responsibility to ensure you are fully prepared. Carry plenty of water, a water filter or water purification tablets, high calorie snacks and always make sure someone at home knows where you will be walking, just in case of an emergency.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best path up Cadair Idris?
It depends what you define as ‘the best’. The most scenic route is the Minffordd Path, but the easiest route is the Pony Path.
What is the shortest Cadair Idris route?
At approximately 6 miles, the Minffordd Path is the shortest route to the summit of Cadair Idris.
Is Cader Idris harder than Snowdon?
While the summit of Cadair Idris is much lower than Snowdon, many people feel the Minffordd Path is much more challenging than any route to the summit of Snowdon.
How long is the Cadair Idris Minffordd Path route?
The Minffordd Path is approximately 6 miles long and takes around 5-6 hours to complete due to arduous terrain and steep ascents.
Where can I park for the Cadair Idris Minffordd Path?
The best car park for hiking the Minffordd Path is the Dôl Idris Car Park. Parking at Dôl Idris is £6 per day or £3 for upto 4 hours. Payment is only possible by card. Cash is not accepted.
Can I reach the Minffordd Path via public transport?
Yes – you can take the T2 bus that runs between Bangor and Aberystwyth. You will need to get off the bus at Minffordd, Gwesty i Gader Idris/Hotel for Cader Idris, which is a 2-minute walk to the Dôl Idris Car Park. View bus timetables here.
If you have any questions about hiking Cadair Idris via the Minffordd Path, please reach out in the comments below!