Walking in Snowdonia: Day one

Snowdonia, Gwynedd, Wales

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Look out for feral goats on the walk © Jim Elliott

Look out for feral goats on the walk

Carneddau, Snowdonia with Tryfan to the left © Joe Cornish

Carneddau, Snowdonia with Tryfan to the left

Llyn Idwal and the Devil's kitchen at Cwm Idwal © Dewi Davies

Llyn Idwal and the Devil's kitchen at Cwm Idwal

Route overview

Day one of a 21 mile two-day walk taking you across two dominant mountain ranges in Snowdonia's National Park: The Carneddau, named after the many cairns you'll find along the top, and the Glyder range, which gets its name from 'cludair', meaning 'a pile'. The whole area is steeped in history and you'll pass fractured remnants of Iron Age and Bronze Age settlements against a backdrop of dry-stone walls.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the first day of a two-day walk in Snowdonia
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Gwen Gof Uchaf car park, grid ref: SH673606

  1. From the car park, take the path to the left of the cottage, cross the stile, turn right, then left in front of the gate. Follow the path to the east of Tryfan bach (keep it and Tryfan on your right).

    Show/HideFeral goats

    Walking up the Tryfan valley, you're likely to see lots of feral goats, whose beautiful huge horns make them look like beasts dropped in from the Himalayans, though in fact they've been part of the Snowdon landscape for centuries.

    Look out for feral goats on the walk © Jim Elliott
  2. Follow this path for 2.5 miles (4km) to the valley head and take the path through scree diagonally up to the ridgeline, emerging near Lake Llyn Caseg fraith. Head west, following the cairns across the summits.

    Show/HideViews of Tryfan

    Emerging on the ridge close to the lake of Llyn Caseg fraith, then heading west, savour the views of Tryfan. Jagged peaks mark the landscape forged from volcanic rocks pushed up from an ancient, prehistoric seabed. They stick out of the land at odd angles like the masts of shipwrecks.

    Carneddau, Snowdonia with Tryfan to the left © Joe Cornish
  3. After Glyder Fawr ignore the first right and instead turn right downhill in front of the lake Llyn y Cwn, down the path known as Llwybyr y carw.

  4. As you walk down the path to the steeper section you see the Devil's kitchen (SH639589) through the cleft, dropping down to Llyn Idwal. Follow the edge of the lake down to the car park.

    Show/HideThe Devil's Kitchen

    As you reach the steeper section of the path known as Llwybyr y carw, which translates as the Deer footpath, the Devil's Kitchen, a large crack in the cliffs with dark wet ledges, becomes apparent. As you head past this deep cleft, views open up of Llyn (lake) Idwal and its cwm, which was designated as Wales first National Nature Reserve back in 1954. The rock faces of the Devil's Kitchen get their name from their blackened appearance, as if indeed smothered and charred by fire and soot.

    Llyn Idwal and the Devil's kitchen at Cwm Idwal © Dewi Davies

End: Idwal Cottage car park, grid ref: SH649604

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Hard
  • Distance: 6 miles (9.6km)
  • Time: 5 hours to 6 hours
  • OS Map: Outdoor Leisure17: Snowdon
  • Terrain:

    Some steep descents and ascents. You'll need to know how to use a compass in bad or mediocre weather and be able to map read. Cairns run along the route but can be confusing or hard to pick out in poor weather. Dress for all weathers as the the weather here can change in an instant; walking boots essential. Dogs welcome under close control. PLEASE NOTE: the map provided is intended as a rough guide, please take a map and compass with you.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: The Snowdon Sherpa shuttles around the base of Snowdon connecting all 6 main footpaths and the surrounding villages. See Gwynedd Council for details

    By train: nearest stations, Bangor and Betws y Coed. See Traveline Cymru for details

    By car: on A5 between Bangor and Betws y Coed. Car parks at both ends of the walk and lay-by at the start

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