Most people flock to the Mt Snowdon area to reach its summit, but just a stone’s throw from the foothill of the mountain lies Lon Gwyrfai. With quiet pathways, panoramic views and abandoned mining quarters waiting to be discovered, Lon Gwyrfai valley offers an excellent alternative to the Disneyland-esque queues going up Mt Snowdon.
The path starts opposite the Snowdonia National Park car park area, with a particularly grand entrance via an ornate gateway onto the open path…
With the peak of Mynydd Drws-y-Coed in the backdrop, the path circles around Llyn y Gader – with sheep pottering about the fields and wildflowers scattered everywhere, it is the picture of pastoral Wales.
In fact, keep an eye on the sheep, they manage to get themselves bent out of shape and into all sorts of predicaments….
Before long, the path is passing through streams and woodlands, leading you through various remnants of slate mining from years long ago. The area was once known as Gadair-wyllt Quarry, and was operational in the late 1800s until the early 1900s. Many of the buildings remain today and with few visitors, it is easy to feel like an intrepid explorer discovering these for the first time!
What makes Lon Gwyrfai a particular good option for easy summer strolling is its adaptability. The paths are well marked and signposted so it is easy to walk south towards Beddgelert Forest, or come full circle to Rhyd Ddu and enjoy a celebratory drink at the Cwellyn Arms pub, like yours truly.
For more info and instructions, check out this route card here.