Introducing the Traws Eryri

Launched in 2023 by Cycling UK and Natural Resources Wales, the Traws Eryri (Trans Snowdonia) is a 124-mile (200-kilometre) multi-terrain trail linking Machynlleth and Conwy. Designed with mountain bikes in mind, the new route makes use of forest fire roads, byways, bridleways, ancient drover’s tracks and some quieter roads to span the national park from south to north.

Forget the uplift or sessioning handbuilt singletrack, this is the sort of mountain biking adventure that’ll take around four days rather than four hours. For all the time you’ll spend winching up Eryri’s vertiginous hillsides, the ever-changing views and thrilling descents make the effort absolutely worth it.

The Traws Eryri links up established mountain biking trail centres along the way, including Coed y Brenin, Penmachno and Gwydir Forest, so you can stop off and session some singletrack if the mood takes you. You also pass through some charming towns and villages, so you’re never too far away from a welcoming cuppa and some revitalising Welsh cakes.

You can make what you will of the Traws Eryri, from a self-supported ride carrying all your own camping and cooking equipment to staying in hotels and guesthouses along the way, or even joining a guided trip with Mountain Bike Wales with all your overnight kit carried for you.

No matter how you choose to tackle the Traws Eryri, just like the nine mountain ranges of Eryri, you’re in for an adventure on a grand scale.

A female mountain biker on a mountainside gravel road, looking out over towards other mountains.
Mountain bikers riding on a rock slab trail in the hills.

Katherine Moore on the trails west of Coed Y Brenin trail centre, and a group of cyclists tackling Y Slab, near Dolgellau, North Wales

Ride the Traws Eryri your way

For experienced riders and committed campers, tackling the Traws Eryri on a self-supported trip is a challenge that many will relish. 

There are a number of great campsites along the way, such as Graig Wen, overlooking the Mawddach Estuary and perfectly placed for the end of the first stage.

Two people by tents on a grassy campsite.

Camping at Graig Wen campsite, Arthog, North Wales

Being such a well-loved adventure hub, Eryri also boasts an impressive number of bunkhouses and hostels, which makes for a fun and affordable way to spend a night out of the elements, wash your kit and enjoy the comfort of a proper mattress! 

There’s nothing stopping you opting for something a bit more upmarket either, with the luxury Plas Curig Hostel making for a great choice right on the route

A guided ride on the Traws Eryri

Not so familiar with the area, new to bikepacking or fancy some company on the trail? Joining a guided mountain bike ride with local experts is a great way to experience the Traws Eryri.

Phill and Polly of Mountain Bike Wales have been offering guided rides in Wales and across Europe for over 20 years, including the popular Trans Cambrian Way

Offering a full itinerary covering the Traws Eryri over four days with B&B accommodation, vehicle mechanical support, meals, kit transfer and a return transfer back to Machynlleth from the finish in Conwy, MTB Wales take the hassle out of logistics so all you have to do is keep turning the pedals and enjoy!

What’s more, as local riders, Phill and Polly have a few extra sections of singletrack up their sleeves for their guided riders.

Highlights of the Traws Eryri

A last minute trip to Wales in August 2023 to ride to the official launch of the Traws Eryri trail was very well received, and along with my pals Sam and Tudor, we disembarked the train from Shrewsbury to the start in Machynlleth, full of excited anticipation for the mountain tracks that lay ahead.

A good few months on, those high, rocky tracks are the first to spring to mind when I recall the Traws Eryri; the breathtaking panorama over the Mawddach Estuary and peaks beyond as you pedal over the rough summit of Ffordd Ddu; the challenging stepped Roman road track leading out of Coed y Brenin; and the atmospheric valley ride along the Snowdonia Slate Trail to Llyn Ogwen. The rugged purple and yellow moorland trails with views of the Irish Sea over Conwy Mountain felt like an entirely different country to just hours before, and in fact the landscapes as you cross the national park are wildly varied.

1 / 10
A group of mountain bikers on a narrow hillside path.
Quiet country pathways

After riding through Abergynolwyn, the Traws Eryri follows a hillside pathway, known locally as the Postman's Path, into the Dysynni Valley.

Near Abergynolwyn, North Wales

2 / 10
A group of mountain bikers on a straight, narrow road in a valley beneath a tall hill.
Quiet back roads

Heading towards Llanegryn through the Dysynni Valley, the Traws Eryri follows quiet, narrow roads beneath Craig-yr-Aderyn's pointed peak.

Craig-yr-Aderyn, Dysynni Valley, near Abergynolwyn, North Wales

3 / 10
Four cyclists riding mountain bikes riding a rough mountain top track, with views over an estuary.
Magical views from ancient trailways

Riding the Traws Eryri route above the Mawddach Estuary along the Ffordd Ddu, a mountain top old Drover's Road between Llanegryn and Dolgellau.

Above the Mawddach Estuary, North Wales

4 / 10
A group of mountain bikers resting by a mountainside lake.
Peaceful mountain lakes

Llynnau Cregennen is a great spot to take a breather. Take in views of Cader Idris, the Mawddach Estuary and see if you can spot rare flora. There are loos by the car park.

Llynnau Cregennen, North Wales

5 / 10
Aerial view of cyclists on an old railway line cycle path next to an estuary.
Follow old railway lines

Take a break from the hills along the flat Mawddach Trail, a footpath / cycleway built along the route of the disused Barmouth to Dolgellau railway line. 

The Mawddach Trail, Arthog, North Wales

6 / 10
A group of mountain bikers riding through large puddles, on a hillside gravel road.
Follow in the footsteps of the Romans

The Sarn Helen track is part of the ancient Roman road network across the west side of Wales. The Traws Eryri follows part of it north of Coed y Brenin.

Sarn Helen, near Coed y Brenin, North Wales  

7 / 10
Aerial view of mountain bikers on a narrow road in a wide valley, cycling towards big mountains.
Magnificent mountain ranges

The wonderful views on Traws Eryri route towards Capel Curig from Betws-y-Coed.

Views of Moel Siabod, Eryri, North Wales

8 / 10
Aerial view of cyclists riding along a narrow road towards a lake.
Industrial landscapes

Riding along part of the Snowdonia Slate Trail towards Llyn Ogwen. The Traws Eryri passes through several towns and villages which grew up around the slate industry of North Wales, now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Llyn Ogwen, North Wales

9 / 10
Two mountain bikers riding down a narrow road with views towards the coast.
The sea at last!

First glimpse of the north coast on the Traws Eryri route. The coastal views from here all the way to Conwy are stunning.

Views towards Abergwyngregyn, North Wales

10 / 10
A female mountain biker on a grassy mountain pathway amongst gorse and heather.

Katherine Moore making the final descent on the Traws Eryri route towards Conwy.

Conwy Mountain, North Wales

Secondary to the riding itself, but no less a part of the experience, memories of the wonderful places that we stayed along our four day crossing come to mind. Particularly Graig Wen, for the wonderful hospitality, serene rural camping and top notch coffee!

There were some fascinating places to explore along the route too, including the cottage at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan who had first translated the Bible into Welsh. Top marks to the caffi at Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre for their excellent breakfast butties, a highly appreciated top-up while traversing some of the more remote, lesser-known areas of Eryri.

The Traws Eryri not only showcases the spectacular riding across the national park, but has really opened my eyes to how much there is still to be explored beyond the well-ridden paths. It’s only a matter of time before I’ll be back for more!

Useful information

  • If you decide to attempt the Traws Eryri on a self-supported trip, please follow the safety advice from Adventure Smart to make sure you're properly prepared.
  • Travelling to Machynlleth by train, like Katherine and her friends did, is easy using the scenic Cambrian Line between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth. Train times and ticket prices are available from the Transport for Wales website. You may need to book a bike space in advance.
  • You can find places to stay along the Traws Eryri route using our accommodation search. We have several 'Cyclists Welcome' awarded places to stay, which means they have a drying place, a lock up, bike wash and a tool kit available. Really useful for a bikepacking adventure!

Read more about Katherine's adventures and expert bikepacking advice on her website KatherineBikes, or check out her Instagram @katherinebikes.

A group of cyclists on mountain bikes on a wide promenade, approaching a large castle.

Finishing Cycling UK's Traws Eryri route at Conwy Castle, North Wales

Related stories