The Nant Ffrancon Trail Run – Capel Curig to Bangor
|26.81 km||473 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.
Public Transport: Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable):
Check out our Best Mountain Weather Forecast?
The Nant Ffrancon Trail Run – Capel Curig to Bangor Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
The Nant Ffrancon Trail Run – Capel Curig to Bangor Details
You can go out and do some short trail runs, we’ve plenty of those on the site, but if you’re serious about your trail running then how about a 27km epic through the most spectacular scenery in Snowdonia? It’s also ‘mainly’ downhill, though still packs around 500m ascent according to my mapping software. I think that’s an overestimate, but there’s definitely some climb! If you want to make it tougher, then run it in reverse. This is equally good as a non-technical mountain bike route, or as a walk from the city into the mountains.
1 – I started the run from Plas y Brenin Mountain Centre, which is itself one of the most iconic Snowdonian viewpoints for the vista across Llynnau Mymbyr towards the Snowdon Horseshoe. The old coach road starts off a couple of 100m down the road towards Pen y Gwryd and you’re immediately on good trail.
2 – This is the original London to Holyhead coach road which precedes Telford’s A5 on the opposite side of the valley and is a nice wide track for the entire section to Glan Denau. You can’t help but be distracted by the impending view of Tryfan and the Carneddau, so keep an eye on those feet as well.
3 – At Glan Denau (at around the 7km mark) you cross the main A5 road, which can be busy, and past Glan Denau towards the farm of Tal y Llyn Ogwen where you need to take care with the signposting as you’ll end up half way up the Carneddau if you’re not careful. The fact I was going uphill was enough for me to realise that I was going the wrong way, and the path keeps quite close to the farm.
4 – The section along the lake is rough, boggy and can be indistinct. This is the perfect excuse to take in the surroundings. You may be running, but that’s no excuse not to stop and drink in the view for a minute. You’ll need to pause in order to find your way around anyway. There’s an old bunker at the end of this section, a relic from the Second World War.
5 – Once you near the outdoor hub of Ogwen, the path becomes bouldery and involves some down scrambling in places, before emerging on the A5 once more. Turn left on the road, but take care as idiots park on the pavements here which forced me onto the busy A5 (not impressed!)
6 – There’s a café and toilets at Ogwen these days, but I was still a bit too peeved from having to dodge traffic to stop, and made do with a banana while still running. I also knew this was a much easier section now, with a quiet lane, followed by cycle track, all the way down the valley.
7 – The views now are of the less popular, but no less spectacular, northern end of the Glyderau. The cymoedd to the North East of Foel-goch, Mynydd Perfedd and Carnedd y Filiast as impressive as any other, and certainly much quieter. There is also, of course, the impressive view back towards Ogwen with the backdrop of the Glyderau.
8 – After 4.5km on this lane, you’ll reach a cycle track through the quarry tips. A bit less impressive than the previous views, but by this stage you’ll probably be more concerned about finishing the run. This cycletrack continues along the Ogwen, past Bethesda and so long as you keep an eye out for the signposts for Route 5, you’ll end up at the slate works below complete with tracks.
9 – The cycle track is signposted right out of the slateworks, and joins a quiet B road for around 1.5km. There’s no pavement for a good section either, but it isn’t too busy. You could alternatively follow some of the paths over Sling and into Tregarth, but I wasn’t in any state to think at this stage and the unthinking tarmac was almost welcome.
10 – The B Road turns into the village of Tregarth after 1.5km, but you need to continue straight ahead down the minor road for 0.5km, before the cycle path is signposted to your left. You’re now on the Lon Las Ogwen proper and the old branch line tunnel can be clearly seen from this point. After less than 1km you reach some playing fields and you need to leave the path for one short section, following the road right before taking the Lon Las Ogwen for the final time to your left.
11 – Much in the vein of any disused railway, this is now a pleasure to follow all the way into Bangor. However, I’d bitten off a bit more than I could handle and only made it as far as the A55, before turning back to the footbridge over the A4244. Although it turned out that to have completed the route would only have entailed another 2.5km, but having not hydrated as well as I could have, It’s always wisest to stop especially when you’ve got such an awesome 24km run as this under your belt!