Cwm Bychan


Wonderful mountain walk with amazing views

With dramatic landscapes, incredible views and an exciting variety of terrain, this hike offers plenty to please. The trail isn’t particularly arduous and so you won’t find it to be too challenging, even if you’re not fit as a flea! Taking you from the striking Aberglaslyn Gorge to the summit of Cwm Bychan, the route winds its way past woodland, rocky outcrops, open meadows, pretty streams and waterfalls.

You can continue down into the valley, past the stunning Llyn Dinas to the village of Beddgelert, if you have plenty of time time. From the village, it is possible to return to your start point via the Aberglaslyn Gorge.  Alternatively, Cwm Bychan can be reached from Llyn Dinas. The trail from the lake is steeper but shorter than the walk outlined here. Whether you have three hours or all day to explore the area, you will love Cwm Bychan!

Duration: 3 hours from the car park to the summit and back. 5 hours returning via Beddgelert and the Aberglasyn Gorge.

Terrain: Woodland paths, rocky paths and grassland with some steep sections

Dogs at Cwm Bychan

Starting Out

The walk begins in the National Trust car park at Nantmor, close to the Aberglaslyn Gorge. From the car park, walk through the gate adjacent to the toilets and turn right towards the railway arch. Continue on through the picnic area and head up the path to the woodland beyond. After a short walk through the trees, you join a rocky path alongside the stream. Follow this until you reach a pretty waterfall on the right. A little further up the path there is a gate in the wall and the footpath continues beyond this, past open heath and interesting rock formations.

Small streams cross the path and the rocky surface can be a little slippery when wet. There are occasions on which the path follows the route carved by the stream and you might find that you have to step in or over the water. Just beyond the gate in the wall, it is necessary to cross a stream via three large rocks and care should be taken here as the surfaces of the rocks are uneven and could be slippery. Don’t forget to turn around occasionally as you ascend to admire the wonderful views! You can see all the way to the coast!

Stone arch at Aberglaslyn
Cwn Bychan copper mine

The Copper Mine

You will eventually arrive at an open area where you will see the remains of an aerial ropeway which served the Cwm Bychan copper mine. Copper ore used to be extracted here and transported via a cable car system down the valley and then by horse and cart to Porthmadog. From there it was shipped all the way to Swansea for refining into copper. The area has been mined since the 17th century. Mining ceased in the 19th century but was revived for a short period in the 1920s when the ropeway was built.

Continue upwards past the ropeway to the highest point of the walk. this involves tackling a steep section of terrain, with water running down through the rocks. You will eventually reach a fence with a ladder type style in the centre. Climb over this and then admire the spectacular views of Snowdonia. If you are walking with dogs, there’s gap under the fence to the right of the style which smaller dogs can squeeze through. Larger dogs will have to scale the ladder or be carried over.

The High Point

The high point of the walk affords striking views over Snowdonia and down to Llyn Dinas far below. This is a wonderful place to stop for a snack and a cuppa if the weather permits. But you now have a decision to make! If time is your side, you can continue down the mountain to the lake (Llyn Dinas) and then past the Sygun Copper Mine and on to Beddgelert. From the village, you are able to return to the car park at Nantmor via the Aberglaslyn Gorge. If you are challenged for time or daylight in the winter months, turn around and return to the car park the way you came up.

It takes roughly 90 minutes to reach the high point of the walk if you are ambling along and stopping to admire the views.  You probably won’t want to rush as there is so much to see and enjoy along the way!

Cwm bychan
cwm bychan


From the Woollen Mill, Drive to Penygroes and then turn right at the COOP store. Turn right at the next T Junction and then right again at the next T Junction. Follow this road past Nantlle and up into the mountains. You will eventually arrive at the Village of Rhyd DDu where you should turn right towards Beddgelert. When you arrive in Beddgelert, drive over the bridge and follow the road until you arrive at the Aberglaslyn Pass. Follow the river until you come to a bridge, turn left over the bridge and the car park is a further 500 metres on the left. It is a small car car park which can fill up on busy days and the charge is £4 for the day.