First, Pen Yr Ole Wen’s south west ascent is a beast, monstrously good fun.

Second, the Ogwen Valley is best viewed in it’s entirety from from Pen Yr Ole Wen.

Third, descending to the east is trail running heaven.

Distance 4 miles

Time 1 hour (running – ignore the OS Maps link’s advised 35 mins, the ascent is tougher than that…)

Total Ascent 2,615ft

OS Maps click to open this route on the OS Maps website

Summits Pen Yr Ole Wen (978m)

Views Ogwen Valley, Tryfan, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, Snowdon Horseshoe, Llyn Boclwyd, Llyn Idwal, Llyn Ogwen, Cwm Lloer


Ascending Pen Yr Ole Wen


Cloudscapes from Pen Yr Ole Wen


Pen Yr Ole Wen Running Loop | thefrozendivide



Sunset on the summit of Pen Yr Ole Wen in the winter snow.

Pen Yr Ole Wen February 2019 | the frozen divide 5


Cloud inversion at sunset on the south east route up Pen Yr Ole Wen.

Pen Yr Ole Wen February 2019 | the frozen divide 1


Catching the morning sunrise looking down Ogwen Valley, Tryfan on the right on the image.

Pen Yr Ole Wen Featured Image | thefrozendivide


View of Llyn Idwal from Pen Yr Ole Wen, with the mountains, left to right, Y Gribin, Glyder Fawr and Y Garn.


Reflections in Llyn Ogwen from the base of Pen Yr Ole Wen.

Llyn Ogwen from Pen Yr Ole Wen side | The Frozen Divide



1. Parking to the Tryfan end of the Ogwen valley gives a nice comfy flat warm up for the legs around Llyn Ogwen, before heading over the stile by the old Roman bridge. There’s multiple choices of path going up, but we tend to keep the drop on our left, which gives great views, a few short scrambling sections, lots of big fun boulders and a couple of scree lines. We find keeping the drop to the left means we can safely navigate this route in any weather conditions.


2. More facts: the actual summit of Pen Yr Ole Wen is shit, just a crappy pile of stones in the middle of a football pitch sized flat area. Just off the summit is a tiny stone circle, that gives lovely views on clear days but is also a great shelter from the elements for a quick coffee break in tougher conditions. Wandering northwards brings incredible views down to the tiny lake Lloer, hidden in the cwm.


3. The descent down the east side is incredible fun. From the summit we keep the drop to lake Lloer on our left and follow the clear trail that snakes down quickly. The top section is wide open and a dream to stride out, enjoy the view and fill the lungs. Halfway down onwards becomes a mixture of boulders, short drops and more technical trail, all equally good fun. Once we meet the stream from Lloer it’s time to turn right down the valley.


4. On reaching the stile and stone wall overlooking Llyn Ogwen there’s a choice between heading off trail across the Pen Yr Ole Wen side of Llyn Ogwen or the faster path down to the main road. The link for the OS Map includes the latter.


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