Pony Path to Cadair Idris
Start: Ty Nant
End: Ty Nant
Distance: 3.1 miles (5km)
Time: 1.5 hours (one way)
Surface: Forest Trails / Open Fields
Cadaver Idris (2,927 feet/892 m) is located at the southern end of Snowdonia National Park and is the second most popular mountain in Wales after Snowdon, despite only being Wales’s seventeenth highest mountain. But despite failing to attain the 3,000-foot (914-m) mark, which seems to be a kind of barometer among Welsh mountains when it comes to grandeur, the views from its ridge are no less impressive, especially when looking down upon the crater-like lake of Llyn y Gadair and across to the Mawddach Estuary. But before you can do that, you have to get up there, and that’s where the much-trodden Pony Path comes in.
The Pony Path to Cadair Idris begins at the end of the footpath near the parking lot at Ty Nant and continues through a forest of birch, sycamore, and ash. Turn right when you reach a small grove of chestnut trees, and soon you’re climbing steadily up a grassy hillside. The trees fall away all except for dwarf like, twisted hawthorns, and the views begin to open up, Markers help you on your way past frost-shattered rocks, and in no time you’re on top of cliffs looking over Llyn y Gadair. Then comes a view of Goat Lake, and minutes later you’re on the summit.
Being in Wales means Cadair ldris is not without its myths and legends. If you fall asleep on the summit, it is said you’ll wake up as either a poet or a madman, and the lakes surrounding it are supposed to be bottomless. lt has also been called Arthur’s Seat, a reference to King Arthur, though this is the result of a mistranslation. But as anyone who has climbed up the Pony Path will tell you, there’s a lot more to the Pony Path to Cadair Idris than meets the eye.