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Canoeing and Kayaking In Snowdonia

Read our guide for Canoeing and Kayaking In Snowdonia and Find and Book experiences, courses, activities and tours! Browse through the list of experiences, either instantly book onto your dates or enquire to book. All you have to do is turn up and enjoy! If you’ve got any questions about any specific experience, send a message and the providers will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Have a specific experience in mind that we don’t have listed? No problem, drop us a message and we’ll send your quote around to hundreds of the best experience providers nationwide and come back with you the best quote, making it easy for you to make the most of your spare time!

Best Canoeing and Kayaking in Snowdonia

Paddling under Wales’ biggest Mountain, Mount Snowdon, offers a relaxing way to see stunning views, cliffs and old slate mines. You can rent kayaks in several lakes and rivers around Snowdon or in Snowdonia itself. For views of Mount Snowdon, you can rent kayaks near Llyn Gwynant (where Lara Croft and Tomb Raider II was filmed), or to see views of old slate mines and stunning cliffs Llyn Padarn is a good place to start. Perhaps the highlight for more experienced paddlers would be the Afon Tryweryn near Bala, which is home to the National White Water Centre and a fantastic stretch of white water controlled by dam releaseSnowdonia has over 200 miles of coastline and 35 beaches, so there’s a wealth of opportunities for sea kayaking in snowdonia too.

Canoeing and Kayaking in Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid)

Kayaking Bala Lake (Lyn Tegid), is an excellent way to spend time at Snowdonia National Park. Launching fees are payable to Snowdonia National Park Authority, but otherwise you’re free to roam on your kayak or canoe. With a beautiful backdrop of mountains and no large boats, due to it being a conservation area, it’s a great place to explore. And at 1100 acres, there’s enough to keep you busy with plenty of canoe and kayak routes.
Canoe and Kayak in Snowdonia, Bala Lake

Canoeing and Kayaking in Barmouth

Barmouth is a welsh town on a beautiful, wide sandy estuary. The RIver Mawddach is 28 miles long and runs past the Welsh town of Dolgellau into the Mawddach Estuary which has a stunning backdrop of mountains nearby. Whilst the River Mawddach has some pretty extreme white water kayaking opportunities, more relaxed sea kayaking can be done in the Mawddach Estuary which is a beautiful location.

Canoeing and Kayaking at the National White Water Centre, Bala

Not far from Bala, lying on the Afon Tryweryn, is the National White Water Centre, home to some great white water rafting, but also to an excellent stretch of white water river for paddlers, alongside some great courses for those wishing to up their skill levels. The water is controlled by dam release, so it provides a really measured and guaranteed flow. The river is largely in two sections, with the Upper River being about 2km of grade 3-4 rapids, and the Lower section an extensive 6km of grade 2-3 rapids.
Canoe and Kayaking in Snowdonia, Near Me

Safety Advice for Canoeing and Kayaking

A license is just one small part of the puzzle when it comes to working out where and when to paddle. See our list below on things to consider before going canoeing or kayaking:
  • Weather, flow, tides and visibility: Attention should be paid to the flow of the river by checking the environment agency website and others. A significant flow on the river can be caused by excessive rain, often hundreds of miles away, that over a number of days, pour into the river can cause significant currents. Whilst its often hard to see ‘flow’ just by looking at the river the National River Flow Archive can provide specific information on the flow to enable you to decide if it’s worth the outing. Often, it’s much nicer to paddle in calmer waters, rather than battling a surging river and having greater risk around meanders, bridges and other boat vessels, so this is something to consider. Likewise, wind, tide, weather and visibility should be taken into consideration when planning your canoeing or kayaking trip.
  • Conditions within your level of capability Always err on the side of caution when going out in your canoe or kayak and make sure you’re comfortable with the conditions of the water
  • Tell your friends: Let people know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Ideally go with a group of people so if someone falls in, you’ll have others to help or raise the alarm
  • Get training: Book in a canoeing or kayaking instructor course or experience days on Beyonk
  • Practice falling in drills: In calmer waters and with the supervision of an instructor, practice how to fall in and what to do when you do fall in, so you’re prepared on what to do
  • Consider wearing safety equipment such as buoyancy aids, which can be life-savers in many scenarios even if you’re a strong swimmer. The water temperature, flow or taking a knock to the head can all present risks that will make your swimming skills useless and a buoyancy aid life-saving
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions of your paddle. Don’t risk getting soaking wet and cold in the rain if you’re going out for prolonged periods
  • Be aware of waterway restrictions, from boating lanes, military operations and more, to avoid any dangers
  • Make sure to get stacked up on nutrition and water to maintain energy levels if you’re going for over an hour's paddle.
  • Take a communication device, mobile or radio in case of emergency and call 999 if needed.

Canoeing and Kayaking Hire Snowdonia

Where can I go canoeing or kayaking in Snowdonia?

Unfortunately there are all sorts of restrictions on where you can go canoeing or kayaking in Wales, as many bodies of water are owned by different organisations and there are more specific protections in place. It’s not quite as simple as just rocking up to your closest river and going for a paddle. There have been stories of authorities asking to see licenses and being able to fine those canoeing and kayaking without a license.
There are some places where licenses aren’t required, like paddling in the sea, estuaries or most tidal water (which can often travel quite far up many rivers). However, these are the areas that require skill and experience to go paddling. Nevertheless, estuary and sea kayaking can offer some of the most rewarding experiences with sightings of seals, a wealth of other animals and stunning coastal scenes.
Canals and inland rivers can be great places to kayak and canoe as waters can be easier to navigate and manage than tidal waters. However, for many inland rivers in the UK you’ll need to work out whether you are able to canoe or kayak there due to both private restrictions and licensing restrictions. In Wales, check out the Canoe Wales website for the rivers where you can canoe or kayak under their membership. If there are any questions, you’re best off sending them a message to see what license is required (if any) for your stretch of river. Restrictions also exist for where land is privately owned (e.g. beaches), where there are environmental protection schemes such as Nature reserves, where there are military bases or activity happening or where there are restrictions due to safety such as avoiding shipping lanes, waste disposal or dangerous wrecks.
Kayaking Near Snowdonia

Canoe and Kayak Clubs, Hire and Lessons in Snowdonia near me

Search through our map of hundreds of canoe and kayak clubs, places to hire equipment or find lessons. If you’re looking for something specific, drop us a message and we’ll find it for you.

Canoeing and Kayaking for Families and Kids in Snowdonia

Canoeing and Kayaking are great family friendly sports. Canoes are more of the stable and spacious choice that allow for gentle and calm paddling experiences. Kayaking also offers the option for two-seaters that are a great way to bond with a friend or family member. Sea Kayaks and Touring Kayaks are incredibly stable, like Canoes, so it's more difficult to fall in or get wet. When it comes to the types of water to look out for, calmer water makes for a more enjoyable experience with kids. Look out for local lakes or canals for safer and more tranquil paddling. The beauty of canoeing and kayaking are that they are 'sit down' sports. The level of fitness required for both - at entry level - is relatively low, so most people can get involved with the sport.

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