Gwydir Forest Park - Llyn Crafnant, near Llanrwst

Walking trails around the lake and accessible riverside trail

What's here

Coronavirus update

 

Our sites and most visitor facilities are open but people are advised to avoid non-essential travel as much as possible.

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

Please remember to wear a mask when going inside one of our buildings.

 

You can check-in via the NHS app when entering one of our buildings – scan the QR-code on the NHS Covid-19 poster on site.

 

Welcome

Llyn Crafnant lies in a beautiful valley where the edge of the forest meets the lower slopes of the Carneddau mountains.

“Llyn” is Welsh for lake but Llyn Crafnant is actually a reservoir and it was once the water supply for the nearby town of Llanrwst.

Llyn Crafnant is three quarters of a mile long and the view from the head of the lake over the water to the mountains is one of the finest in North Wales.

Waymarked walks set off from the car park, one of which is an accessible trail, and you can also walk to the nearby lake of Llyn Geirionydd.

The Lakeside Café is privately run and is open from Easter until late summer.

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Afon Crafnant Amble

  • Grade: Accessible
  • Distance: ½ mile/0.6 kilometres
  • Climb: Level
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Trail information: This well surfaced 1.2 metre wide trail has an easy gradient and is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The four picnic benches are less than 100 metres apart – three of them are wheelchair friendly. There is also a 'fascinating tree facts' trail to follow.

Try this easy short trail, suitable for the whole family, winding its way through a variety of trees, from tall conifers to young birch and an open grassy area next to the bubbling river.

Take a seat at one of the well-placed picnic benches and listen and watch for wildlife.

Or find the ‘disappearing signs’ along the trail, which tell you some fascinating facts about the trees and wildlife that live in the area.

Llyn Crafnant Circuit

  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 3¼ miles/5 kilometres
  • Total climb: 94 metres
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Trail information: This circular route follows a mixture of wide tracks, tarmac and forest roads, with some rougher sections alongside the lake. Along the route there are three kissing gates and two gates.

Take in the view across the lake to the crags at the head of the Crafnant Valley and Cwm Glas Crafnant National Nature Reserve.

Follow the trail climbing gently up the valley; the view is framed by imposing crags and old slate mines.

The woodland on the steep cliffs above is a rare type of ash woodland.

There are no paths through the very steep reserve so it is best viewed from this walk.

Return to the car park by following the tarmac road.

Crafnant View

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles/4.8 kilometres
  • Total climb: 295 metres
  • Time: 1½-2½ hours
  • Trail information: The trail is on a combination of forest roads, tarmac road, and a steep narrow footpath, less than 80 centimetres wide, on an unmade and uneven surface, with mud, rocks and tree roots. There are two small fords to cross, a kissing gate and a barrier with a gap to the side. There is a bench at the viewpoint where you can get your breath back and admire the view.

Admire the panoramic view across the Crafnant Valley, with the Carneddau mountain range visible behind.

Climb steadily up a forest track to reach a log bench, and from here take in the view of Crimpiau and Craig Wen across the valley.

Continue until the waymarkers send you off on a narrow forest path.

You’ll feel a change in atmosphere as you step into the dense shade and silence of a spruce plantation.

Apart from the occasional squawk from a jay, the stillness is a pleasant contrast to the buzz around the lake on a busy day.

Crafnant to Geirionydd Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 5 miles/8 kilometres
  • Total climb: 300 metres
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Trail information: The trail is on a combination of forest roads, tarmac road, and a steep narrow footpath, less than 80 centimetres wide in some places, on an unmade and uneven surface, where you can expect mud, rocks and tree roots. There are two small fords to cross and a kissing gate just before you meet the council road. There are also two forest barriers you will need to walk around with a gap of around 70 centimetres at the side. There are picnic benches and toilets in both car parks, and a bench at the viewpoint above Crafnant.

This trail goes through the forest and takes in the two beautiful lakes of Geirionydd and Crafnant.

Accessibility information

Facilities for visitors with disabilities at Llyn Crafnant include:

  • parking for Blue Badge holders
  • Afon Crafnant Amble accessible trail
  • accessible toilets

Opening times

Please check the top of this page for any changes to these standard opening times.

The toilets are open at all times.

The lakeside café (which is privately run) is open from Easter until late summer.

Gwydir Forest Park

Llyn Crafnant is in Gwydir Forest Park.

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park and encircles the village of Betws-y-coed.

Lead and zinc mining once dominated the area and the legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.

Several of the most important mines have been partially restored and made safe for visitors.

Waymarked walks start from several Natural Resources Wales car parks in Gwydir Forest Park.

Two red graded mountain bike trails, Gwydir Mawr and Gwydir Bach, start from the car parks at Sawbench and Hafna.

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • We may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.
  • Please always follow any instructions on site and any temporary diversion signs. 

How to get here

Location

Llyn Crafnant is 4 miles west of Llanrwst. 

It is in the county of Conwy.

Ordnance Survey map

Llyn Crafnant is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 756 618.

Directions

Follow the B5106 from Llanrwst to Trefriw.

In Trefriw turn left onto a minor road opposite the pub.

Follow this narrow road for 2 miles until you reach the car park. 

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Llanrwst.

For details of public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website.

Parking

The Natural Resources Wales car park and toilets are located just before the road reaches the lake.

Car parking is free of charge.

Contact details

0300 065 3000

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk 

Related document downloads

Afon Crafnant Amble guide PDF [304.8 KB]
Crafnant View guide PDF [399.7 KB]

Other places in North West Wales

Explore more