For a low level stroll in Betws-y-Coed it has to be the Artist’s Walk…
From the Pont-Y-Pair Bridge follow the boardwalk along the river and through the trees until it terminates in a wooded dell. It’s a very pretty stroll suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs, and those unable to walk far.
From the end of the boardwalk you can pick up the track down to the river and walk through the meadows towards the Miners’ Bridge where you can cross over the river and return to the village alongside the A5 . It’s about a three mile walk & is uneven in places.
Task a more strenuous walk and hike up to Llyn Elsi
This idyllic mountain lake is hidden amidst the mixed fir and broadleaf woodlands of the Gwydyr Forest and lies high above Betws-y-Coed. Head for the crescent around St Mary’s Church and take the forestry track at the back following the black/white foot way markers which are sporadically placed along the route. The walk climbs steeply through the woods until you reach the lake. If you turn right at the water towards the Ancaster Memorial you are rewarded with wide ranging mountain views of Snowdonia.
The Dramatic Mountainous Scenery One
Beautiful ice-sculpted Cwm Idwal – a bowl-shaped hollow filled with the crystal clear waters of Llyn Idwal. The site is world famous for its rock formations and its rare and fragile plant life.
Head on up the A5 for approx 8 miles – you’ll see Ogwen Lake on your right and parking is just at the head of the lake to the left. Snowdonia National Park Visitor Centre building marks the beginning of the trail with steps to the left of the building which ascends steeply at times for approximately 56 yd (50m) through verges of heather, towards the mountain gate.
Continue through the gate and over the oak bridge. The bridge provides an excellent opportunity to photograph the peak of Y Garn, with Afon Idwal in the foreground. Follow the footpath to arrive at Llyn Idwal where you can choose a clockwise or anti-clockwise route around the nature reserve.
Our favourite is clockwise – as you set off along the eastern lake shore, look left, a few yards above the footpath. Here you’ll see a collection of large fractured rocks known as Darwin Idwal Boulders.
Further on and you’ll approach the famous Idwal Slabs, a training ground for many pioneering mountaineers including Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary and his Welsh team mate Charles Evans. An alternative high level route can be taken at the junction – whichever you chose make sure to gaze up towards the sheer cliffs at the head of the Cwm – known as The Devils Kitchen .
As the trail manoeuvres around rock and heather clad hummocks you’ll eventually wind down again towards the lake and onto it’s shingle shores. Follow the lake shore until you arrive at a gate in the wall this i share the circular ends and you’ll join the path back on down to the Visitor Centre.
The Challenging One
which mountain to chose – with 87 official mountains in the Snowdonia National Park and 15 of those over 3,000 feet choosing our favourite hasn’t been easy!
so we chose two – Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr!
The walk starts at Llyn Ogwen on the A5 by Idwal Cottage where parking is available in al the lay-bys or in the car park at the Visitor Centre. You then climb towards the pretty Llyn Bochlywd and then on to Bwlch Tryfan. Continue to the peak of Glyder Fach, the second highest of the Glyderau range and the sixth highest in Wales. There is a challenging section over the spectacular Bristly Ridge where some scrambling is required. It’s a stunning ridge with truly awe inspiring views over Nant Ffrancon and Cwm Idwal. At the summit of Glyder Fach you will find the precariously positioned Cantilever Stone.
The climb then continues to the high point of the Glyderau range at the 1000m high Glyder Fawr. Passing the magnificent Castell y Gwynt with its series of tall spiky rocks on the way (it’s featured in Disney’s film Dragonslayer) the views towards Snowdon on this section are quite astonishing.
The descent back passes by Llyn y Cwn and Llyn Idwal with wonderful views back over the Ogwen Valley.
For full details of this route from Mud and Routes Editor Dave Roberts – click on the link Glyderau