It’s that time of year when the evenings are getting longer and you’re not coming home from work in the dark. As much as I love winter and the way it transforms the landscape, summer brings with it a longer window in which to go exploring.

Work and a young family now mean that the days of heading out to the mountains on a whim have gone. However, summer evenings and some choice routes mean that mini-adventures can be had after work or once the kids have been sorted. One of my favourites is the Y Garn loop.

View from Y Garn down to Cwm Idwal and Tryfan

The route for Y Garn from carpark to summit takes around 90 mins and coming in at 4 miles in total, it’s a short but rewarding walk that’s perfect to tackle of an evening or when a full day out isn’t possible.

The walk begins at the Ogwen Visitor Centre and takes you up to Llyn Idwal.

While this loop can be tackled one of two ways, I always prefer the clockwise route as it avoids the loose scree climb but more-so provides one of my favourite descents in Snowdonia. At the lake, take a left and follow the path along its edge and the new bridge will take you over the stream.

Idwal Slabs in Cwm Idwal

Looking back at Pen yr Ole Wen over Cwm Idwal

The next section takes you up Devil’s Kitchen; a rocky and not always obvious route that requires some scrambling in places. Don’t be put off by the ominous name of this part as it’s a fairly straight-forward climb. Once at the top of Devil’s Kitchen, you’ll come to a stone wall with a stile with some incredible views back towards Pen yr Ole Wen and the Carneddau.

Looking back at Pen yr Ole Wen over Cwm Idwal

Continue over the stile and upwards until you reach a tarn called Llyn y Cwn. Follow the path around its right side and over on your right you’ll see two paths heading upwards to the summit of Y Garn.

Path to Llyn y Cwn

The more central path is the most direct while the one on the right takes you along the edge and up to the summit. The summit itself is a cairn shelter and is a perfect spot for tea and watching the last of the day’s sun creep over Tryfan and the Glyders before heading down.

View from summit of Y Garn with Fjallraven bag

View from y Garn to Anglesey

The descent is a straight forward but striking route that takes you down towards Cwm Idwal with views towards Anglesey and the Irish sea to the West.

Sunset on Y Garn, looking out to Anglesey

Sunset over Tryfan

Sunset over Tryfan

If you follow the path round the edge of the lake, you’ll come back to the path that leads you back down to the Visitor Centre.

Things of Note for Y Garn

Ability: Medium

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  – 2.5 to 3 hours is ample time to do the loop but factor in an extra hour if you’re going to stop for photos/eat at the summit cairn.

Access – Not buggy or wheelchair friendly. While not too difficult, the Devil’s Kitchen section may not be suitable for very young children. 

Dogs – It’s a route where I’ve seen lots of people take their dogs, but the rocky nature of Devil’s Kitchen may not make it suitable for all dogs. Owners are requested to keep dogs on a lead on low level ground as there are often goats, sheep and horses roaming in this area.


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