At Capel Curig, take the lane towards Joe Brown’s climbing shop and follow the broad track along the south side of the wide valley. Eventually, you reach the A5 which you cross to follow a National Trust footpath around the far side of Llyn Ogwen. Pen yr Ole Wen towers to your right and Tryfan to your left.
At the far end of Llyn Ogwen, cross the river to the food kiosk and toilets and follow the old stage coach road down the far side of Nant Ffrancon, taking the A5 bridge, with the old packhorse bridge beneath it, over the river. At the end of the road, carry straight on to Lon Las Ogwen cycleway. When you come to the bridge over the river before the caravan park, have a look at the parapets which are covered with ancient carvings of the quarrymen, along with some not so ancient.
Pass the derelict quarry hospital and the quarrymen’s institute, now residential, until a sign takes you to the right off the cycleway. Cross the road and follow the track, crossing the River Ogwen, into Bethesda, where you can get a bus back to Bangor to get your car or the train home.
Along the way
Llyn Ogwen is very shallow, with a maximum depth of only a little over 3 metres. Although Ogwen is a natural lake, a dam was built in the early 20th century to raise the level of the lake in order to provide water for the use of the nearby Penrhyn Quarry.
It is said that after the Battle of Camlann (King Arthur’s final battle), Sir Bedivere cast the sword Excalibur into Llyn Ogwen, where it was caught by the Lady of the Lake.
Tryfan is said to be Sir Bedivere’s final resting-place (See information for Llyn Ogwen). The summit is crowned with two large boulders, visible from the road – Adam and Eve. The challenge is to jump from one to the other, ignoring the precipice to one side.
Also visible is the Cannon, pointing out from the North Ridge.
Finally, if viewed sideways, the North Ridge, nearest Llyn Ogwen, suggests a profile of Queen Victoria.
Nant Ffrancon is a superb example of a glacial U-shaped valley. At its head the A5 crosses the river Ogwen. Take some time to look under this bridge at the old packhorse bridge beneath it.
Lôn Las Ogwen cycle path
This highly attractive cycle path takes you, in just 11 miles, from the coast, through varying scenery, and into the heart of one of Snowdonia’s most dramatic mountain landscapes. For more information visit
Visit Caffi Coed y Brenin for a snack and support this social enterprise. The café has been part of Agoriad who provide training and assistance with the employment needs of people with learning or mental health difficulties, and has a reputation for being a favourite for the residents of Bethesda, for friendly service and good food.