7 of the Best One-Day Hiking Trails in Wales
Who doesn’t love a long walk with a rich history? Well, hiking in Wales has you covered with national parks brimming with wildlife, idyllic woodlands, rugged coastlines, the spectacular scenery of Snowdonia, along with mythological tales of fire-breathing dragons and the heroes and heroines of history to boot.
With more than 870 legendary miles of footpath to discover, there are plenty of hiking trails in Wales that will please everyone. Take a look at just some of the walks that make up the best hiking in Wales that you can complete in one day. Grab your boots!
Holyhead Mountain, Anglesey
Although relatively short in length (4.5 miles), this walk combines the dramatic scenery of a coastal walk with some modest but rough mountain terrain near to Holyhead on Anglesey. Made ever more picturesque by the perfectly placed, white-washed lighthouse that sits just off the Anglesey coastal path, this route has a gloriously end-of-the-earth feel.
Where does the Holyhead Mountain walk begin?
The trail begins at a small car park at the Breakwater Country Park, just west of Holyhead town centre. If you’re a fan of animals, keep your eye out for grey seals, puffins and other unusual species of birds that you may see along the way.
The Snowdon Horseshoe, Snowdonia
What is the Snowdown Horseshoe?
The Snowdown Horseshoe is the name given to the horseshoe-shaped semi-circle of peaks on Snowdown’s eastern side. The route is one of – if not the best – trails for hiking in North Wales. Crossing several other routes and containing three classic ridge scrambles, this walk is much-loved by tourists and locals alike. It’s a circular trail that delivers the most spectacular views and a challenging traverse along the knife-edge ridge of Crib Goch.
How long does it take to walk the Snowdown Horseshoe?
The route is around 7.26 miles long starting at Pen-y-pass. You should allow at least 5 to 6 hours to complete this route.
How do you walk Crib Goch?
The scramble up to Crib Gosh (which translates to Red Comb) is good fun if you’re a confident scrambler with sure footing. The knife-edge crest of Crib Goch is desperately steep but offers rewarding views of Llyn Llydaw below.
This legendary route should only be attempted by adventurous hillwalkers with a good head for heights and the confidence to climb over rocky ground. Only try this route with the right equipment, though the walk should be avoided in poor weather or high winds since the exposure on the ridge is fairly extreme. This 7+ mile hike is for those that enjoy stunning views that come from an exposed scramble and adventurous hiking in North Wales.
Dinas Emrys, Snowdonia
Putting the dragon in the Welsh flag, Dinas Emrys is not a trail you want to miss. Wander past waterfalls and through beautiful woodland to reach the summit with stunning views overlooking Llyn Dinas and Nant Gwyant. Once you get to the top, you’ll be able to explore the remains of a square tower and the defensive ramparts belonging to the ancient princes of Gwynedd.
How long does it take to walk Dinas Emrys?
Labelled a moderate walk of 2.2 miles, this legendary circular route should take between 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes. Complete with woodland areas and mountain paths, this trail can be muddy and slippery when wet so do take care. Tread carefully if you choose to explore this hill – a dragon sleeps beneath it.
Llangollen Canal Path
If you don’t fancy rugged terrain, enjoy this gentle 6-mile walk that follows the canal from this North Wales town to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the heart of Wales’s Unesco World Heritage Site and among Thomas Telford’s greatest legacies. Today, it remains the tallest navigable aqueduct in the world with a gravity-defying canal boat route – known as a “stream in the sky”. As such, a head for heights is needed to complete this walk.
Where does Llangollen Canal walk start and finish?
The walk starts at the picture-perfect town of Llangollen, taking you to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and back. It starts by visiting the picturesque ruins of Castell Dinas Bran before taking the Llangollen Panorama walk and the Offa’s Dyke National Trail to Trefr. The route then returns to Llangollen via the Llangollen Canal, completing the circular route.
Coed y Brenin, Gwynedd
Looking for a family-friendly Wales hiking trail that only covers a couple of miles? Then the Waterfalls and Goldmine Trail at Coed y Brenin is for you. This refreshing 3.5-mile route through thick green forestry and roaring torrents is the ultimate family walk. Don’t miss the waterfall – which makes the walk entirely worth it!
The Forest Park covers 9,000 acres of glorious woodland and river valleys. Its 500-million-year-old rocks with their deposits of copper and gold once made it a centre for mining. Today it’s managed for timber and recreation with well-signposted mountain-bike, walking and running trails.
The Golden Road, Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire
They used to call Pembrokeshire ‘Gwlad Hud a Lledrith’, the ‘Land of Mystery and Enchantment’ – and the name still holds up. The Golden Road is the evocative name of a 5,000-year-old trail that is ideal for a gentle hike with a stunning view from the spine of the Preseli Hills. Go out on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with vistas of Cardigan Bay, Snowdonia, and even the Emerald Isle glistening in the distance – if you’re lucky.
The route itself is thought to date back to Neolithic times, and its star features are two of the possible quarries from which stones are believed to have been taken to the Stonehenge 4,000 years ago.
Where does The Golden Road trail begin?
The 7-mile trail begins at Bwlch Gwynt, not far from Foel Eryr. Foel Eryr is a dramatic start indeed, the “Place of the Eagle”, with a Bronze Age burial cairn at its summit. Although the majestic bird is no longer seen, buzzards and red kites glide overhead, and wild ponies browse this raw grassland.
Cwm Llwch Horseshoe Walk, Brecon Beacons
Up for a more challenging walk? This 8-mile circular Cwm Llwch horseshoe route gives you a real feel for the wilderness of the Brecon Beacons, away from the crowds on the more popular routes. It’s a lesser-known route to the highest point in the Brecons Beacons and involves a little bit of scrambling on the first section of the route – so unsure footed walkers beware. However, once you get to the top, you’re rewarded with stunning views of the glacial valley, Port Talbot and the coast beyond.
Where does the Cwm Llwch Horseshoe walk begin?
Starting at the National Trust car park at Cwm Gwidi, the Wales hiking route approaches the Brecon Beacons from the north, ascending the Cefn Cwm Lwch ridge up towards Pen y Fan and Cribyn, before descending the valley of the same name for a straightforward horseshoe walk – complete with interesting geological features along the way.
What’s more, this route doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking for mythological tales to keep you company on your travels. Uncover the story of an invisible enchanted island that has several legends associated to fairies and hordes of Celtic gold, as well as the tragic tale of Tommy Jones, a young boy who lost his way in 1900 in the Brecon Beacons.