This loop is great for long hot summer days, stacking up the miles with breathtaking views of Snowdonia, without the effort of hitting summits.
Starting at Llyn Crafnant, the loop heads over the hills to Capel Curig and continues parallel to the A5 road towards the Ogwen Valley.
Crossing the road by Gallt Yr Ogof, we head up to the highest point in the trail of Llyn Cowlyd.
The final descent from Cowlyd back to Crafnant is through some of the most magical forests in Snowdonia National Park.
It’s also easy to add in various summits to extend this trail and increase the elevation without adding too many miles.
Distance 14.7 miles
Time 6 hours (walking)
Total Ascent 2,406ft
Summits none, but it’s easy to include Crimpiau, Creigiau Gleision, Pen Llithrig Y Wrach and Craiglwyn as short diversions.
Views Llyn Crafnant, Capel Curig valley to Snowdon, Ogwen valley (great views of Tryfan and Pen Yr Ole Wen), Llyn Cowlyd’s amazing valley.
4 minute overview video of the 4C Snowdonia Loop on a gloriously hot day in June 2019.
Crossing the A5 road looking at Tryfan and Pen Yr Ole Wen
Forest descent back to the start
1. We park at Llyn Crafnant’s well maintained public car park (toilets available here). The west side of the lake is the far prettier walk (and avoids the road). From the south tip of the lake we head up towards the gnarled summit of Crimpiau, the path carves a way through to the left of the mountain top.
2. The views of Snowdon itself get better and better as we head over to Capel Curig. Dropping down to Joe Brown Shop gives us a toilet stop just shy of halfway. From here we follow the main footpath down the side of the shop towards Ogwen Valley until we reach Gallt Yr Ogof (mountain on left before Tryfan). There’s a great spot here to sit off and have lunch with a boss view of Tryfan.
3. We cross the A5 road here and follow the footpath sign directly ahead, this leads up to the reservoir feeder stream – a man made structure that snakes around the fells all the way to Llyn Cowlyd. At this amazing viewpoint it’s a choice of summiting Pen Llithrig Y Wrach or following the lakeside path – both trails lead down a couple of miles to Cowlyd reservoir’s impressive dam.
4. There’s a short final uphill to cope with and then comes the jewel in the crown for this trail route – descending through some of the most incredible forest trails back to the west side path of Llyn Crafnant that we started on.