Snowdonia / Wales

Cwm Idwal


It’s been tricky finding time to blog the last few months thanks to a trip to Australia, a first Christmas with the baby, and the said baby now being on the go all the time. So it was a bit of a relief to head to Wales after the new year for a quiet weekend with the family. We weren’t sure how much walking we’d get done, as it was our first trip together in wintery conditions. As the sun came out on Saturday afternoon we had time to walks up to Llyn Idwal, a glacial lake that is less than a mile from the car park but feels like it is right in the heart of the mountains. More impressive spots are hard to come by so close to home – there’s dramatic black slabs slithering up to the skyline ahead of you, the impressive pyramid of Pen Yr Ole Wen behind you, and beautiful views of the Ogwen valley. And yes, you can do it with a baby on your back. That said, even though it’s a short walk it’s still a mountain walk, so check the weather forecast is good, take proper warm and waterproof clothing for you and your child, monitor your baby’s temperature regularly and take care on the sometimes slippery path (I find walking poles a great help).

  • AREA: Ogwen valley, Snowdonia
  • DISTANCE: 3 miles
  • FACILITIES: Toilets and takeaway hot drinks at the Ogwen warden centre
  • PARKING: Pay and display at the Ogwen snack bar
  • GRADIENT: moderate
  • TERRAIN: steps and rough tracks (not for pushchairs!)
  • OS MAP: OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon

Llyn Idwal

Llyn Idwal and the Idwal Slabs in the background

Llyn Idwal with Pen Yr Ole Wen in the background

Llyn Idwal with Pen Yr Ole Wen in the background

mountain scenery

Mountain scenery just off the side of the walk

  1. From the car park, stay left of the snack bar and pass through the iron gate. Follow the obvious path uphill until you reach the lake.
  2. A smaller path loops around the lake – follow it in either direction, keeping an eye out for the boulders left by retreating glaciers, and the fenced off areas which are a long-running experiment in how grazing affects this landscape.
  3. Return via the same path. You can find a more thorough walk description here

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