Cadair Idris is the most popular peak in Southern Snowdonia; each year thousands of walkers reach its summit. The attention it receives is more than justified and its reputation as a southern answer to Snowdon is well deserved. You won’t find a railway line leading to the summit here though. To get to the top of Cadair Idris requires some good old fashioned stomping.
The peak is most impressive when seen from its northern side and it is from here that one of the classic lines of ascent starts. The Fox’s Path leads up past the rather lovely Llyn Gafr to the even more strikingly beautiful Llyn y Gadair. From here the going gets steeper and rougher, but soon enough you’ll be soaking up the splendid summit vista.
A circuit around Cwm Cau on the southern side of the mountain gives an equally entertaining hill walk. A steep, energetic start up the Minffordd Path brings you out onto the open slopes of Ystrad Gwyn and then to the shores of Llyn Cau, another beautiful lake. The route then skirts up left to gain the lip of the Cwm which leads up above the vast Craig Cau, to the summit.
This is mountain terrain so always Prepare Well and Know Your Limits. During the winter season, typically from late October to April, there is a high probability that snow and ice will be encountered under foot. In these conditions ice axe and crampons are essential. Click the Safety & Access button below for more info.
Cadair Idris is normally approached from either the Gwernan Lake Hotel on the north side of the mountain, or for the Cwm Cau approach from the A487 at the Idris Gates car park.
Safety & Access
Enjoy the Mountains Safely. Here are a few words of advice from Snowdonia’s Mountain Safe Partnership.
1. Prepare Well
have the right equipment with you for the best and worst-case scenario! You’ll need a map and compass, torch, food and drink, whistle, first aid kit and a fully charged mobile phone.
2. Have the latest weather and ground information.
Check the Met Office Mountain Weather forecast for Snowdonia before you set out and be prepared to turn back if the weather worsens – the mountains will still be here for you to enjoy the next time you visit.
3. Dress appropriately
the weather and temperature can change dramatically between the foot of the mountain and the summit. You’ll need strong walking boots, several layers of clothing including warm ones, gloves, a hat and waterproof jacket and trousers.
4. Know where you're going
Plan your route before setting off and ask for local advice. Have a map and compass and know how to use them and choose a route which is suitable for you and your group’s experience and fitness level. Find out how long it should take and when it gets dark.
5. Know your limits
whilst being very enjoyable, getting out into the mountains can be hard work – challenge yourself but be aware of the fitness levels, and experience of the group as a whole – not just your own.
The publisher of this website accepts no responsibility for the way in which readers use the information contained therein. The descriptions and recommendations are for guidance only and must be subject to discriminating judgement by the reader. Advice and training should be sought before utilising any equipment or techniques mentioned within the text or shown in any of the photographic images.
Hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.