Llyn Ogwen is a ribbon lake in north-west Wales with a rich history. Legend has it that this lake is the final resting place of Excalibur after Bedwyr Bedrynant, King Arthur’s knight, cast the sword into the lake where it remains today.
In addition to being dressed in amazing folklore, Llyn Ogwen is one of the most beautiful parts of Wales. It also offers excellent views of the Tryfan and Glyderau Mountains without the strenuous hike to the summit.
How to Get to the Lake
Getting to Llyn Ogwen is a short drive from Bangor. You travel on the A55, then turn onto the A5 heading to Bethesda. The road will take you down to Ogwen Lake. Make a right upon arrival into the car park located at the Ogwen Cottage Ranger base. You will pay a small fee for parking here which helps the national trust.
What To Do in Lake Ogwen
Most people who come to this area come to participate in the Llyn Ogwen circuit, which is known for its stunning views. But there are various other activities and places to see within the lake and the surrounding areas that are also worth your time.
Hikers can take on the challenging hike up Mount Tryfan, and if you’re in the mood for a more leisurely work, there is the Llyn Ogwen Circular walk, which we will get to shortly.
Picnic with Views
There are some stunning picnic sites alongside the lake where you can enjoy the views and take photos.
Choose from various routes to walk, hike, or scramble for the adventurous mind. The lake has a visitor centre if you need to grab a coffee or something to eat, but this provides snacks only. The restrooms are squeaky clean, and there are pubs and shops where you can get necessities.
Most of the Llyn Ogwen walk is considered easy and beginner-friendly. But the first section of the trail can be a little tough. The bottom of Pen yr Ole Wen is filled with large boulders that you have to clamber over. But this soon gives way to a much easier route.
In some parts, the ground can be uneven, wet and boggy. The descent is much better as the walk returns along the pavement of the main road making for a much easier decline on more stable ground.
The Llyn Ogwen Walk
The Lake Ogwen circuit walk begins at the Ogwen Cottage and Ranger Base:
From the cottage, cross the main road and turn left. Cross the bridge and then turn right over the wall gap, where you will find a stream.
Follow the river upstream to the lake. You have to clamber over the large boulders. This can be slightly challenging. It’s also easy to lose the path at this point. If you do, keep heading for the lake, and the path will become clearer as you proceed. You will also come across some occasional markers.
At this point, you will get to see the first feature of the walk – the Pont Pen-y-benglog, a Drover’s bridge which is under the modern road bridge. It’s also known as Hen Bont Pen y Benglong.
The path will lead you to the shores of the lake. Follow the lake show and the waymarkers for about 1.2 miles before climbing a slight hill and crossing the stile to continue with the ascent.
You will approach a farmhouse towards the end of the lake. Cross the stile, then turn left towards the footbridge, follow the path avoiding the farmyard, and then drop down to join the farm-track.
Follow the track away from the farmhouse until you reach the main road. Make a right turn and follow the pavement along the lakeshore back to Ogwen Cottage.
The circular trip is about 4.6km long and should take about two hours. But it could take longer because there’s so much to see once you get to the lake.
Places to Stay
Although you can complete the Llyn Ogwen walk in a few hours, there are many other scenic walks in the area like the Glyderau trio, the Tryfan by the North Ridge from Ogwen Valley, and the Snowdon and Y Lliwedd from Pen-y-pass, among others.
Since you can’t take the entire challenge in one day, you might need a place to stay. Lucky for you, there are quite a few:
- Glan y Gors, Llanberis – A spacious and comfortable large property near Llanberis. It has a private and enclosed terraced garden and can accommodate the disabled.
- Ty Newydd Bach – This delightful detached stone-built cottage was built in the 19th It offers quality accommodation. There are excellent cycling and walking trails nearby as well as mountains and beaches nearby.
- Y Bwthyn – This charming, detached shippon with excellent views of the North Wales coast and Snowdonia lies in Llanberis. It’s perfect for families and visitors on a romantic getaway.
Places to eat and pubs
The nearest place you can get something to eat is at the Ogwen Snack Bar, located at the western end of Llyn Ogwen. It only offers refreshments and snacks and is open every day most of the year. The snack bar has an outdoor sitting area with public toilets and a Snowdonia National Park warden office.
It has great views of the surrounding experience offering an excellent sit-in experience. Most of the other places where you can have a bite are not that close. But you can find hotels and restaurants in the Llanberis area.
The Bottom Line
The Llyn Ogwen walk is one of the shorter and moderate walks in the area. It’s perfect for beginner walkers, but also offers outstanding views for experienced mountain walkers who value scenic views and nature.
The short nature of the walk makes it an ideal family challenge, but it’s essential to keep in mind that you should have reliable weather forecast information and appropriate gear to help you plan the climb.
There are many other attractions around Llyn Ogwen, among them the Ogwen Waterfall, surrounding mountains, and multiple different exceptional views that make the hike to the top of the lake worth every bit.