Easy Walks in Snowdonia – Aber Falls – Rhaeadr Fawr
Rhaeadr Fawr, or Aber Falls, is one of the most popular destinations in Snowdonia.
Start and Finish: Aber Falls Car Park
Distance: 4.26 km
Ascent: 171 m
Time: 1 hour at a decent lick, but allow 2 hours to enjoy the walk, falls and exhibition.
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Before You Walk up Snowdon, ask yourself – Are you equipped? Do you know what you’re doing? Are the conditions safe? If you answer no to any of these, stay safe, don’t go! Check the weather forecast and make sure you know about walking up Snowdon in the Snow. If you lack experience – hire a Snowdon Mountain Guide.
Couple of cafes in the village, but Y Felin can be busy (too busy on the last few occasions) and the Aber Falls Tea Room in the village is good but ring up as that was closed for a privat function when we last visited during Easter 2019.
Plenty of buses to the village from Bangor or Conwy sides. This adds another 2 kilometers of country lane to the walk.
The waterfall is to be looked at, and venturing in is not recommended.
Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path, Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.
Easy Walks in Snowdonia – Aber Falls – Rhaeadr Fawr Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
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Easy Walks in Snowdonia – Aber Falls – Rhaeadr Fawr
The Aber Falls, or more correctly Rhaeadr-fawr, is one of the most popular waterfalls in Wales. While most of the poplar waterfalls such as the Swallow Falls can be viewed practically from the car, the Aber Falls require at least minimal effort to reach. It’s still under 5km of walking in total, with a bonus waterfall at Rhaeadr Bach that can also be visited on the same walk with minimal effort.
There are yellow way-marks, but beyond the initial gate we didn’t really notice any and you really shouldn’t’ need any. This is as close to a walk in the park you’ll find in Snowdonia, and the path is wide and suitable for pushchairs all the way to the Aber Falls.
The Aber Falls are best visited just after a period of heavy rainfall, or in those rare periods when they’re frozen solid. Avoid during bank holidays unless you want to stand looking at the back of someone’s head with the sound of running water in the background.
Of course – a photo doesn’t do it justice, so here’s a quick video that gives a better idea. In these conditions, you’ll need full waterproofs as the spray from the falls is the equivalent of torrential rain!
Easy Walks in Snowdonia – Aber Falls Route Description
1 – If you’ve parked at the Car Park at the road, follow the track into the car park, ot follow the yellow waymark on this side of the river for a rougher start that’s not push chair friendly. From the upper car park, descend the track both routes meet at the hut shown below. From this point the route is easy to follow as you just need to keep on the well built path all the way up to the Aber Falls. The gradient is easy all the way, which you can see from the sets of photos below that it’s difficult to tell which photos are on the uphill and downhill sections.
2 – After half an hour, depending on your pace, you’ll arrive a Aber Falls. It’s really that easy. You can view it from the path on this side of the river, but you can also cross the Afon Rhaeadr-fawr on the footbridge for an alternative viewpoint on the far side. On the footbridge, you’ll notice the oddity here of a way-mark for what appears to be the Wales Coast Path. You’ve not gone woefully off track, but they mark some circular walks from the coastal path.
The Aber Falls cascade for around 37 metres from the hanging valley of Cwm yr Afon Goch, a wild cwm frequented by few but the most dedicated hill walkers en route to climb Llwytmor or towards Bera Mawr. A far cry from the crowds that you can find at the base of the falls at peak times. You can make out the footpath that leads there across the scree slopes, but it seems to vanish onto a sheer face as it approaches the top of the falls into the cwm above. Note that the path isn’t worth climbing for those looking for a better view of the falls. The river starts off as Afon Goch above the falls, Afon Rhaeadr-fawr below the falls and then Afon Aber once it merges with the Afon Anafon near the start of the walk (see if you can spot the confluence on the walk).
2b Optional Extra – We suggest adding a ten minute diversion to the nearby Rhaeadr Bach, if only for some peace and quiet to eat your lunch. This is only around 400m from the main falls, and will add no more than 20 minutes out and back, or around 30 minutes with some viewing time. You can also continue along the footpath for a longer circular route that brings you back into Aber
3 Descend the same way. There’s very little to add over the description of the walk up!
4 If you’ve parked at the car park at the road at Bontnewydd, there’s a final optional riverside diversion. This is slightly rougher, and not suitable for prams, but a better finish to the route if suitable.
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Recommended Walking Guides: A Pocket Guide to Snowdon: A Guide to the Routes of Ascent, The Ascent of Snowdon: The Six Classic Routes Up Snowdon, Snowdon – The Story of a Welsh Mountain: Biography of a Mountain
Walking Books – Snowdonia Ridges of Snowdonia: The Best Ridge Walking, Mountain Walks: The Finest Mountain Walks in Snowdonia, Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia , Day Walks in Snowdonia, Mountain Walking in Snowdonia
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