Easy riders – Snowdonia cycle routes for all the family 

Snowdonia Mountains and Coast is well-known as a magnet for serious cyclists. But you don’t have to be a budding Geraint Thomas to enjoy a ride here. Across the region there’s a wide choice of family-friendly, largely traffic-free routes giving everyone the chance to explore on two wheels.

All the rides are easy to reach and you’ll find parking at or close to the start of each route. If you’d prefer to use public transport, go to Traveline Cymru to find tickets and timetables for local bus and train services.

Coed-y-Brenin – Yr Afon 

Where? Coed-y-Brenin Visitor Centre, near Dolgellau 
How long? 6.7 miles/10.9km 
How’s the ride? The Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park, near Cader Idris in Snowdonia’s southern reaches, is Britain’s first purpose-built mountain bike centre and a mecca for off-road riders. While many of its routes are aimed at more experienced bikers, there are also some gentler options. Winding its way along forest trails, Yr Afon is a fairly easy route with a few rougher sections, a couple of short climbs and one steep descent. Most of the time you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the scenery, which includes tumbling waterfalls on the Gain and Mawddach rivers and the old Gwynfynydd Gold Mine.


Coed-y-Brenin – MinorTaur 

Where? Coed-y-Brenin Visitor Centre, near Dolgellau 
How long? 8 miles/13km 
How’s the ride? Made up of four loops that increase in length and difficulty (and which can be tackled as a whole or individually), MinorTaur is the ideal introduction to mountain biking. Pick a route to suit your skills and you’ll find berms, rollers, table tops and even the odd jump, with a few short climbs and quick descents to navigate. 

Lôn Las Peris 

Where? Along the shores of Llyn Padarn, Llanberis 
How long? 1 mile/1.5km 
How’s the ride? This very easy lakeside roll is suitable for riders of all abilities, serving up spectacular views of Llyn Padarn and the huge slate quarries carved from the mountainside around it – part of the historic Slate Landscape of North West Wales recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once you’re done with riding, there’s lots to see in the village of Llanberis at the trail’s starting point. Take your pick from attractions like the Snowdon Mountain Railway, National Slate Museum, Llanberis Lake Railway and dramatic Dolbadarn Castle (a Welsh-built fortress constructed by the native Princes of Gwynedd in the late 12th or early 13th century).  

Lôn Las Ogwen 

Where? Porth Penrhyn, Bangor through Nant Ffrancon to Llyn Ogwen 
How long? 11 miles/17.3km 
How’s the ride? Climbing from the coast at Bangor into the mountains of the Snowdonia National Park, Lôn Las Ogwen follows the route of a narrow-gauge railway built in the 19th century to transport slate. You’ll see plenty of reminders of this once-mighty industry as you ride, including the quarries at Bethesda (now home to the super-sized adventure playground of Zip World) and the mock-Gothic Penrhyn Castle, built with profits from the slate trade. You’ll also travel through the moody wilderness of the Nant Ffrancon Pass, one of Snowdonia’s most untamed landscapes, before a final few miles on quiet roads with dramatic views of the Carneddau and Glyderau mountain ranges looming above the glacial lake of Llyn Ogwen.

Cycling on Lôn Las Ogwen

Lôn Eifion 

Where? Caernarfon to Bryncir 
How long? 12 miles/19.3km 
How’s the ride? Starting out close to the soaring towers of Caernarfon Castle, the totally traffic-free Lôn Eifion follows the route of the Welsh Highland Railway for much of its length. Gradually climbing up 500ft/152m to its highest point, it provides stunning 360-degree panoramas of the surrounding landscapes – the Llŷn Peninsula’s rugged and romantic Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the south-west, Caernarfon Bay and Anglesey to the west and north and the peaks of Snowdonia to the east. The scenery can take the breath away, so you’ll be thankful of the gentle descent into Bryncir towards your journey’s end. 

Lôn Las Menai 

Where? Caernarfon to Y Felinheli 
How long? 4 miles/6.5km 
How’s the ride? Beginning near mighty Caernarfon Castle (a World Heritage Site and one of the finest surviving examples of medieval architecture) Lôn Las Menai traces a smooth and easy route along the shores of the Menai Strait. Following the old railway line built to transport slate to Y Felinheli (Port Dinorwig in English), it makes its way through sheltered woodland, with plenty of lovely views across the waters to the Isle of Anglesey on the opposite side.

Caernarfon Castle

Lôn Gwyrfai 

Where? Caernarfon to Waunfawr 
How long? 4 miles/6.5km  
How’s the ride? A short and gentle journey along ancient lanes and tracks, many of which were laid down by the Romans who once occupied this part of Wales. Before you leave Caernarfon, you’ll have the chance to admire the handiwork of more recent invaders at Caernarfon Castle (built by English king Edward I in the 13th century as a statement of power in his campaign against Wales). 

Llwybr Mawddach 

Where? Barmouth to Dolgellau
How long? 9 miles/15km 
How’s the ride?  One of the most scenic bike rides in Britain, Llwybr Mawddach begins in the shadow of Dinas Oleu – a picturesque, gorse-strewn headland that became the first National Trust property in 1895 – before an unforgettable journey over 19th-century Barmouth Bridge (which still carries trains alongside cyclists and walkers). Spanning the mouth of the Mawddach, it provides stunning views of the estuary – and a chance to spot some of the abundant wildlife that call it home. The trail then traces the Mawddach, with the water at one side and woodland rising to the looming mass of Cader Idris at the other as it makes its way to Dolgellau.


Llwybr Trawsfynydd 

Where? Gellilydan to the shores of Llyn Trawsfynydd 
How long? 3 miles/4.8km
How’s the ride? Beginning from the little village of Gellilydan, you’ll follow a bridleway up towards the waters of Llyn Trawsfynydd and its imposing nuclear power station. Though it’s no longer producing energy and is in the process of being decommissioned, its monolithic concrete towers still are a striking sight in this otherwise natural setting. Equally impressive are the views of the rocky Rhinogydd mountains, one of Snowdonia National Park’s most wild and untamed corners, rising up behind the lake. As the route winds round Trawsfynydd’s shores, you’ll reach the waterside visitor centre and café, the perfect place for a refreshing pit stop. 

To see more on family-friendly recreational cycling in Snowdonia Mountains and Coast go here