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Y Garn (Route 2) from Ogwen Cottage

Snowdonia/Eryri Walk

Nat Park - Snowdonia - Glyders Tryfan

County/Area - Gwynedd

Author - Peter Smyly

Length - 4.5 miles / 7.3 km    Ascent - 2110 feet / 639 metres

Time - 4 hours 20 minutes    Grade - mod/hard

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Y Garn (Route 2) from Ogwen Cottage
Click image to visit gallery of 3 images.

At 3,107 feet, Y Garn (The Cairn) is one of the Welsh peaks over three thousand feet, but this is a circular route which can be completed in half a day if need be (about five hours). If staying for a few days in Snowdonia (Eryri), it may therefore be considered a suitable walk for a last day before departing later in the afternoon, though the walk could also be combined with some of the other Glyderau summits if more time is available. There is a steep, well constructed path leading up from Llyn Idwal, but the route offers no real difficulties for anybody used to walking in mountains and therefore having the necessary stamina.

The Snowdonia (Eryri) walk starts at Idwal Cottage at the head of Llyn Ogwen. There is a youth hostel here with the mountains of Snowdonia on its doorstep. A well-constructed stone path leads, in less than a mile, to Llyn Idwal, a lake with the rock cleft known as the Devil's Kitchen at the far end. The Idwal Slabs, a well-known rock climbing spot, is passed by the route at the far end of the lake, on the left as seen from the outflow. It is quite possible that by this point, you will have seen people walking up this way with their rock climbing equipment and this may be a chance to see such activity at first hand. The first time I ever saw Llyn Idwal, the tops were covered in cloud after heavy rainfall, resulting in several swollen waterfalls coming down the mountainside above the lake as if coming from the clouds themselves.

At the outflow, follow the path ahead to the left of the lake and heading directly towards the Idwal Slabs. Having passed the lake, the path then goes to the right as it gains altitude, crosses a downward stream and continues on the other side before starting the upward climb to the left. The path doesn't go to the Devil's Kitchen itself, a massive cleft in the hillside, but follows a course to the left, of it emerging on to a relatively level area of ground where the small lake Llyn Y Cwn is situated. At this point, it's a case of onwards and upwards (to the right) though this is a bit of a dull slog to the top of Y Garn. Be prepared though for a dramatic view down to the right looking down on the two small lakes of Llyn Clyd - that is provided that the view is not blotted out by cloud as it was on the occasion of my visit in September 2005.

The downwards route can be followed by picking out a narrow path that leads gently at first down the shoulder to the right that overlooks Llyn Clyd to the east, but soon becomes much steeper and requires careful footwork as height is lost fairly rapidly. The route should present no difficulties from a route finding point of view as it follows the ridge down and rejoins Llyn Idwal near the outflow. To complete the walk, follow the path back down to Idwal Cottage.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2650 Tryfan, the Glyders & Y Garnvery hard8.0 miles
Walk 2820 Carneddau traverse from Llyn Ogwenmod/hard14.0 miles
Walk 1150 The High Carneddau from Ogwen Valleyhard10.0 miles
Walk 1215 Tryfan & Llyn Ogwen from Ogwen Valleymod/hard5.5 miles
Walk 3001 Tryfan North Ridge from Ogwen Valleyhard3.5 miles
Walk 3026 Tryfan & the Eastern Tops from Ogwen Valleyhard5.8 miles
Walk 1232 Carnedd Llewelyn, Llyn Eigiau & Llyn Cowlydhard16.0 miles
Walk 2855 Gallt yr Ogof & Braich y Ddeugwmmoderate4.0 miles
Walk 3056 Pen yr Helgi Du from Ogwen Valleymoderate5.5 miles
Walk 1074 The Glyders Traversevery hard12.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Snowdonia: 30 Low-level and easy walks - South

Snowdonia: 30 Low-level and easy walks - SouthGuidebook describing 30 walks in Snowdonia, Wales. Routes are mostly low level and on clear paths and showcase the region's beautiful scenery and rich history and culture. Part of a 2-volume set, this southern volume includes Trawsfynydd, Bala, Dolgellau, Machynlleth, the Harlech Coast and the valleys of the Mawddach and Dyfi.
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Snowdonia: 30 Low-level and easy walks - North

Snowdonia: 30 Low-level and easy walks - NorthGuidebook describing 30 walks in Snowdonia, Wales. Routes are mostly low level and on clear paths and showcase the region's beautiful scenery and rich history and culture. Part of a 2-volume set, this northern volume includes the Snowdon area, the Ogwen and Conwy Valleys, Betws-y-Coed, Beddgelert, Ffestiniog and the coast.
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