Before reading this wild camping Snowdonia blog, head to this wild camping UK page. This will give you a broader overview on best practice, gear and going to the toilet in nature.
As for wild camping in Snowdonia…
Snowdonia holds some of the UK’s most beautiful and impressive scenery. It’s incredible! And the vast open spaces make it an ideal place to go wild camping. Be it for a multi-day hike, searching out wild swimming spots or just to have a night under the stars.
Before we start….
If you are new to this blog, I’m Bex Band – a full-time UK adventurer and founder of the women’s adventure community, Love Her Wild. I’m on a mission to make getting outdoors and going on adventures as easy as possible. You can read more about me here. I share all my advice in this Snowdonia Wild Camping guide to help make your overnight adventure as smooth and easy as possible.
If you have any questions, please do use the comments box below. And for ongoing tips and inspiration on camping and adventure, make sure you follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I’d appreciate it 🙂
Also, grab a copy of my best-selling adventure memoir – Three Stripes South.
Is wild camping in Snowdonia legal?
Technically, no, it is not. The only legal places you can wild camp in the UK are Dartmoor (although there are some restrictions – more details here) and Scotland.
However, it is tolerated and commonplace in Snowdonia. The Snowdonia National Park Authority accepts that wild camping on un-enclosed fell land, away from roads, is accepted if undertaken responsibly by small numbers of people.
So basically you need to make sure you are away from roads, not hoping any fences and aren’t doing this as part of a large group. And most importantly you must be following a strict policy of Leave No Trace (full leave no trace rules here).
How to choose a wild camping spot in Snowdonia
There is no shortage of wild camping Snowdonia spots. When I plan my adventures I will get out an OS map (see ‘resources’ heading below for details of the maps I use) and plot the hiking route and distance I want to cover first. I can then find rough areas (depending on distance) of where I might want to camp down for the night.
Using the map I’ll be looking for potential flat areas. These are shown using the contour lines. The closer the contour lines, the steeper the terrain.
I want the spot to be somewhere a good couple of km away from the nearest road. Avoid boggy areas (marked by a marsh symbol on OS maps). Peaks aren’t good places to camp as you are very exposed to high rain. You also don’t want to be at the bottom of a ditch or somewhere that might flood if it rains.
It doesn’t matter if it’s too near a path (as long as you aren’t on a path) as these are quite hard to avoid in the National Parks.
The other consideration is water. I’ll be looking for a running water source nearby where I can collect water for cooking that night and to get me going the next morning.
I’ll usually then have 2 to 4 potential spots marked on my map to explore when I get there.
Tarns (small mountain lakes) often offer perfect camping spots. Note though in the summer period the best spots can get busy so you might not have the lake to yourself!
Places to wild camp in Snowdonia
Here are a few wild camping Snowdonia spots that I’ve used or planned before. Some of them are well known. I’d suggest using these as a guideline. See what they look like on a map and then use that knowledge to find your own spots elsewhere:
- Cwm Eigiau on the eastern side of Carnedd Llewelyn
- Llyn Edno
- Cwm Clogwyn (good spot for those wanting to climb Snowdon)
- Llyn yr Adar (great spot but can be popular in high season)
- Summit of Mpe; Ysgyfarnogod (it’s not suggested to camp high if you are expecting strong winds)
- Cwm Caseg tarn (last time I camped here I had a great display from the mountain rescue helicopter doing drills nearby!)
- Cader Idris (no shortage of flat spots near the summit)
- North of Carnedd Dafydd summit
Wild camping on Snowdon
A lot of tourists head to Snowdonia specifically with the purpose of summiting Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. It’s important to remember that Snowdon is the busiest hike in the area. At the summit is a large cafe and also a train station taking tourists up and down that don’t want to or can’t do the hike. This makes wild camping on Snowdon a lot trickier!
I have seen people wild camping next to the tarns on Snowdon but really wouldn’t recommend this just because the footfall is so busy and you will draw attention to yourself. I have known people to camp on the summit – it’s not possible in a tent but might be possible on a quiet night with a bivy bag (more on bivvying here) if you pitch very late and leave very early. Note though that night hikes of Snowdon are increasing in popularity and you are very exposed being that high up.
There are lots of places nearby where wild camping is possible and you can still make it up and down Snowdon within a day. On one occasion I followed the Beddgelert Forest trail (opposite the road where many of the trails up Sowdon start) and headed towards one of the nearby peaks (I can’t remember which one).
This was the wild camping spot we eventually ended up at:
Getting to Snowdonia
Although it might initially seem easier to travel by car to Snowdonia, the increase in road traffic is causing damage to the area. I’d encourage you to take a more environmentally friendly option and to take public transport. Not only is it more eco but it also adds to the sense of adventure – there’s something quite ‘Famous Five’ about the old school public transport options in North Wales!
There are 2 main train stations in Snowdonia: Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Sherpa Bus service offers transport from the stations to some of the more popular hiking spots. From there it should be easy to set off and start your adventure.
Parking in Snowdonia
Snowdonia receives over half a million visitors a year – a lot of them during the sunny weather periods. On a good weather weekend, most foothill car parks will be full by 6.30/7am. Unless you plan to set off at 5am, you’ll want to look at using the park and ride Sherpa Bus service.
It’s also worth noting that most of the main car parks have a maximum 24hour stay. If you push this you will return to a ticket but could also potentially cause an unnecessary mountain rescue search as it might be assumed you have got lost in the mountains!
Where to base yourself in Snowdonia
If you want to have a base before or after your wild camp I’d suggest using one of the following places. These are also great places to pick up last-minute camping gear or food supplies.
- Blaenau Ffestiniog – a mining town which can be accessed by train. Suggested accommodation: Pisgah Guesthouse (£60)
- Llanberis – has some good attractions including slate mine tours and a lakeside railway. Suggested accommodation: Glyn Peris Guesthouse (£75)
- Betws-y coed – busy town with lots of restaurants, hotels and camping supply shops. Can also be accessed by train. Suggested accommodation: Waterloo Hotel (£110) or The Eagles Bunkhouse (£30)
Resources for wild camping in Snowdonia
If you are planning a wild camping Snowdonia trip, I can suggest getting your hands on the following. Note for OS maps there are 3 needed to cover the entire National Park. Depending on what areas you plan to cover you may not need them all:
- OS Snowdonia Map OL17 (map covering north Snowdonia)
- OS Snowdonia Map OL18 (map covering middle Snowdonia)
- OS Snowdonia Map OL23 (map covering south Snowdonia)
- Nature of Snowdonia (really great book with easy to digest knowledge on the flora, fauna, and wildlife in Snowdonia – small so is easy to carry)
- Hiking in Snowdonia (40 hiking suggestions)
- Britain’s Best Small Hill’s (a great all-around wild camping guide for suggestions across the UK on where to sleep wild for a night)
For reliable weather forecasts check out the:
If you are looking for a more adventurous or wilder experience, you might want to consider a bivvy bag instead of a tent. Check out my Bivvy Bag camping guide for more information on this style of camping.
I’ve also written wild camping guides for other areas in the UK including:
Other relevant posts to help you get ready:
- How to pack a hiking backpack like a pro
- 7 tips for staying warm when camping
- 19 Fun camping games for adults
For a bit of inspiration
Videos are a great tool to give you a sense of what wild camping in Snowdonia might feel like. There’s some great tips in these videos. But mostly they will show you what a good spot might look for and the wonderful views you are going to have in store!
A few top tips
- Most visitors flock to hike Snowdon so if you are after a quieter experience stay away from this mountain
- Always tell someone where you are planning to go and what time you plan to be back
- It’s very important that you understand and follow the leave no trace protocol. This includes not lighting any fires, removing all rubbish with you off the mountain and following toilet etiquette. For more details check out Wild Camping UK
- The weather can change drastically in Snowdonia. Make sure you check the forecast before leaving and have a way to monitor the forecast during your adventure
- Snowdonia has some big crags and tough rocky climbs. If you are planning to hike it’s worthy checking routes and difficulty levels in advance to make sure it’s within your remit
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*Any women reading this?* I founded a women’s adventure community called Love Her Wild . Check out our private Facebook page and see what adventures we have coming up.
Thank you so much for writing this!!! I’m looking into my first wild camping trip & having visited Snowdonia many many time last it’s somewhere I feel at home and comfortable. Your advice has given me the push I needed to excuse myself from work for three days next month and start plAnning properly!
That’s so great to hear!!! Good luck Danielle…go make it happen! xx
Hi. I have strong desire to get out in the wild more and experience what the great outdoors has to offer with my 9 year old daughter. I remember doing a school trip which consisted of camping next to one of the many lakes in Snowdonia which was amazing now I look back and reminisce . Would you be able recommend a certain trip thats ideally suited for a 9 year old which hopefully ends up with the ability to camp next to a lake with some scenery to take in and admire. Thanks
So great that you want to take your daughter camping! Most of the large tarns in Snowdonia will have suitable camping spots nearby – just pick one that is the right distance that you think you’ll both be able to cover comfortably carrying all your items. It’s very hard to go wrong in Snowdonia as there are infinite wild camping options!
Hi Bex, I just booked a train ticket to Betws-y-coed for next week. This will be my first solo wild camping experience. I would love to explore the Snowdon area for two nights. Do you walk a specific trail and then just stop somewhere to set up your camp? Are there trails set out or do you have to navigate by map?
How exciting! None of the trails are marked out except for Snowdon and even then people get lost as there are lots of different routes to the top and the markers aren’t very clear. You’ll definitely want a map and compass. There are lots of trails in Snowdonia but they all crisscross and can be lost very easily.
Don’t let that put you off though. Look online for some easy routes to start out, check the weather daily and make sure you have all the right gear and you will be fine 🙂
I’m hoping to do some overnight wild camping but was planning on driving to Snowdonia. Are there any places to park my car for a night or two?
I always take public transport so can’t help you!
Hi Bex im from denmark and planing a trip to Snowdonia in april… do you know how good the cellphone reception is in the park ? i use Viewranger for the most of the time and a compass and map if all else fails.
There are lots of areas in Snowdonia where you won’t get reception. I don’t know if Viewranger offer this function but I know the Komoot app does – you can download your maps and use them offline. Also worth having a paper map as a backup, especially in case your phone breaks.
Hi Bex, thank you for your tips. I’ll be doing the Snowdonia Slate trail this year and probably will have to wild camp at least 1 day. I dont want to pitch the tent to close to the trail but looks like there are a lot of fenced areas around which doesnt leave me with many options to chose a spot. Any recomendation? Thank you
You’re going to have a great time! In situations like this I’ve just accepted that I need to camp near to the trail – as long as you are doing so late in the day and leave no trace then there’s no reason why you’ll have any trouble. There are so many trails across the National Park that it’s not always easy to be away from paths. In the evenings though there aren’t going to be many people around – if at all.
Hi, please do you know where that is in the first picture? With the tent and the lake
Great blog – Thanks!
I don’t remember I’m afraid!
The first picture is Angle Tarn in the Lake District.
Thanks Neil 🙂
Hey! Great blog, thanks a lot! I’m looking at going to Snowdonia region on motorbike in a few weeks and hoping to wild camp, it’s my first time doing a bike camping weekend, wild camping and wales so a complete unknown – i was wondering if you kindly have any recommendations on a good spot with bike that’s safe enough? Cheers!
That sounds fun! I don’t have any suggestions as have only ever travelled to the area using public transport. Probably the absolute safest would be to find an overnight car park or hotel/pub you can pay to leave your bike in.
Hi Bex, me and 4 friends are thinking about hiking and possibly wildcamping in Snowdonia. We were wondering if you’re allowed to wildcamp with a bigger group (so 5 people), of course while following all the other rules. Thank you!
Groups of people wild camping is not permitted. I never wild camp with more than 2 of us. It will be hard for you to find space plus big groups disrupt the land and wildlife and therefore there’s a good chance you will get moved on.
For a group camping experience please book a campsite!
Im cycling Lands end – John O’Groats with my son ( for a charity) and have decided to call at the Three Peaks, I know this might sound silly, but with the rule of not being close to a road when you wild camp, would it be possible to get to where we can wild camp with our cycles, once we have walked Snowdon we are heading for Scafell Pike.
Thanks for your time
Hi Paul – what a fantastic challenge to do with your son!
You will be limited because you’ll have the bikes with you so just make sure you stick to all the other rules and push your bikes so you are at least out of sight of a path if you can. Mostly though just make sure you pitch late, leave early and leave no trace. If you follow these rules I can’t see you having any problem finding wild camping spots – especially as you are doing this for charity and can explain your challenge should anyone aks (although it’s unlikely anyone will!)
Wishing you lots of luck!!
It’s not wild, exiting or ‘ out there’ if you have to read it in an article really is it? How about we stop publicising wonderful places and let people have a real adventure by finding them themselves?
Well….we all have to learn it from somewhere! Great if you’ve got outdoorsy mates willing to show you, or wild spaces on your doorstep. But most aren’t that privileged.
It’s also not up to you to determine what constitutes as ‘wild’, ‘exciting or ‘out there’ because it’s very subjective. So leave your patronizing snobbery out of my blog please!
Yes let’s all choose the rules and laws in life we want to follow and not follow, what a wonder world that would be!
If you want to wild camp… get permission from the land owner
If we all followed the rules without question we’d never move towards a better place for everyone! I mean….it wasn’t so long ago it was illegal to be gay…
It’s not always possible to get the land owners permission. Or obvious who the land belongs to. And a lot of the places will be owned by National Parks who openly say they tolerate it if you leave no trace. So it’s really not as black and white as that!
You sound like fun Colin!
Please note, Snowdonia National Park has updated it’s advice on wild camping and has now made it very clear that PRIOR PERMISSION of the landowner is A REQUIREMENT, BEFORE wild camping in Snowdonia.
It has also refers people to the wild camping code, so that people know what is and what isn’t a suitabe campsite (and of course permission has been obtained). The code includes many points, some of which I have included below.
“Toileting should be at least 30 m away from any water source or path, and waste buried at least 15cm deep and covered over. Carry paper and any sanitary items away with you.
Leave no litter; take away all rubbish and food scraps with you.
Don’t pollute the area with any non-eco-friendly detergents and do not use streams, lakes or rivers for washing with soaps or other washing products. Take a small bowl and dispose of this well away from any water courses.
Move on respectively without argument if asked by a landowner to do so.
Use unobtrusive coloured tents that blend in with the scenery.
Camp with just one or two tents; no groups.
Choose your pitch carefully and avoid digging ditches, trampling plants and moving rocks and stones just to accommodate your tent.”
You may wish to let your followers and group leaders know of the national park’s updated guideance which was issued on 31 March 2021. For your information, Pembrokeshire National Park has also as many people are under the misapprenhension that it’s not required. You may find the following link to be useful. It includes a further link to the wild camping code.
Foxtrot Oscar , We don’t want you vermin in Wales polluting the gorgeous countryside.
If you don’t want vermin in Wales then it sounds like you might need to relocate!
Planning a bike ride from London to Snowdon and then South to the Gower before returning back.
Your blog is giving me some confidence I will actually be able to manage sleeping rough all along the way. 😀
That’s really great to hear Jared. Good luck with the adventure….it sounds brillinat! You’ll definitely be able to find camping spots en route 🙂