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Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed

By Dave Roberts   

on November 2, 2019    No ratings yet.

Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed

Further Details

Route Summary:

An easy, way marked trail from Betws-y-coed to Llyn Elsi.

Route Start Location: Start from behind St Mary's Church at Betws y Coed

6.7 km 307 m 2 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Easy Moderate Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


Pubs, Cafes and shops in Betws-y-coed


Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking :

Plenty around the village, but it can fill up quickly.

Public Transport:

Betws-y-coed is served by a railway station and bus services.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed

Betws-y-coed is one of the most popular villages in Snowdonia. While many may be there to wander the shops (despite being kitted up to the nines for an outdoor adventure) there are plenty of walking opportunities for those who are looking to get proper use from their outdoor gear. The walk up to Llyn Elsi is one of the more popular jaunts, and this walk is an alternative to the better known Jubilee Path.

It’s a fully way marked route, making it easy to follow from the Royal Oak Hotel or St Mary’s Church in Betws-y-coed. Those looking to extend the walk can try the Llyn Elsi and Betws-y-coed circular walk, which follows much the same route but adds a more adventurous walk up to Llyn Elsi (Which can be coupled with this walk as well – plenty of options!)

Llyn Elsi Trail Walk Full Route Description

1 Start the walk at the Royal Oak Hotel at Betws-y-coed and follow the lane uphill past St Mary’s Church. The start of the trail is clearly marked with a sign and waymark – Llyn Elsi Trail and white arrows. The sign note 5.9km, but it’s slightly longer at 6.7km. It’s still better than the previous sign, that noted the route was only around 4km in length!

2 Follow the good trail uphill, with the initial section climbing relentlessly for the first 10-20 minutes. On the plus side, most of the hard work is completed on this initial section, with the section around Llyn Elsi being much easier on the calves!

Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed

3 Following the waymarks, the forestry track continues on a gentler gradient. Keep an eye for these waymarks, especially as you reach Llyn Elsi after 2km where the Llyn Elsi trail takes a narrow path right from the forestry tracks.

Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed

Note that if you do continue around Llyn Elsi in a clockwise direction then you will not see the waymarks which will now be on the rear of the posts! Hardly rocket science, but be aware!

4 There’s an excellent path around Llyn Elsi. It’s well surfaced, and makes for some easy walking on a level path. After around 5 minutes / 300 metres you’ll arrive at the Llyn Elsi Ancaster Monument. This commemorates the damming of Llyn Elsi, which was previously two lakes – Llyn Rhisgog and Llyn Enoc – with a date of 1914. However, Llyn Elsi was clearly in existence in the previous decades as Ordnance Survey maps published in 1899 and 1889 clearly demonstrate. This discrepancy probably reflects the time taken to build the dams, with the plaque commemorating the opening of the waterworks and not the building of the dam, and the creation of the lake.

Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Llwybr Llyn Elsi Trail Walk from Betws-y-coed

5 The white way markers should now be followed to take you on a wonderful lakeside walk, hugging the shore for the first 800m. The trail passes the dam, before crossing a footbridge and down wooden steps to the shoreline. It’s then an easy walk as the trail follows the shore of Llyn Elsi, providing excellent views of the numerous little islets within. The lake itself Is only around 7m deep at most, and you can’t help imagine what these pinnacles would have looked like prior to the flooding.

6 The trail crosses a wet section on a boardwalk (this is the section of route that appears to cross a part of the lake on the map, before climbing up to join the forestry track where you turn left according to the waymarks.

7 This track soon narrows into a path, before joining onto another forestry track after 800m. Turn left here, with the track now following much further from the shore. However, there are sections that open out the views towards Llyn Elsi and Snowdonia.

8 Eventually, you’ll arrive back at the point you left this track at point 3 above. You’ll now just need to follow the forestry track back to the start of the walk (around 2.5km or 30-40 minutes).

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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