Llyn Idwal Loop, Wales UK

• 5-star hike
• 2.6 to 3 mile options
• Easy/Medium difficulty | Gain 440-800 ft (130-240m)
• Betws-y-coed, Wales UK | Snowdonia National Park
• Driving Directions: Trailhead

Above Llyn Idwal, looking across the valley.

Snowdonia National Park is one of the best and most popular hiking destinations in the United Kingdom, located in the country of Wales which you'll find on the West side of the British Isles mainland. Wales is well known for rugged coastlines and mountains, ancient castles and the thriving language of the Welsh nation.

On a recent trip we found it remarkable to happen upon the pristine glaciated mountains and valleys around Llyn Idwal, just a short thirty minute drive from exploring an ancient castle in the town of Conwy. We considered ourselves doubly lucky thanks to winning the weather lottery with blue skies and no rain in the forecast.

Located in the Cwm Idwal Nature Reserve inside Snowdonia National Park, Llyn Idwal is a lake that rests in a rocky bowl surrounded by unique geology. Unique enough to be the subject of many geology papers, including study by Charles Darwin who observed fossils of sea-life high in the mountains above.

Loop Trail, Larger Loop

Loop Trail 5★
2.6 mi, Loop, Easy, Gain 440 ft (130 m)
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

Larger Loop 5★
3.0 mi, Loop, Medium, Gain 800 ft (240 m)
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

This short hike begins with a stone flagged pavement that gently ascends for half a mile to reach the lake, before encircling it in its entirety. Those that are comfortable with a slightly rockier terrain and a little hill-climbing should choose the longer looping trail that offers a little more challenge, and some excellent views of this Welsh valley.

Some however may just prefer the mile long out-and-back to the lake alone. There's still plenty to admire from the shores of the lake, and the opportunity to take a dip in the cooling waters on a warm summer's day.

The trailhead for this hike is well appointed with small visitor center, toilets and even a snack bar. There's also the next door youth hostel association cottage for folk who want to spend some more time up here. A pay-and-display car park is available here, though check out the parking spots immediately outside the toilet block first as these were free parking when we visited.

Hardy paved stone flag trail all the way.

An excellent lakeside beach makes taking a dip more fun.

Hiking up the flanks of Glyder Fawr on the longer loop trail.

• Trail Links: National Trust, Geology, Public Map at AllTrails
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