Llyn Elsi, Betws Y Coed

Llyn Elsi is the most famous lake in Betws Y Coed. It’s an idyllic mountain lake hidden in the mixed forest and broadleaf woodlands of the Gwydyr Forest in the Snowdonia National park. The lake acts as a reservoir providing the village below with water.

Most of the people who come to Llyn Elsi come here to see magnificent views and take part in the river loop, an 11km walk filled with great views and scenery.

The lake itself is more than 700 ft above sea level and has a small island. In 1914, there was a dam built in the area, but the lake is only 9 metres deep. Before building the dam, the lack was two smaller lakes called Llyn Enoc and Llyn Rhisgog.

Features Around the Lake

Although the lake might be small, there’s no shortage of artefacts and nature to see. Among them is a memorial at the northern end of the lake that commemorates Lord Ancaster permitting the building of the dam and use of the lake as a water supply.

Those taking a walk around the lack are in for a treat with views of some excellent streams in the forest, views over the river, and a large wooden bridge known as the Miners Bridge that recalls the occupation of the many locals who took part in lead mining when it was the main economic activity on the plateau in the 19th century. During your walk, you will also come across the stone cottages and the stone farmhouse as well.


Llyn Elsi doesn’t offer a lot of amenities. It has a car park at St Mary’s Church Car Park. There is also another parking spot near Cunninghams next to the bridge, which is probably the most convenient. The footpaths around the walking trails are good throughout, even in the forest area.

In case you feel hungry, there are plenty of hotels and cafes around the village, and there is also a convenience store in case you want to stock up on supplies.

The Snowdon Sherpa and the Conwy Valley railway line offer public transport to those that don’t have private means of getting to the lake.

Hiking the Lake

Most visitors coming here take part in the walk, which is one of the highlights of coming to Betws-y-Coed. The lake is barely an hour’s walk from the village, and you can reach it through the trail from near the back of the Rotal Oak hotel. You can extend the route by going around the lake in entirely by following the white waymarkers.

If you’re trying to avoid muddy routes, take the Jubilee path.

The Circular Full Walk

An ascent to the top of the lake is about six kilometres. If you’re up to the challenge, you can go for the circular route.

You can start at the bus stop between Pentre Du and the Shops towards Capel Curig. Take the path between the walls and follow it down the steep concrete steps where it later gives up to a proper footpath through the forest. From there, you can cross the forestry track and follow the footpath arrow to start your steady climb.

You can also try the path at the second forestry track and turn left to find the Jubilee path. Some hikers also prefer to begin the walk at the old stone bridge, crossing the river and taking the first road on the immediate left after the bridge.

Although most patches of the path are in good condition and ideal for beginners, there are some rough goings where the trees cover the path. It’s essential to be careful and ensure you have the right gear to complete your hike.

Features and Amenities Nearby

One of the reasons why Llyn Elsi is popular is because it is surrounded by civilisation and activities. There are numerous routes nearby among the the llwybr Clogyn y Gigfran Trail Walk, the Betws y Coed Bridges Walk and the Snowdonia Walk from Betws y Coed. All these walks are less than a kilometre from Llyn Elsi. You can try to complete as many of them as possible.

In case you get caught up in the forest and need a place to rest your head, there’s the Royal Oak Hotel, which is less than a kilometre away, the Dol Gam Campsite and B&b, Bryn Ffynnon, among other facilities that offer accommodation.

You can grab a drink at the Royal Oak Hotel, or the Cynllwyd Café – Llyn Crafnant, and there are other businesses in the vicinity, which makes this location convenient for visitors.

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