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Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri)

Wales' best-known slice of nature became the country's first national park in 1951. Every year more than 400,000 people walk, climb or take the train to the 1085m summit of Snowdon. Yet the park offers much more – its 823 sq miles embrace stunning coastline, forests, valleys, rivers, bird-filled estuaries and Wales' biggest natural lake.

Like Wales' other national parks, this one is lived in, with sizeable towns at Bala, Dolgellau, Harlech and Betws-y-Coed, and a population touching 26,000. Two-thirds of Snowdonia is privately owned, with more than three-quarters used for raising sheep and cattle.

The park is the only home to two endangered species, an alpine plant called the Snowdon lily and the rainbow-coloured Snowdon beetle. The gwyniad is a species of whitefish found only in Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), which incidentally also has probably the UK's only colony of glutinous snails.

The Welsh for Snowdonia is Eryri (eh-ruh-ree) – 'highlands'.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri).