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Best Walks from Dyffryn Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia

By Dave Roberts   

on May 22, 2018    5/5 (1)

Best Walks from Dyffryn Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia

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Dyffryn Ogwen (Valley), or just Ogwen or Ogwen Cottage, is one of the best walking bases in the whole of Snowdonia, with the mighty Carneddau to one side and the rugged Glyderau to the other there are plenty of walks to choose from. The mountains of Tryfan, Glyder Fach and Fawr and Carneddau Dafydd and Llywelyn can all be climbed from Ogwen.

It’s not only mountaineers and scramblers that are well catered for. Those looking for a lower level walk with a spectacular backdrop can walk around Llyn Idwal, Llyn Ogwen or venture further up to Cwm Bochlwyd.

Dyffryn Ogwen (Valley) is locally known to refer to a much wider geographic area – with the area of Bethesda being included. The mountaineering community however, think of Ogwen as referring to the area around Ogwen Cottage and Llyn Ogwen, and is sometimes referred to as Oggy. We’ve gone for the mountaineering definition as that makes more sense for our readers, and also as we intend to write an article on the Best Walks from Bethesda pretty soon!

What’s In Ogwen and Cwm Idwal? Mountains, mountains and more mountains – with a few lakes and rivers thrown in for good measure. There’s a Youth Hostel as well as a NT Ranger base where you can find more information. There are also a couple of campsites further up the A5 towards Capel Curig – Gwern Gof Isaf and Gwern Gof Uchaf.

How Can I Get To Ogwen ? Either via the A5 that connects it directly to the Midlands, or the A55 along the North Wales Coast. There are railway stations in Bangor and Betws y Coed, with limited Snowdon Sherpa bus connections available. Parking at Ogwen itself is very limited, with the better option being the free laybys along the A5 between Ogwen and Glan Denau. Some park on the main road – but this is a trunk road, and those that do so are rightly ticketed.

What Pubs and eateries are there in Ogwen and Cwm Idwal? There’s a cafe with limited opening hours in Ogwen Cottage that’s only open school holidays and weekends – exactly the times you want to avoid this honeypot! Other than that, there’s absolutely nothing! This is otherwise the perfect mountaineering spot, but thirsty climbers will need to travel down to the Douglas in Bethesda or one of the many pubs in Capel Curig.

Here are the Best Walks from Ogwen Cottage

Cwm Idwal Walk

Height Gained – 130 metres ,  Distance –4 km, Time –2 hours

Starting with one of the easier walks, the walk to Llyn Idwal is a popular excursion for families and anyone looking for a stroll to a spectacular location. There’s only just over 100m of ascent to contend with, and an excellent path all the way. The route around Llyn Idwal is optional.

Cwm Bochlwyd

Height Gained – 260 metres ,  Distance – 3.5 km, Time –2 hours

If Cwm Idwal isn’t enough, then this short walk adds Cwm Bochlwyd onto the walk – with a bit more adventure thrown in. The descent rom Cwm Bochlwyd is on a steep path – so this is a harder proposition, but worth it for the views of Tryfan.

Tryfan Circuit

Height Gained – 500 metres ,  Distance – 7.6 km, Time –3 hours

Still not enough for you? This walk takes you on a tour of Cwm Idwal, around Tryfan and back along the shores of Llyn Idwal. It’s an ideal day out for those wanting a mountain day without the mountains or for when the conditions higher up aren’t ideal.

Tryfan North Ridge

Height Gained – 640 metres ,  Distance – 7 km, Time –5 hours

The classic approach to the mountain of Tryfan is to climb it by scrambling the North Ridge. This is a sustained scramble, and is a serious proposition in any season. Recommended only for the experienced scrambler.

Y Garn via the Devil’s Kitchen

Height Gained – 685 metres ,  Distance – 7 km, Time –4 hours

The mountain of Y Garn is usually overlooked in favour of the more famous summits that surround Ogwen. However, it’s one of the highest mountains in Wales and a fine hill walk. This walk is via the Devil’s Kitchen and down Garn’s NE Ridge.

Tryfan South Ridge

Height Gained – 1010 metres ,  Distance – 13 km, Time –6 hours

Tryfan can also be ascended via the ‘easier’ South Ridge. It’s still a scramble that commands respect, with the route finding being tricky in places as you traverse the intermittent paths and rocky sections. Were it not in the shadow of the superior Tryfan North Ridge, this route would probably be better regarded – rather than second best.

Tryfan Heather Terrace

Height Gained – 615 metres ,  Distance – 6 km, Time –5 hours

The Heather Terrace is more of an approach to Tryfan South Ridge than an ascent in it’s own right, but holds so much interest that it deserves its place as the second best route up Tryfan. Following a wide ledge along Tryfan’s East face, this is one of the best walks in Snowdonia – with a little bouldery scramble to top it off.

Garn, Glyderau and Tryfan from Ogwen.

Height Gained – 1200 metres ,  Distance –12 km, Time –7 hours

Tryfan, not surprisingly is featured in yet another route – this time taking in the whole skyline of Y Garn, Glyder Fawr and Fach on the way. Possibly the best full day for the hill walker in the Glyderau, though you could top this by reversing the route by starting on Tryfan via the North Ridge and following the route in reverse.

Glyder Fawr via Senior’s Ridge

Height Gained – 675 metres,  Distance – 3 km, Time –3 hours.

There’s a wealth of scrambling routes that can be started from Ogwen. While most will head for Tryfan, there are a couple of quieter grade 1 scrambles on the Glyderau. The first of these is the reasonably straightforeward Senior’s Ridge up Glyder Fawr.

Glyder Fach via the Gribin and False Gribin

Height Gained – 710 metres,  Distance – 3.5 km, Time –3 hours.

Yet another scrambling route is the spectacularly placed Gribin that ascends Glyder Fach from Cwm Bochwlyd. There’s a variation known as the False Gribin, which is actually the true continuation of the ridge into Bochlwyd! More often descended as part of the Bochlwyd Horseshoe – which is next.

Glyder Fach via Bristly Ridge and the Cwm Bochlwyd Horseshoe

Height Gained – 875 metres,  Distance – 6.5 km, Time –6-8 hours.  

If the scrambler had to choose one route, then this is the king of the Ogwen Valley scrambling routes. It boasts four named scrambles as it ascends Tryfan North Ridge before descending Tryfan South Ridge. It’s then over Bristly Ridge, across Glyder Fach (with an optional scramble over Castell y Gwynt) and down the Gribin to Bochlwyd.

In the Shadow of Tryfan – Eastern Ridges of the Glyderau

Height Gained –780 metres ,  Distance  -17 km, Time –6 hours

Foel Goch and Gallt yr Ogof are two summits to the far end of the Glyderau range that are so much quieter than the rest of the range. This route takes the quietest possible walk onto the Glyderau range and instead of climbing Glyder Fach, turns the other way to lesser trod hills. One for those seeking a bit of solitude.

High Carneddau From Llyn Ogwen

Height Gained – 900 metres ,  Distance  -16.5 km, Time –7 hours

There’s more to Ogwen than the Glyderau, as the Carneddau are just over the A5. This walk takes the superior Eastern ridge of Pen yr Ole Wen, rather than the steeper direct route from Ogwen. This walk takes in Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd and Llywelyn and could be extended to include Pen yr Helgi Du and Pen Llithrig y Wrach if you’ve still got some energy left in those legs.

Carneddau – Ogwen to Aber via Drum

Height Gained – 1500 metres ,  Distance – 22 km, Time –8 hours

Finally – the only linear walk in this list is the full traverse of the Carneddau from Ogwen to Aber. You’ll need to get started by public transport, or use two cars, but this is the best way to walk these hills. It’s also part of the Cambrian Way.

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Dave Roberts

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