View of Cader Idris from Penrhos Mountain


Woodland walk with mountain views

A relatively short but very enjoyable circular walk, the Penrhos Mountain Trail is ideal when you half half a day to explore the area. One of the excellent waymarked trails in Coed y Brenin Forest Park, it takes you along the river bank and through beautiful forest to the summit of Penhros Mountain. The route is described as strenuous in the Coed y Brenin literature but it isn’t particularly challenging. You can enjoy wonderful views across the valley to Cader Idris from the high point of the walk and there is something interesting around every corner.

This is a wonderful walk for dogs as there is no danger of encountering livestock and there are generally very few people about. The footpath is often grassy or covered in pine needles and so is comfortable under foot most of the way and there is much for dogs to explore as you enjoy the trail.

Beginning from the Ty’n y Groes Car park at Coed y Brenin, the walk is 4.5 km long and there several fabulous places to stop for a picnic.

Duration: 90 minutes or 2 hours with a break for lunch

Terrain: Woodland paths with a few steep sections

Penrhos Mountain Trail at Coed y Brenin Forest Park

Starting Out

The circular trail begins adjacent to the Ty’n y Groes car park and is clearly signposted. It’s easy to follow the green waymarkers all the way. After leaving the car park, you pass through a pleasant picnic area before walking along the bank of the River Mawddach and through the tallest trees in the park. The Douglas firs here are over 200 feet tall feet tall and lend a little drama to the walk. There’s a bench on which you can lie down to admire the tree tops, if you fancy a moment of contemplation before continuing along the river bank and then through the forest.

It isn’t long before the trail begins to climb upwards but it never becomes truly strenuous. You remain in the forest most of the way with interesting flora and fauna to discover but there are a few open areas towards the top from which you can admire the pretty valley below.

Penrhos Mountain Trail
Cader Idris from Penrhos Mountain

The summit

Shortly after you pass through a small clearing in the forest, you will reach the final approach to the high point of the walk. There’s a wooden bench at the summit on which to rest or to enjoy your lunch while you soak in the wonderful views. Step forward to the side of the mountain and to your right you can see Cader Idris rising up in the distance.

At the summit of Penrhos Mountain, you have completed a little less than half of the circular route. But it’s downhill all the way back to the car park and there is much to see. Continue on the trail through woodland following the waymarkers and you will eventually emerge onto a forest road. Walk along this for 100 metres and then join the pathway along the bank of the Mawddach and back through the imposing Douglas firs. If you have the time, it’s worth lingering by the river for a few minutes and if you have dogs with you, they can paddle in the water to cool off.

By the River

The Penrhos Mountain Trail enables you to enjoy a particularly attractive stretch of the Mawddach which periodically tumbles over large areas of rock and boulders. A waterfall cascades down the hillside opposite and the tall trees provide the perfect backdrop. The trail follows the riverbank until you approach the picnic area where you started your walk.

There are toilets next to the car park if you need them but there are no waste bins in the area which is slightly inconvenient. However, the car park is yards from the main road and relatively generous in size considering that this trail is rarely busy. This a walk which is more interesting than you think it is going to be and one which leaves you time to explore elsewhere in Coed y Brenin Forest Park on the same day.

Mawddach River at Coed y Brenin
Penrhos mountain trail


From the Woollen Mill, head for the A487 and travel south towards Porthmadog. After passing Porthmadog, you will drive under a metal bridge and then arrive at a roundabout. Turn left at the roundabout towards Penryhndeudraeth (A487). Keep on this road which becomes the A470. You will eventually pass the sign for the Coed Y Brenin visitor centre. Ignore this and continue to the village of Ganllwyd. Just after the village, you will see a signpost for the Ty’n y Groes car park. Turn left and follow the road to the parking area.