Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 53.00218°N / 4.01499°W
Additional Information County: Gwynedd
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 2260 ft / 689 m
Sign the Climber's Log


"Cnicht or Cynicht (2,265 ft.), Moel Wyn (2,529 ft.) - Mr. J. H. Cliffe ascended the former on September 4, 1857, and declared that he could only hear of one man who had preceded him (the climbing clergyman)... Under certain aspects and conditions it is one of the most striking mountains in Wales, owing to its sharp, conical form, but it bears very little really good rock."

W.P. Haskett Smith - Climbing in the British Isles Volume II: Wales and Ireland (1895)

When one stands, as many do, in one of the many popular tourist centers along the mouth of the Glaslyn Valley, one mountain dominates the view. It does so, because from this angle it appears as a sharp pyramidal peak, apparently displaced from some more suitable surroundings such as the Alps and dropped awkwardly into Snowdonia’s arguably less dramatic Moelwyn range. The mountain is called Cnicht and its profile has earned it the grand epithet of The Matterhorn of Wales. It’s perhaps unfortunate therefore, that on closer inspection Cnicht doesn’t quite live up to the eponymous peak’s grandeur. At only 689 meters, it’s one of the area’s smaller mountains, and rather than having the sharp alpine summit it appears to promise, it actually takes the form of a more ordinary elongated, broad and grassy ridge. Furthermore, while short passages of easy scrambling can be found in places, and although there are decent crags nearby, its rock is too sparse and broken to offer anything in the from of a rock climb.

All is not lost however; Cnicht is a great objective for those wanting to walk in the Moelwynion and an excellent precursor to a more in-depth exploration of the range. When combined with an ascent of Moelwyn Mawr for example, it forms a superb horseshoe of Cwm Croesor. This part of the range is full of intriguing features, including abandoned mine workings and one of Wales’ only Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) breeding sites.

For those who are interested in such things, the mountain is unusual for Snowdonia in that it gets its name, not from Welsh, but from the old English word 'knight', the silent 'k' being pronounced at that time. Apparently, this is because Cnicht’s shape bears some similarity to a knight's helmet, which I’m assured, isn’t a euphemism in any way, shape or form.

Cnicht (Photo by mills)

Mountain Conditions

This section displays the mountain conditions for Snowdonia, of which Cnicht is a part. Click on the widget for maps and further information.

This Snowdonia weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget

When to Climb and Essential Gear

Cnicht can be climbed at anytime of the year, however in poor conditions the mountain may be best avoided. April to September offer the most reliable conditions and one will need all the equipment one usually carries for a day in the mountains, which in Wales means full waterproofs and sturdy boots as a minimum.

If you’re lucky enough to climb the mountain in winter conditions then an ice axe and crampons would be very useful.

Getting There

Cnicht is located in the southern Moelwynion, between the valleys of Nantmor and Gwynant in the west and Cwm Croesor in the east. The mountain can be approached from any of these valleys, but for most, the best start is from Cwm Croesor.

Cwm Croesor may only be reached from the south. If you’re coming from the east therefore, leave the A487 in Penrhyndeudraeth (SH 611 389) and take the A4085 north in the direction of Beddgelert (SH 590 481). Just after the village of Garreg (SH 612 416), there is a right hand turn (SH 614 420), which is signposted for the village of Croesor (SH 630 447). The village is reached after around 3km. Park in the small National Park run car park in the village.

Cnicht and the Southern end of the MoelwynsCnicht
(Photo by Bryan Benn)
Cnicht - The Welsh Matterhorn...Cnicht
(Photo by matterhorn mel)
Bryan BennCnicht
(Photo by Bryan Benn)

Red Tape and Access

No red tape and access issues here!

For climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) runs a Regional Access Database, which holds mountain/crag specific information on matters of conservation and access, including issues such as nesting restrictions, nature designations and preferred parking.

Regional Access Database

If you are in any doubt about any particular access arrangement, or need to report an incident, you should contact your local BMC Access Representative or the BMC Access Officers for Wales: Elfyn Jones.

Scrambling down from the...Cnicht
(Photo by Philip Stasiw)
Bryan BennCnicht
(Photo by Bryan Benn)
Cnicht,normal route up from...Cnicht
(Photo by Philip Stasiw)

Camping and Accommodation

There’s an almost unlimited supply of accommodation within the Snowdonia National Park so it would be inappropriate to list it all here. For budget accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Gwynedd


Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

Ordnance Survey 1:25k Explorer Series OL 17 Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa

Ordnance Survey1:25k Explorer Series OL 18 Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala/Y Bala

Ordnance Survey 1:50k Landranger Series 115 Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa

Harvey Map Services 1:25k: Snowdon

Harvey Map Services/BMC 1: 40k British Mountain Map: Snowdonia North

Road Maps

Ordnance Survey Travel Map 10 Wales/Cymru & West Midlands


Snowdonia (Official National Park Guide) Snowdonia (Official National Park Guide) by Merfyn Williams with contributions from Ian Mercer and Jeremy Moore

A handy book full of useful information and interesting facts about the National Park.
The Mountains of England and Wales: Vol 1 Wales The Mountains of England and Wales: Vol 1 Wales by John and Ann Nuttall

A classic book covering the Welsh ‘Nuttalls’, which obviously include the Moelwynion.
Hillwalking in Snowdonia Hillwalking in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton

A guidebook to nearly 70 hillwalking routes throughout Snowdonia, including the Moelwynion.
Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2 Hillwalking in Wales Vol 2 by Peter Hermon

The second of two guidebooks describing walking routes up every 2000-footer in Wales – covers the Moelwynion to the Tarrenydd.

External Links

Moelwyn RangeMoelwynion (Photo by daveyboy)
Cnicht from Moelwyn MawrCnicht (Photo by daveyboy)
CnichtCnicht (Photo by Bryan Benn)
Bryan BennCnicht (Photo by Bryan Benn)

Government Bodies and Official Organisations

Snowdonia National Park Authority

Council for National Parks

Association of National Park Authorities

Natural Resources Wales


Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales

Gwynedd Archaeological Trust

Snowdonia Society

The National Trust

Hiking, Climbing and Mountaineering Organisations and Companies

British Mountaineering Council

The Climbers’ Club


Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre

Hightreck Snowdonia


Mountain Weather Wales

Weather from the Met Office

BBC Weather

Tourist Information

Visit Wales

North Wales Tourism Partnership

Local Information from

Local Information from Snowdonia Wales Net

North Wales Index


Welsh Public Transport Information

UK Train Timetable


Youth Hostel Association in Wales

Pete's Eats

Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel

Maps and Guidebooks

Ordnance Survey

Harvey Map Services

Cicerone Guidebooks

Climbers’ Club Guidebooks


North Wales Bouldering

Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop

Wildlife and Conservation

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Natur Gwynedd

North Wales Wildlife Trust

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.