Snowdon from Moel Siabod


Dramatic mountain walk with impressive views

The highest peak in the Moelwynion mountain range, Moel Siabod sits high above the village of Capel Curig. There are several routes to the 872m summit and these vary considerably in difficulty. The trail outlined here is the most popular and easiest route which begins adjacent to the Plas-y-Brenin National Mountaineering Centre. Despite often being referred to as The Tourist Route, this is a strenuous and lengthy hike with several steep sections. However, no scrambling is required to reach the summit and there are incredible views all the way. It is said that on a clear day, you can see 13 of the 14 highest mountains in Wales from the summit and without turning your head. This is a good enough reason to try this walk but there is much more to enjoy throughout your adventure.

Parking near the start of the trail is limited to a modestly sized layby next to Plas-y-Brenin and so an early start is advisable in peak season and at weekends. There is a bar in the Mountain Centre if you require refreshment before you set off or after you return and you can look forward to impressive vistas in all directions including magnificent views of Snowdon.

Duration: 4 hours from the car park to the summit and back.

Terrain: Rocky paths and grassland with some boggy areas

Moel Siabod

Starting Out

Once you have claimed a parking space (and finding one can be harder than the walk!), pass through the gate next to Plas-y-Brenin and walk down the path towards the pretty bridge over the river. The view across the lake from the bridge is spectacular and a great photo opportunity. After taking your snaps, continue over the bridge and then take the path into the woods which is straight ahead. Strangely, there are no signposts or waymarkers on this popular trail.

Follow the path up through an attractive area of woodland until you reach a forestry road. Turn left and walk ten paces or so and then take the path to your right. This passes through another wooded area and eventually you will find yourself alongside a stream before you emerge into more open country. After a further 1.6km you will arrive at a stile, after which you encounter open hillside. There are plenty of spots to stop for a rest or refreshments and incredible views in all directions.

If you have dogs with you, be aware that after you leave the woodland, there will be sheep grazing close by the trail until you reach the summit ridge.

Lake at Plas-y-Brenin
Summit trig of Moel Siabod

Reaching the summit

It’s a relatively hard slog to the summit but those views are sure to keep you moving forward. It can be hard to follow the trail in places but if you accidentally wander off the beaten track, be sure to keep beneath the rocky summit ridge until the final ascent on less rocky terrain comes into view. Keep looking up and to your right until you see the summit trig (triangulation pillar) in the distance and then make your way towards it.

Once at the summit, in addition to the obligatory snap next to the trig, seek out the rocky outcrops just beyond it as these represent fabulous photo opportunities (see large images above and below). The views of Snowdon are memorable but you can also see all the way to Trawsfynydd to the south and to the Gwynt y Môr wind farm near Colwyn Bay to the north. It is about now that you will be glad that you didn’t battle the crowds on Snowdon and chose Moel Siabod (pronounced Moyl Shabod) instead. Some say that the views from this peak are the finest in North Wales. It’s hard to argue!

Take your time

As with any strenuous walk, it is difficult to fully appreciate the beauty of your surroundings on the way up, focused as you are on keeping going and reaching the summit. The walk down is a different matter and on this trail in particular, it is worth taking your time to descend. The views are so wonderful in every direction that it is a shame to miss any of them.

As you begin to head down from the summit of Moel Siabod, the first thing you will notice is the Llyn Foel to your right and beneath you. There will be many opportunities to admire Snowdon in the distance and it is perhaps only from Moel Siabod that you can fully appreciate the grandeur of Wales’ highest peak. As you progress downwards towards Capel Curig, you can enjoy the views of the valley below until you enter the woodland once more.

Your walk ends with a peaceful amble through woodland and alongside the stream. Eventually, the lake appears before you and the Plas-y-Brenin bar is just moments away!

Llyn Foel from Moel Siabod


There are two routes to Capel Curig from the Woollen Mill of almost equal duration. Your first option is to drive north on the A487 and then turn right in Bontnewydd towards Llanberis. Follow the signs to Llanberis and drive through the town and then continue on the A4086 until you reach a T Junction where you turn left towards Capel Curig. Park in the layby on your right just before Plas-y-Brenin.

Your second option is to drive to Penygross, turn right at the crossroads and then turn right at the T Junction. Follow the road until the next T Junction and then turn right again. Follow this road up into and over the mountains until you arrive in Rhyd Ddu. Turn right again, follow the A4085 to Beddgelert and across the top of the stone bridge. Continue on this road past Llyn Dinas and on to Capel Curig.