Backpacking in Wales: TOP 5 Multi-Day Trails

Backpacking in Wales: An ultralight backpacker in a national park enjoying a scenic view during sunset

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Backpacking in Wales offers immense variety for outdoor enthusiasts, from the rugged hills of Snowdonia to the windswept coastal paths of Pembrokeshire, including popular destinations like the Brecon Beacons National Park.

And that’s what this post is all about – backpacking in Wales. We’ll provide tips to help you prepare for backpacking in this diverse country as well as showcase the TOP 5 multi-day trails in Wales.

Interested? Let’s get started.

Key Tips for Backpacking in Wales

  • What to expect: The varied terrain encompasses coastal areas, mountains, and lush valleys, with well-marked paths for straightforward navigation. Engage with welcoming locals, explore cultural highlights. Be ready for adventure opportunities beyond hiking, such as rock climbing.
  • Essential gear: Wales experiences a temperate climate, so rain is common. Pack waterproof gear and dress in layers to adapt to varying conditions.
  • Wildlife: Wales is generally a safe place, yet it’s important to keep in mind that there are occasional sightings of venomous snakes, such as adders. It’s advisable to exercise caution when it comes to ticks, which can transmit diseases, and be ready to deal with bothersome midges, those irksome flies.
  • Wild camping in Wales requires landowner permission. However, Snowdonia National Park does allow wild camping if you adhere to specific guidelines and avoid established areas. In the Brecon Beacons National Park, certain landowners do permit wild camping. If you’re determined to go wild camping no matter the cost, don’t forget to take a look at our post on stealth camping.
  • Best times to go are typically during the late spring to early autumn months, specifically from May to September. During this period, the weather is generally milder, and the landscapes come alive with blooming flora. The late spring and summer months offer longer daylight hours, allowing for more exploration of the scenic trails and natural wonders.

Top 5 Backpacking Trails in Wales

Explore Wales’ best scenic long trails for epic adventures:

1. Cambrian Way

A cascading waterfall pouring down a rocky mountain cliff on an overcast day

Length: 287.5 mi / 462.7 km
Type: Point to point
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 70 328 ft / 21 436 m
Location: Cardiff
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 275 000 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This challenging 287.5-mile backpacking route crosses Wales from Cardiff to Conwy over 30 days. Hikers will traverse remote moorlands and mountains, requiring navigation skills and proper gear. Pass through villages and enjoy scenic vistas from March to October. Solitude can be found as few hikers take on this diverse, ever-changing terrain. Mental and physical endurance is needed to complete this rewarding trek across Wales’ remote landscapes. Proper preparation is essential for this epic backcountry challenge.

2. Offa’s Dyke Path: Chepstow to Prestatyn

A mirror-like lake reflecting the glowing orange sunrise over a mountain landscape in Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

Length: 170 mi / 273.6 km
Type: Point to point
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 35 190 ft / 10 726 m
Location: Chepstow
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

Hike 177 miles from Chepstow to Prestatyn on this 10-day Welsh trek. Pass through picturesque villages and ancient ruins rich in history. Traverse steep ridges and peaks in the Brecon Beacons before descending to Hay-on-Wye, a book town. Cross between Wales and England through bucolic Shropshire hills. End at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the tallest ever built. With panoramic views and diverse terrain ranging from mountains to meadows, you can experience the blend of culture and nature through this challenging yet rewarding 10-day adventure.

3. Llwybr Llechi Eryri (Snowdonia Slate Trail)

A landscape photo of a mountain peak shrouded in clouds on an overcast day

Length: 91.2 mi / 146.8 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 17 076 ft / 5205 m
Location: Eryri National Park (Snowdonia)
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 23 920 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

Circumnavigate rugged Snowdonia on this 5-day, 91-mile loop from Bangor. Hike through former quarries and mines nestled amid rocky peaks. Pass serene woodlands, pristine lakes and cascading waterfalls. Reach Snowdon, Snowdonia’s highest point, taking in sweeping views. Descend into quaint villages with pubs and tea rooms. With few fellow backpackers, you can find tranquility in Snowdonia’s majestic beauty. Cross bogs requiring sturdy boots and navigation skills.

4. The Beacons Ways

An aerial view of a mountain range bathed in golden sunrise light

Length: 99.5 mi / 160.1 km
Type: Point to point
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 22 513 ft / 6 862 m
Location: Bannau Brycheiniog National Park (Brecon Beacons)
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

Trek 99 miles through the breathtaking Brecon Beacons on this 5-day journey from Abergavenny to Llangadog. Ascend Pen y Fan, South Wales’ highest peak, for panoramic views. Pass cascading waterfalls and mystical lakes like Llyn y Fan Fach. Hike by the ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle, perched atop a cliff. Cross rolling fields and moorlands from May to September for tranquility. With navigation skills and proper gear, you can relish this self-sufficient adventure across diverse, often remote terrain.

5. Snowdon Ultra 50

A very gloomy, overcast sky with dark ominous clouds blanketing the landscape

Length: 46.3 mi / 74.5 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 11 998 ft / 3 657 m
Location: Eryri National Park (Snowdonia)
Estimated Hiking Calorie Burn: 7750 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This demanding 2-3 day, 46.3 mile loop in Snowdonia starts in Betws-y-Coed. Ascend peaks like Tryfan and Snowdon for panoramic views. Traverse unmarked trails through scenic lakes and falls. Few fellow hikers allow solitude. This expert trek with elevation gain highlights Snowdonia over varied terrain. Steep rock passages require navigation and climbing skills.

Annual Weather Averages

Wales experiences a temperate maritime climate, and the weather can vary throughout the year. Here’s a general overview:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is characterized by milder temperatures, ranging from around 40 to 60°F (4 to 15°C). The landscape starts to bloom with flowers, making it a scenic time for backpacking.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer temperatures typically range from 50 to 70°F (10 to 21°C). While this is considered the warmer season, rain showers are still common. Days are longer, providing more daylight for exploration.
  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn brings cooler temperatures, ranging from 40 to 60°F (4 to 15°C). The landscape features autumn colors, creating a picturesque setting for backpacking.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter temperatures in Wales range from 35 to 45°F (2 to 7°C). It is the wetter season, and snowfall can occur, especially in higher elevations.

Prior to making your gear selection, review the historical annual weather data for Wales:

High °F474750545963666663585248
Low °F393840434752555653494440
Rain/Snow (D*)1412111199101111141616
Note: This table is approximate; weather can change with altitude.
D* – Days of rain or snow.

Alternative Backpacking Destinations

Not sure if Wales is right for you?

Don’t forget to check out our backpacking guides for Ireland and England.


Can I have a campfire while backpacking in Wales?

When backpacking in Wales, building campfires requires planning. Fires are only allowed in fire pits at camping sites, and never on protected peatlands, heathlands or moorlands which can burn easily. Use only dead and downed wood from the ground. Contain the fire within stones if there is no provided grill, and fully douse it with water until cold before leaving. Be aware of local burn bans on hot, dry days too due to fire risk. With responsible firecraft skills and adhering to leave no trace principles, backpacks can still enjoy this classic activity safely.

What are some safety tips for backpacking in Wales?

When hiking or backpacking in Wales, prepare for rapid weather changes by packing waterproof, insulating layers and spare dry clothes. Carry a map, compass, GPS device, and fully charged phone to avoid getting lost. Tell someone your plans and check in regularly. Stick to marked trails and avoid dangerous terrain like steep, exposed ridges. Watch for loose rockfall and muddy, slippery trails. Sheep and cattle can become aggressive, so give them space. Know how to identify and avoid irritant plants like giant hogweed. Camp discreetly away from livestock and be mindful of wildlife.

How to deal with wildlife encounters while backpacking in Wales?

When hiking in Wales, you may encounter grazing sheep, cattle, and horses. Move slowly and give them ample space to avoid startling them. Keep dogs leashed and under control. Give nesting birds a wide berth. Stay alert for adders basking on trails and back away slowly if seen. Never attempt to touch or feed wildlife. Make noise while walking to prevent surprise encounters. If an animal shows aggression, retreat calmly.

Do U.S. citizens need a visa to visit Wales?

U.S. citizens do not need a visa to visit Wales as part of the United Kingdom for tourism or business purposes for up to six months. However, they must have a valid passport and may need to meet additional entry requirements depending on the purpose and duration of their stay.

How to prepare for backpacking in Wales?

Embark on an outdoor adventure in Wales’ majestic wilderness. Pack essential trekking gear like a sturdy backpack, quality tent, and warm sleeping bag. The variable countryside weather demands proper layered clothing and waterproof boots. Bring navigation tools like maps or GPS to traverse unmarked trails. Review the backpacking route’s terrain to anticipate challenging climbs. Prepare for self-sufficiency by packing enough food, water, and first aid supplies between villages. Though demanding, revel in the tranquility of Wales’ pristine backcountry with sweeping vistas and minimal crowds. Immerse yourself in nature and escape the modern world on a rejuvenating backpacking journey.

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