Mountain Biking. A bicycle with thick tires that is made for riding on hills and rough ground.
This technical, easy to navigate, gigglingly fast blast down a Snowdonia stunner is one of the top 10 mountains to ride in the UK.
A classic, here follows the well known out-and-back route from Castell y Bere.
12 mi . 2,800 ft . 5 hrs (ish)
Cadair Idris is not an easy ride, she’s demanding and full on, but you have the luxury of getting to see what you’ll be riding down on the way back!
This route starts near the village of Llanfihangel y Pennant and comes up from the south-west to the back of the ridgeline. You will be rewarded with a descent that I dare anyone to say is not one of the most demanding and incredibly satisfying wild mountain rides you can do here in charismatic Snowdonia.
Rather than show a photo of every gate and turn, taking the adventure out of it..
I hope this inspires you to look at the maps, enjoy finding and riding the route, it’s all bridleways, all legit!
See the planning page for some things to help you on your way.
Keep an eye on the weather, keep a good head, take breaks and adore riding through this wonderful national park.
Park at Castell y Bere, there’s a small Cadw carpark that’s a great place to start.
North out of Machynlleth on the A487, take the Minffordd path junction left after Corris, straight on the B4405. Right at Abergynolwyn and follow signs up to the castle.
Parking here allows a nice warm up for the legs before things get going. The Castle was built around 1220 by Llewellyn the Great and perches on a rocky outcrop to protect the southern cattle land of Snowdonia.
I bloody love a castle! and I bet you do too, So I’ll let you find out and wander about this gem.
The out-and-back style of this route makes it so easy to stay on course, head left out of the car park and just keep going up! Climbing out of the valley’s narrow roads and sparse farms, make a right as the road ends onto bridleway and fireroad, climbing steep then levelling out for a few miles to a cattle gate and clearing at Hafotty Gwastadfryn.
look right to the gate in the clearing leading to the bridleway that winds up the grassy switchbacks and round north to the long, technical and often muddy climb. Rutted and full of unexpected cheeky little holes to have you off, you’ll be flying down this later.. start taking note of fun bits and potentially not so fun bits! Remember the puddles can be waaayy deeper than you think!
You’ll end up at top of the valley, a huge view north and joining the Pony path, where 3 trails meet at the marker on the map below OS: SH 69134 13577.
Over the gate to your right and you’re on the main trail! heading east on a wide path up to the ridge and one of the best views in Wales.. Just keep going up and you can’t go wrong!
Cadair is a mystical mountain steeped in stories and folklore. The weather up here can often close in, a blanket of cloud to tease you with glimpses through its gaps, long enough to see Snowdonia’s magnificence but not long enough to grab a camera!
Rumour has it, if you sleep up here alone you will descend to be either a mad-man or a poet! Even worse to hear the howls of the Cŵn Annwn wild dogs, to take your soul away to the underworld… Makes you wanna do it no?!
The terrain is rocky, sniper rocky.. she’s always a little different so take note of the conditions on the way up, hike-a-bike skills really pay off on this climb.
Above is the saddle, a little detour off to the north around the ridge, high above Llyn Y Gadair, a bottomless glacial lake down between you and the main peak of Cadair Idris.
Follow the horseshoe up and round to where things get really steep!
You might see people from the south using the Minffordd path here.
The last bit is super steep! Push on and you’ll find the summit up to your right.
If it’s rough head to the shelter, left toward the north ridge
Now then, time to go back down! Go as fast as you dare! Watch out for walkers and remember how long a trail it is!
I won’t tell anyone if you don’t ride the very top! But get on as soon as you feel confident.
Words can’t describe the downhill, go do it!
Just back the way you came, and you’ve bagged one of the best UK mountain rides!
Serious bit. This is a mountain, weather can and will change, use common sense and bring layers and tools. Pack for the worst and ride within yourself, bring food!
Full suspension helps, a modern and well maintained bike is needed, check your brake pads make sure everything is tight! A mechanical up there in bad weather would suck!
Respect others and the mountain, take out what you brought in, and don’t bring a bad name on mountain bikers.
Feel fit, eat well and take the time to savour this route.