Cycling the Traws Eryri

Traws Eryri, A 200km off-road adventure across beautiful North Wales

By Lucy Allan

Discover the Traws Eryri, a 200km cycling route that crosses the majestic landscapes of North Wales. Sonder rider Lucy Allen recommends it as a great introduction into the world of multi-day bikepacking adventures.

I call it ‘fancy packing’ because we stayed in accommodation, but for someone like me who hasn’t done a lot of bike packing, this was a great way to be introduced into the world of multi-day adventures.

The Traws Eryri is 200km cycling route crosses the majestic landscapes of North Wales. As the route was designed with MTB’s in mind, I took my Sonder Evol, loaded up with a few days worth of kit. However, on reflection, a less-burlier MTB like the Broken Road or even a Camino would have been capable for the terrain, and probably better suited for long days in the saddle, but the extra suspension was a blessing when it came to those slightly rougher sections.

We split the trip into 50km sections, which was plenty for our 4-day trip. Some choose 3 days, but why rush when you can soak up the Welsh scenery. My Mum and 2 friends joined me for the trip, and in true bikepacking fashion, we took every opportunity to explore what surrounded the trail, with plenty of swimming, snack spot hunting and memory capturing.

Bike on the Traws Eryri

Day one began in Machynlleth, where I was slightly concerned that we were not going to go off-road much to begin with, but the further into Snowdonia you get, the more scenic and off-road the trip becomes.

We finished day one at the Royal Hotel in Barmouth. They were friendly bunch, and it was a fiver to securely store bikes in a garage space near the hotel. But as a back-up, It’s always worth packing an extra lock, because a lot of the bike stores are shared with other users and if you’re like me – my bike is my most precious possession!

Hotel: The Royal, King Edward St, Barmouth, LL42 1AB (£186 for 4 people/2 rooms). It is above a pub, so bring ear plugs on a weekend.

Side note: There is a beautiful beach for a swim at high tide.

Day 2 we had a lovely warm up along the cycle path before climbing into the hills. You pass through Coed Y Brenin mountain bike trails and it’s a good place to stop for a refreshment.

Just when we thought we had nearly finished day 2, our organiser Neil informed us that we had to go around the Llyn Trawwsfyndd reservoir. We thought he was joking, as we were not far from the finish, but it turned out the 10km of rolling bike paths made for a nice finish to the day.

Bunkhouse: The cross Foxes Bunkhouse, Trawsfynydd, LL41 4SE. (£90 for 4 people in a bunkroom)

Side note: Food at the bunkhouse was hearty and reasonably priced and garage was included.

Day 3 make sure to have a big breakfast, as there is a big road climb to begin.

However, this was the best day of the trip. You pass through so much varied terrain, via Antur Stiniog Bike Park, before weaving through the undulating fire tracks and dropping down into Betws y Coed, where we were staying for the night. It turned out that this was a popular one for others doing the route and it was great to meet new friends and share our experiences from the route so far. We had some lovely food and did what any bikepacker would do, pop into the local Alpkit store!

Hostel: Vegabond Bunkhouse, Craiglan Road, Betws-y-coed LL24 0AW (£120 for 4 people in a bunkroom)

Side note: The Vagabond Bunkhouse do fantastic home-made pizzas but I would recommend booking in advance. If you time it for a Sunday, Glan Aber Hotel and Bunkhouse does a great roast dinner and has access to a hot tub to relax those tired legs.

Group on the Traws Eryri

I started the fourth and final day thinking we had all the big hills behind us and sent a message to a friend to let them know. However, I was soon humbled by their short but impactful response of laughter and a “oh no you haven’t”. The day started off fairly easy going, with plenty of beautiful views to keep us distracted and a stop for refreshments at Ogwen Snack bar. Following the descent down into the Valley, we reached the coast, where was met by a monster of a climb (which happened to be the biggest on the route), taking us up and over into Conwy.

It was nice to enjoy the last evening in Conwy. Me and my mum walked 20 minutes for a swim at Morfa Beach, whilst the others enjoyed exploring the quaint town. It’s worth staying one more night to recuperate and celebrate if you can.

Neil kindly caught the bus back to the start to collect the car the next day, which took him about 3-4 hours to get there and a couple of hours to drive back. The train is probably quicker, but the bus takes the more scenic route.

A great route with some great people makes for a great adventure. I’m already excited for the next one and I’m sure it won’t be long till I’m back in Wales exploring more.

Here’s a link to the Traws Eryri route:

Traws Eryri: map and GPX file | Cycling UK

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