The 50 Highest Mountains In Wales

Most people know the highest mountain in Wales is Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), but I’d bet most people don’t know what the second highest mountain in Wales is or even the third for that matter! In this guide I hope to rectify that situation.

Wales is a small, mountainous country on the British mainland which has the Cambrian Mountains running north to south along its length. Branching off this backbone are two mountainous areas, Snowdonia (Eryri) and the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog), which also serve as National Parks. The highest peaks in Wales are mostly found in these two national parks, with only a few notable exceptions.

Eryri (Snowdonia) is characterised by rugged rock formations, many of which are volcanic in origin whereas the Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons) are characterised by softer, flat-topped peaks and valleys carved by glaciers.

The highest mountain in North Wales is Mount Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa to use its official Welsh name and is found in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park. The Highest mountain in South Wales is Pen y Fan which is found in Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons) National Park.

The three highest mountains in Wales are Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), Garnedd Ugain (Crib y Ddigyl) and Carnedd Llewelyn. They are all located in Eryri National Park in North Wales.

Sunrise over Llyn y fan Fawr
The Brecon Beacons at sunrise

Classification of the Highest Mountains in Wales

Below is a list of the 50 tallest mountains in Wales. This list reflects the Nuttalls classification, where a mountain in England and Wales is defined as being over 2000ft (610m) in height, with a rise of 50ft (15m) from all its surroundings. There are a total of 190 Nuttalls in Wales.

This is different to a Hewitt which applies to peaks in England, Wales and Ireland. By this definition a mountain is defined as being over 200ft (610m) in height but with a rise of 98.4ft (30m).

The first 15 of these Welsh mountains (Hewitts) are collectively known as the Welsh 3000s. These are mountains in Wales with a height of 3000ft or more. There is a challenge where brave competitors aim to summit all 15 peaks in under 24 hours. The total journey is 50km with nearly 4000m of ascent!

Note: You may notice there are 16 mountains in this list with a height of 3000ft or more however, Castell Y Gwynt is classed only as a Nuttall rather than a Hewitt, so is not included in the Welsh 3000s and is excluded from most ‘top 10 highest’ lists.

As somebody who grew up surrounded by these Welsh mountains and who has hiked many of them, I wanted to share this little tid-bit of knowledge with you all. The largest mountains in Wales are certainly not that large when compared to peaks in the Himalayas or the Alps, but they are beautiful none the less and offer their own unique challenges and rewards.

I hope you enjoy discovering all about the highest mountains in Wales and manage to get out there to hike a fair few too 🙂

The Tallest Mountains In Wales 

Rank

Mountain

Height (metres)

Height (feet)

Mountain Range

Region

1Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)10853560Snowdon MassifSnowdonia
2Crib y Ddysgl (Garnedd Ugain)10653560Snowdon MassifSnowdonia
3Carnedd Llewelyn10643491CarneddauSnowdonia
4Carnedd Dafydd10443425CarneddauSnowdonia
5Glyder Fawr10013283GlyderauSnowdonia
6Glyder Fach9943262GlyderauSnowdonia
7Pen yr Ole Wen9783209CarneddauSnowdonia
8Foel Grach9763203CarneddauSnowdonia
9Castell y Gwynt9723189GlyderauSnowdonia
10Yr Elen9623156CarneddauSnowdonia
11Y Garn9473107GlyderauSnowdonia
12Foel-ffras9423091CarneddauSnowdonia
13Carnedd Gwenllian9363038CarneddauSnowdonia
14Elidir Fawr9243031GlyderauSnowdonia
15Crib Goch9233028Snowdon MassifSnowdonia
16Tryfan9183010GlyderauSnowdonia
17Aran Fawddwy9052969AransSnowdonia
18Y Lliwedd8982946Snowdon MassifSnowdonia
19Y Lliwedd east top8932930Snowdon MassifSnowdonia
20Cadair Idris8932930Cadair IdrisSnowdonia
21Pen y Fan8862907Brecon BeaconsBrecon Beacons
22Aran Benllyn8852907AransSnowdonia
23Corn Du8732864Brecon BeaconsBrecon Beacons
24Erw y Ddafa-ddu8722861AransSnowdonia
25Moel Siabod8722861MoelwynionsSnowdonia
26Mynydd Moel8632831Cadair IdrisSnowdonia
27Arenig Fawr8542802Arenigs 
28Llwytmor8492785CarneddauSnowdonia
29Pen yr Helgi Du8332733CarneddauSnowdonia
30Cadair Berwyn8322730BerwynsPowys
31Foel Goch8312726GlyderauSnowdonia
32Arenig Fawr South Top8302723ArenigsSnowdonia
33Cadair Berwyn North Top8272713BerwynsPowys
34Moel Sych8272713BerwynsPowys
35Craig Gwaun Taf (Duwynt)8262710Brecon BeaconsBrecon Beacons
36Carnedd y Filliast8212694GlyderauSnowdonia
37Lliwedd Bach8182684Snowdon MassifSnowdonia
38Mynydd Perfedd8122664GlyderauSnowdonia
39Cyfrwy8112661Cadair IdrisSnowdonia
40Waun Fach8112661Black MountainsBrecon Beacons
41Bera Bach8072648CarneddauSnowdonia
42Y Foel Goch8052641GlyderauSnowdonia
43Fan Brycheiniog8022631The Black MountainBrecon Beacons
44Foel Meirch8002625CarneddauSnowdonia
45Pen Llithrig y Wrach7992621CarneddauSnowdonia
46Cribyn7952608 Brecon Beacons
47Bera Mawr7942605CarneddauSnowdonia
48Craig Cwm Amarch7912595Cadair IdrisSnowdonia
49Cadair Bronwen7832570BerwynsPowys
50Moel Hebog7832570Hebog and Nantlle RidgeSnowdonia

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A Closer Look At The Top 10 Highest Mountains In Wales

1. Snowdon/ Yr Wyddfa, 1085m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Err-With-va
  • Meaning: Burial Mound (Often debated but this is the most likely)
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales

Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and England and sits within Snowdonia National Park. There are multiple hiking routes to the summit including steady climbs on well defined paths to challenging scrambles along knife edge ridges.

I describe the best walking routes of Yr Wydffa in this guide. Alternatively, in the Summer months visitors can take a train to the summit from the nearby town of Llanberis. 

2. Garnedd Ugain/Crib y Ddysgl, 1065m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Gar-neth Ee-gain
  • Meaning: Cairn of the Twenty, possibly named after a Roman legion based in Caernarfon.
2 of the highest peaks in Wales are found in the Snowdon Massif
Crib y Ddysgl on the right with Crib Gich in the centre and Snowdon on the left

The second highest mountain in Wales is Garnedd Ugain which was renamed Crib y Ddysgl meaning dish ridge. Crib y Ddysgl is a neighbouring peak to Yr Wyddfa and is often climbed in combination with Crib Goch, Yr Wyddfa and Y Lliwedd to form the Snowdon Horseshoe. This is an incredible mountain day involving grade 1 scrambles and knife edge ridge walks.

Learn more about how to pronounce Welsh words in this guide.

3. Carnedd Llywelyn, 1064m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Car-nedd Thlew-elen
  • Meaning: Llywelyn’s Cairn, likely named after Llywelyn ap Gruffudd who was the last Prince of Wales and great grandson of Llywelyn the Great.
Carnedd Llywelyn is the thrid highest mountain in Wales

Carnedd Llywelyn is the third highest mountain in Wales and the highest mountain in the Carneddau range. This range has the largest area of land over 3000ft in England and Wales and many of the highest peaks. Carnedd Llywelyn itself is a rather sprawly peak but offers fine 360 degree views. 

4. Carnedd Dafydd, 1044m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Car-neth Dav-ith
  • Meaning: David’s Cairn, David being the younger brother to Llywelyn.
A view from Carnedd Llewelyn looking across to Carnedd Dafydd and beyond

Carnedd Dafydd is the neighbour to bigger brother Llywelyn. As the two largest peaks in the range, Dafydd and Llywelyn are often combined in walks around the Carneddau. The ridge from Dafydd to Llywelyn is a fine section of high mountain walking, with great views on offer the whole way.

5. Glyder Fawr, 1000.8m

Glyder Fawr is the fifth tallest mountain in Wales

Glyder Fawr, meaning big pile of rocks, is the highest peak in the Glyderau range. Glyder Fawr was remeasured with GPS in 2010 and was nearly 2 meters higher than previously thought, meaning it joined the list of Wales’ “Super Mountains” (mountains over 1000m high). It is an intriguing mountain with other-worldly rock formations strewed across the summit.

There are many routes to the top of Glyder Fawr which is often climbed in combination with other peaks in the range, namely Glyder Fach. A common route to the summit of Glyder Fawr is via the ominously named Devil’s Kitchen. You can read more about hiking routes through the Devil’s Kitchen to Glyder Fawr in this guide.

6. Glyder Fach, 994m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Glid-er Var-ch with a soft ch as in loch
  • Meaning: Small pile of rocks
The Cantilever Stone on Glyder Fach is an iconic landmark in Snowdonia

Glyder Fach, meaning small pile of rocks, is a slightly smaller version of its adjoining peak Glyder Fawr. Although smaller, I would suggest this peak is even more interesting than Glyder Fawr, as it has the Cantilever Stone to play around on. For hiking routes to the top of Glyder Fach including some top grade scrambles, take a look at this guide.

7. Pen yr Ole Wen, 978m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Pen-er-Ol-e-When
  • Meaning: Head (top) of the White Slope
Pen yr Ole Wen is a popular mountain in Wales to hike

Pen yr Ole Wen, meaning Head of the White Slope, provides access to the rest of the Carneddau range from Ogwen Valley. A direct scree-climb to the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen is possible from Ogwen Boathouse, however there is a far more interesting route available from the eastern side. To learn more about hiking Pen yr Ole wen, take a look at this guide.

8. Foel Grach, 976m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Voil Grar-ch with a soft ch as in lock
  • Meaning: Scabby/Bare Hill

Foel Grach is another from the Carneddau range and the northerly neighbour to Carnedd Llywelyn. Translating to (the rather unglamorous) Scabby Hill, this broad, grassy peak tends to collect snow in the Winter months.

There is now a shelter (bothy) just off the summit if refuge is required. It’s certainly not 4* accommodation but it’ll certainly keep you out of the elements if needed.

9. Castell y Gwynt, 972m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Kas-tethl ur Goo-int
  • Meaning: Castle of the Wind

Located between the two peaks of Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach, Castell y Gwynt or Castle of Winds is an intriguing rock formation. Castell y Gwynt was remeasured in 2007 and upgraded to a Nuttall. Despite this new classification it has not been added to the Welsh 3000 list.

None the less, Castell y Gwynt offers a fun scramble for anyone wanting to bag the summit but can also be easily by-passed when passing between the two main Glyderau peaks.

10. Yr Elen, 962m

  • Map: OS Explorer OL17
  • Pronounced: Er Elen
  • Meaning: Elen is possibly short for Eleanor who was the wife of Llywelyn
Yr Elen is the 10th highest peak in Wales

Coming in at number 10 on this list of Welsh mountains is Yr Elen, which is another from the Carneddau range. Yr Elen is found just to the west of Carnedd Llywelyn to which it is connected by a ridge. Yr Elen tends to attract little attention from walkers since it stands as a spur away from the main ridge. Hikes to Yr Elen are often combined in loops with Llywelyn and Dafydd.

All of the top 10 highest peaks in Wales are located in Eryri National Park. For all the top things to do in Snowdonia, take a look at this guide.

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Louise

Louise is a Mountain Leader and Snowboard Instructor from South Wales. As a former Adventure Tour Leader she has spent the last 15 years travelling Asia, Africa and the Americas. Louise is a published photographer and is currently based in the UK.

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