Easy Walks in Snowdonia – Rhaeadr Ewynnol – Swallow Falls from Betws y Coed

Location Map

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Post Code for Sat Nav: 

Parking: 

Limited parking at start of walk.

Public Transport:

The Snowdon Sherpa and the Conwy Valley railway line run through Betws-y-coed.

Weather Forecast:  Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

Route Summary:

An out and back walk to one of the must see waterfalls in Snowdonia.

Distance: 12.5 km

Ascent: 841 m

Time: 2 hours

Start and Finish: Betws-y-coed, car park near Cunninghams.

Facilities:

Plenty of cafes and hotels in the village as well as a convenience store.

Hazards:

The path described is wide and good, but there are alternative paths that avoid the section of road walking that provide excellent walking in places, but rather narrow and slippery in places. The initial section can also be under water in extreme weather, but can be avoided by taking the minor road instead.

Snowdon and Snowdonia Guidebooks:

Before You Walk up Snowdon, ask yourselfAre 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.

Easy Walks in Snowdonia – Rhaeadr Ewynnol – Swallow Falls from Betws y Coed Details

There are few, if any of Snowdonia’s waterfalls that are as famous or popular as Rhaeadr Ewynnol, or the Swallow Falls near Betws-y-coed. The name translates as ‘foaming waterfall’, with the english name thought to be a mis-translation of Rhaeadr y Wennol. The locals knew a good thing when they saw it and charged a fee for the thousands of visitors who wanted to view the Swallow Falls from the A5  which was the main connection between London and Holyhead, and on to Dublin. This allowed the village to charge low rates for years, with the benefit felt by the community until the local authorities weer restructured in 1974.

While you can view the falls from opposite the Swallow Falls Hotel, that’s hardly active now is it? This walk is varied enough to make it enjoyable, even as an out and back route. Those looking for a longer route can easily extend the route by continuing up into the Gwydr Forest which has an extensive and confusing network of tracks and footpaths.

Rhaeadr Ewynnol – Swallow Falls from Betws y Coed Route Map and GPX Download

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Rhaeadr Ewynnol – Swallow Falls from Betws y Coed Route Description

1 Starting the walk at the far end of Pont y Pair, next door to the Cunninghams outdoor store, the route is clear to follow. Head towards the Afon Llygwy and the good wide path along the bank. The initial section follows the way-marked Coed Tan Dinas track, with clear red arrows denoting the way. The first section continues through the woodland, with an area of boardwalk making the going fast and easy. (0.4km)

2 Beyond the woodland, the track enters open farmland along the river bank. There are some rather large warning signs here against letting dogs off the leash, which are distracting but it’s unfortunate that such obtrusive signage is deemed required. Continue along the riverside for another 0.6km until you re-enter the woodland.

3 Continue on a muddy path into the woodland, with the going a bit slower over all the tree roots. The path is now way-marked in blue as you join the Pen yr Allt Trail for a short distance. This now brings you up towards the famous Miner’s Bridge. Don’t cross the bridge, but instead head up the steep path to the right to join the minor road. This is the only really steep section of the entire walk. (0.4km)

4 Continue on the minor road for around 1km, ensuring you don’t get tempted by the numerous minor paths that venture off down left. While it’s possible to avoid much of the minor road, do so at your own risk as the path is narrow and slippery in places, especially towards the far end.

5 After 1km a wide track heads off left, take this track which soon becomes a good path. Keep your eyes peeled for a yellow way-marker as you now join the Swallow Falls Trail, which starts on a minor road near Llyn Sarnau. That makes a great alternative route, but the starting point is on narrow roads which might not suit all. The trail continues high above the Afon Llygwy, and with a sheer drop to your left. Fortunately, there’s a fence to keep you safe, but we wouldn’t trust it with your weight.

It’s not immediately apparent, as the trees block the view, but this final section is along a ledge half way up a cliff – so make sure you also look up!

6 Finally – you’ll arrive at a set of wooden steps which take you down to the viewing area and a seat. It’s worth taking some time to enjoy the view, considering the effort taken to reach here. On the opposite side of the river, the tourists from the A5 flock to see the falls, with your view guaranteed to be quieter.

Optional – you can continue onward for a 100m or so to a flat picnic area above the falls or even along the Swallow Falls Trail to return to the route a few 100m from the minor road which you walked on.

Otherwise – return the same way, or a longer option is given on Mud and Routes – Swallow Falls and Llyn Sarnau from Betws-y-coed.

Don’t Forget a Map and Guidebook:

 

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