logo Walking Britain

Snowdonia Walk
Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda

Nat Park - Snowdonia - Western Carneddau

County/Area - Gwynedd

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km

Ascent - 3680 feet / 1115 metres

Time - 8 hours 10 minutes

Grade - hard

Start - OS grid reference SH637660
Lat 53.173603 // Long -4.040688
Postcode LL57 3UB (approx. location only)
what3words start smiling.hinders.stitching

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda Photo from the walk - Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda Photo from the walk - Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda Photo from the walk - Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda Photo from the walk - Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda Photo from the walk - Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This round in the northern Carneddau includes some sections where good navigational skills are required as there is no obvious path. Apart from the section along the main Carneddau ridge, you will see few other walkers.

Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda Yr Elen & Carnedd Dafydd from Gerlan, Bethesda 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The start is a small lay-by (Grid ref. SH637660) at the end of the lane running south-east from the village of Gerlan, which is located to the east above Bethesda. Should this space be full then further limited parking can be found further back towards Gerlan adding about a mile to the distance. After parking cross the bridge over the Afon Lafar to take the signed right of way heading past the water works and along its southern bank towards the Carneddau.

You climb steadily with the view ahead, including the northern flanks of the Carneddau, with Yr Elen clearly in view. You reach 'open country' (Grid ref. SH648654) where you continue on the path with the Afon Lafar to your left. Continue on the clear valley path with the dramatic crags of Ysgolion Duon rising ahead. Reaching a confluence of streams (Approx. grid ref. SH664640), find a suitable place to cross and continue east over rough terrain to reach the base of the western slopes of Yr Elen. Turn north and climb steadily across the face. Do not head straight up instead aim to reach the northwest ridge of Yr Elen just east of Foel Ganol (Grid ref. SH670654). From here turn south east up the ridge towards the summit cairn choosing the easiest line through crags, grass and rocks.

With the hard work over, leave Yr Elen on the clear path to Carnedd Llewelyn. This route omits the latter peak (which adds about 500 feet of ascent and half a mile to the route as described.) Once across the connecting col bear right, and contour across the slope to join the main path descending from Carnedd Llewelyn. Turning south continue on the main ridge path to Carnedd Dafydd with the crags of Ysgolion Duon dropping away to your right.

Leave the summit of Carnedd Dafydd in a northwesterly direction to join a narrow but well defined path that descends along a line of crags that drop east towards the Afon Lafar below and to your right. The path is mostly over grass and the going good. You soon join the outward route (Grid ref. SH651652) which is retraced back to the start.

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL17Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL17Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 115Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 115Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

GPS files - right click or option-click the button and choose "Save As..." to download this file.


Recommended Books & eBooks

The Wales Coast Path

The Wales Coast PathA single guidebook to walking the whole Wales Coast Path - 1400km (870 miles) the length of Wales from Chester to Chepstow, including Anglesey, described in 57 stages. The route passes through the Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire National Parks and many AONBs and can be linked with the Offa's Dyke Path for a complete circuit of Wales.
More information

The Ceredigion and Snowdonia Coast Paths

The Ceredigion and Snowdonia Coast PathsA walking guidebook to the Cleveland Way and Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trails, plus the Tabular Hills Walk. Crossing the North York Moors National Park, coastal scenery and quiet countryside, the three routes can be joined to create an easy circular route of over 250 miles (400km). Includes a 1:25,000 scale OS map booklet of the Cleveland Way.
More information

The National Trails

The National TrailsThis inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

CBD For Walking & Hiking

Discover the benefits of CBD for walkers and hikers. More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.