Although Americans tend to think of the Scottish Highlands when pondering British peaks, our friends across the pond have many more mountain ranges than we think. A paramount example is the towering pinnacles of Wales’ Snowdonia. Luckily, mountain bikers are actually allowed to bike the region’s highest peak, Snowdon, on one of the most unforgiving loops in Europe.
After riding through the town of Llanberis to the beginning of the Llanberis Path, the trail starts to wander its way through open meadows over very loose terrain filled will tire-eating boulders. Don’t be afraid to take breaks from the taxing climb because a wonderful view of the town below and the surrounding countryside will be on tap for the entirety of the adventure. Continuing up, the trail steadily becomes steeper and hiking-a-bike plays an increasingly heavy role in the trip. However, the rolling pasture becomes more dramatic, with craggy buds of rock reaching out of the grass.
The precarious summit mounted, riders will want to take a break to refuel; after all, the descent is nearly as taxing as the climb. On the start of the plunge down the Llanberis Path, a few relatively technical sections and a staircase will give riders a mere taste of what is to come.
Take a left at the pillar denoting the Ranger Path. The Ranger Path is one gnarly beast; riders will easily get unnerving speed while going through incredibly rough, unpredictable terrain. Nonetheless, that is just the beginning. Finding their way into the middle section, riders realize the stakes are raised even higher as rocks turn into boulders and grades pitch steeper. The trail, essentially a chute at that point, then wrings riders through its unrideable climax before subduing into a flatter track.
Once riders run into the first gate of the descent, they’ll notice a small valley in front of them. Unfortunately, they’ll have to cross the stream at the bottom and bust a lung climbing the other bank. The pain is well worth it though because on the other side lies a lively water-bar-staggered descent toward a faint trail going back to Llanberis. Riders should follow it to the right up another pasture-adorned climb and stay on the left side of the valley, where a descent filled with awkwardly-spaced water bars waits to be tamed. It might not be conducive to speed, but bikers can still make the most out of the descent by showing off their boosting skills.
Eventually, the trail becomes a road. Just take it down into Llanberis, where some high fives with the crew will be in order.