Walk to Cwm Idwal

The Cwm Idwal walk is a wonderful and popular route. While its accessibility makes it an ideal walk for families or those who want to experience Snowdonia, the dramatic scenery, stepping stones and rivers still provide a sense of magic and adventure for those undertaking it.

The bridge which needs to be crossed to access the walk to Cwm Ideal in Snowdoniaone of the many peaks you pass during the walk up to the lake at Cwm Ideal

The Cwm Idwal Walk

The walk itself from the Cwm Idwal Visitors Centre up to Llyn Idwal lake takes about 20 minutes. The walk takes in the landscape of Cwm Idwal up to the shores of Llyn Idwal, the focus of the walk. The first 50 yards or so may seem steepand imposing but once you have got to the iconic oak bridge with Tryfan beyond, the walk from here is far less strenuous. The path is very clear and is man made from local stones and while unsuitable for buggies, it’s a fairly easy path for both children and adults alike.

the lake at Cwm Ideal at sunrise across Snowdonia reflections at Cwm Idwal on the lake during a walk

Once at the top, you will be greeted by the breathtaking view of the Glyders, Y Garn and the lake itself. For those wanting to do the circular route, I always favour going anti-clockwise and taking a right over the footbridge. 

A couple of hundred yards along this path is ashale beach that provides a perfect location for taking a break or a picnic. On a clear and calm day, the lake can be like glass and provides some amazing reflections of the Glyders and Tryfan.

The loop walk should take an hour or so at a leisurely pace. Again, it is a largely accessible route and one that is fine to bring buggies along for.

sunrise at Cwm Idwal

Things of Note

Ability: Easy

Facilities – The Visitor Centre provides a wide range of excellent facilities, including toilets, baby changing room and a shop selling warm food and drinks. The shop takes card and contactless payments which is handy as the nearest cash machine is some distance away. The carpark is fairly small and can fill up very quickly but those unable to find a space generally park on the wide pavements on the adjacent road.

Time  – A leisurely 2 hours if including a stop on the circular route but a walk straight up to the lake and back can be done in 40 minutes or so.

Access – Not buggy or wheelchair friendly but accessible enough for children and those using baby carriers.

Dogs – It’s an ideal route for dogs but owners are requested to keep them on a lead as there are often goats, sheep and horses roaming in this area.

toddler standing at the shore of Cwm Ideal after a short walk with family in Snowdoniamother and baby son looking across the shore of Cwm Ideal lake in Snowdonia photo

a photo of the marshes and mountains reflected in the water at Cwm Ideal in Snowdonia accessed via a short walk

Tip –

For those wanting to experience the sunset while here, the perfect spot is across the road from the Visitor Centre near the boating shed on the edges of Llyn Ogwen. Here you can sit on the wall with your feet in the lake and watch the sun light up the summit of Tryfan.

a photo of the boathouse and mountain overlooking llyn ogwen in snowdonia which is near the parking for cwm ideal in snowdonia and a great access point for several walks



  1. Aled Ellis
    05/04/2018 / 8:39 pm

    My fiancé and I, accompanied by our golden retriever Maisy followed this route today and were blown away by the scenery. The route was exactly as described and I would recommend the walk to anyone wanting to start exploring the area.

    I’ve been following your page for some time and have been inspired by your connection with the landscape. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. 06/04/2018 / 11:42 am

    I love this area for walking, I think it is my favourite place in Snowdonia. Breathtaking views on both the Ogwen and Idwal side and the scenery is magical as you say! Ogwen Cottage car park is such a good base.

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