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This Rhyd Ddu mountain circuit will take you to the top of Wales’ highest peak — and back down along a route you’ll never forget.
Watch: Is this the best MTB ride in Wales? Epic Dawn Raid On Snowdon! by Tom Grice
It starts with a steep climb (don’t feel too bad if you need to get off and push — we did) to Bwlch Maesgwm, where you’ll enjoy smooth-rolling singletrack all the way down to the lakeside town of Llanberis.
From here get ready for a long climb that takes in road, track, rock and scree, with a few steep bits where you’ll need to push. It’s worth it, though, for the descent.
The first kilometre is very steep and exposed: you’ll be carrying along much of the knife-edge ridge. After that it settles into a steep, rocky and mostly rideable descent back to the valley floor.
Planning your Rhyd Ddu ride
Riding Snowdon isn’t quite as simple as going up and then hurtling back down. The mountain is the biggest honeypot in the national park: the National Park Authority estimates that 400,000 walkers reach the summit every year, and another 100,000 travel up by the train that runs to the top.
With half a million people making the journey, it makes sense to avoid the busiest times if you want to enjoy some of the country’s very best big mountain riding.
In fact, bikers have signed up to a voluntary agreement to do just this. Between May 1 and September 31, we’ve agreed to stay off the trails leading to the summit between 10am and 5pm.
That means the walkers have the hill to themselves during the day, but we get to come out and play between dawn and dusk. And because most visitors don’t aim to reach the summit for dawn or finish in the dark, as often as not you’ll get the whole trail to yourself.