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From the thunderous cascades of Aber Falls to the serene beauty of Swallow Falls, Snowdonia National Park is a haven for waterfall enthusiasts. This guide aims to take you on a journey through some of the most beautiful spots in Snowdonia, where you can marvel at the natural spectacle of water tumbling down rocky outcrops and deep valleys. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or visiting for the first time, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to experience the best Snowdonia waterfalls.
Why Visit Snowdonia for Waterfalls
Snowdonia National Park, located in the heart of North Wales, is a treasure trove of natural beauty. It’s not just the mountain ranges or the summit of Snowdon that attract visitors; it’s also the wondrous waterfalls scattered across the park. Each waterfall is a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered, and each offers a unique experience, whether it’s a short walk to a small waterfall or a more challenging hike to a spectacular waterfall like Pistyll Rhaeadr.
The park is a great place for both young children and seasoned hikers, offering a range of hiking trails that lead to these waterfalls. The trails often pass through thick forests, lush greenery, and along the river bank, making the journey as captivating as the destination. And let’s not forget the perfect picnic areas near many of these waterfalls, where you can relax and soak in the natural beauty around you.
Snowdonia is also a haven for photographers and nature lovers. The waterfalls are set against a backdrop of steep cliffs, igneous rock formations, and deep valleys, offering endless opportunities for capturing the perfect shot. Whether you’re interested in the geology of the area, the flora and fauna, or simply the awe-inspiring views, Snowdonia has something for everyone.
What to Take
Before you set off on your Snowdonia waterfall adventure, it’s essential to be well-prepared. Here’s a quick checklist of items you should consider bringing along:
- Hiking Boots: A good pair of hiking boots is crucial for navigating the rocky paths and stone steps that you’ll encounter.
- Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is key, especially during the summer months. Bring a refillable water bottle to keep your thirst at bay.
- Camera: You’ll want to capture the majestic waterfalls and the natural beauty surrounding them. A camera or a smartphone with a good camera is a must.
- Snacks: Whether it’s a series of smaller waterfalls or a single-drop waterfall that you’re visiting, having some snacks like energy bars or fruit can keep you energised.
- Map or GPS: While Google Maps can be handy for first-time visitors, a physical map or GPS device is advisable for areas with poor mobile reception.
Optional but Recommended
- Picnic Supplies: Many waterfalls have nearby picnic areas. Bring along some sandwiches, a cup of tea, or other refreshments to enjoy.
- Swimwear: Some waterfalls, like Nantcol and Llanberis, are popular spots for wild swimmers. If you’re up for a dip, don’t forget your swimwear.
- Rain Gear: The weather in Snowdonia can be unpredictable. A lightweight raincoat can come in handy if you’re caught in heavy rain.
- First Aid Kit: It’s always better to be safe than sorry. A basic first aid kit with plasters, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers is a good idea.
By packing wisely, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy your waterfall walks to the fullest, capturing the most beautiful spots and perhaps even discovering a new favourite waterfall along the way.
Snowdonia Waterfalls Map
The Best Snowdonia Waterfalls
Aber Falls (Rhaeadr Fawr)
Location and How to Get There
Aber Falls, also known as Rhaeadr Fawr in Welsh, is located near the village of Abergwyngregyn, just a stone’s throw from the northern bank of the River Conwy. The waterfall is easily accessible from the Aber Falls car park, which serves as the starting point for your short walk to this natural wonder.
Use postcode LL33 0LP for this car park
The walk to Aber Falls is relatively easy, making it suitable for families and hikers of all levels. The trail is well-marked and takes you through lush greenery and along the river bank. It’s a perfect place for a leisurely stroll, and the whole of Snowdonia serves as your backdrop.
Aber Falls is a single-drop waterfall that plunges from the foothills of the Carneddau mountains. The sight of the mighty Aber Falls cascading down is truly awe-inspiring, especially after heavy rain when the waterfall is at its most powerful.
While you’re in the area, consider exploring the village of Abergwyngregyn, which offers its own set of natural beauty and historical sites.
Swallow Falls is situated near the town of Betws-y-Coed, along the Afon Llugwy River. The waterfall is easily accessible, and small car parks are available nearby, as well as parking along the A5.
Swallow Falls Trail
The trail to Swallow Falls is a bit more rugged, offering a series of waterfalls and crystal-clear pools. The Swallow Falls trail is well-marked and offers various viewpoints to capture the perfect photo.
Swallow Falls is unique for its series of waterfalls that cascade down in a stepped manner. The falls are set against a backdrop of thick forest and steep cliffs, making it one of the most beautiful spots in Snowdonia.
Betws-y-Coed is a charming town worth exploring, with its own set of natural attractions, including the beautiful Gwydir Forest Park. It’s also a great little town to walk around if you’re in the market for some new outdoor gear as there are plenty of outdoor shops to check out on a rainy day.
Afon Cwm Llan Waterfalls
Afon Cwm Llan Waterfalls are located near the village of Beddgelert in Gwynedd, Wales. The waterfalls are most often seen on the way to the summit of Snowdon via the Watkin Path. The dedicated parking area for this walk is on the A498, after passing Llyn Dinas lake. The parking area’s grid reference is SH 6279 5068.
The walk to Afon Cwm Llan Waterfalls is part of the Watkin Path, which is a popular but demanding route to the top of Snowdon. The walk to the waterfalls is the relatively easy part of the route and is suitable for beginners. The trail takes you through a forest initially and then joins a track that curves into Cwm Llan. As you proceed, the waterfalls appear ahead, cascading in two parallel channels down the valley.
Afon Cwm Llan Waterfalls are unique for their location along the Watkin Path, one of the routes leading to Snowdon’s summit. The waterfalls are set in a narrower valley with many other waterfalls below the path, making it a captivating experience.
If you’re an experienced walker and wish to extend your route, you can continue along the Watkin Path towards Snowdon’s summit. However, if you choose to do so, it’s advised to use an appropriate route guide for the mountain.
Conwy Falls (Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd)
Conwy Falls is located just outside Betws-Y-Coed in Snowdonia. The waterfall is accessible via a large car park outside the Conwy Falls Café. Parking is free of charge, and the café is about two miles from the centre of Betws-Y-Coed.
The walk to Conwy Falls is short and takes around 10 minutes, making it family-friendly. However, the path is a woodland walk with steps, tree roots, and uneven surfaces, so it’s not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. The path can get muddy after heavy rain.
Conwy Falls is essentially split into two parts: one side has a 15m drop, and the other trickles down a series of smaller drops. The waterfall is part of a 10-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) called the Fairy Glen Woods, known for its diverse trees and wildlife.
Betws-Y-Coed is a charming town worth exploring, with its own set of natural attractions, including the beautiful Gwydir Forest Park. The Conwy Falls Café was built by Sir Clough William-Ellis, best known for building the Italian-style village of Portmeirion.
- Entry Fee: £2 for adults, £1 for children. Payment is made at an honesty box near the turnstile.
Pistyll Rhaeadr is situated 4 miles from the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in Powys, Wales, and 16 miles west of Oswestry. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the tallest waterfall in Wales, but it is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales. There is a car park near the foot of the waterfall and a nearby cafe for your post-walk coffee.
The waterfall is formed by the Afon Disgynfa falling over a 240-foot cliff-face, in three stages. The tallest stage is estimated at about 40 metres. The walk to the waterfall is relatively straightforward, and the area near the foot of the waterfall is accessible for those who want to explore further.
Pistyll Rhaeadr is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is known for its stunning natural arch in the middle of the waterfall. It’s often referred to as the tallest waterfall in Wales, but this is not accurate. Both its single drop height and its total height are surpassed by other waterfalls like the Devil’s Appendix and Pistyll y Llyn.
The area around Pistyll Rhaeadr is rich in natural beauty, and it’s only a stone’s throw from Snowdonia National Park.
Dolgoch Falls is located near Tywyn in Gwynedd, North Wales. The falls are part of the stream called Nant Dôl-goch, which flows into the Afon Fathew. The falls are easily accessible from the nearby Dolgoch station on the Talyllyn Railway.
Dolgoch Falls consists of a series of three waterfalls and forms a popular walk that starts from the Dolgoch station. The trail is well-marked and suitable for families, even those with young children. However, it’s worth noting that the path can be uneven and may get muddy after heavy rain.
Dolgoch Falls is unique for its series of three cascades that flow through the area. The falls are a popular attraction and are easily accessible via the Talyllyn Railway, adding an extra layer of convenience and charm to the experience.
The area around Dolgoch Falls offers opportunities for further exploration, including other natural attractions and the charming Talyllyn Railway, which itself is a historic narrow-gauge steam railway.
Llanberis Waterfall (Ceunant Mawr Waterfall)
Ceunant Mawr Waterfall, commonly referred to as Llanberis Waterfall, is situated near the village of Llanberis. The starting point for this walk is High Street, Llanberis, LL55 4SU. The waterfall is not far from the Snowdon Mountain Railway and Llyn Padarn lake.
The walk to Ceunant Mawr Waterfall is less than a mile long and is suitable for all abilities. The trail takes you through a tranquil wooded gorge and is well-marked, making it a popular choice among locals. It’s an excellent way to spend an hour or two in the area.
Ceunant Mawr Waterfall cascades dramatically in two stages into a wooded gorge below. The waterfall is particularly stunning after substantial rainfall. The name “Ceunant Mawr” translates to “waterfall of the great ravine,” which aptly describes its setting.
While in Llanberis, you can also explore the National Slate Mine Museum, the lake of Llyn Padarn, and the iconic Snowdon Mountain Railway. The village offers a range of other attractions and is a hub for outdoor activities.
Nantcol Waterfall is located near the village of Llanbedr. The waterfall is a bit more secluded compared to others, offering a peaceful experience away from the crowds.
The walk to Nantcol Waterfall is well-marked and takes you through delightful riversides and serene woodlands. The trail is suitable for families of all ages but can be quite steep in some places, making it challenging for people with mobility issues. The walk is approximately 2 miles long and offers stunning views, especially when you reach the top.
The area is popular among wild swimmers, so don’t forget to bring your swimwear if you’re up for a dip.
Nantcol Waterfall is unique for its natural setting, surrounded by steep cliffs and lush greenery. The waterfall offers a series of cascades and crystal-clear pools, making it a perfect place for a refreshing swim.
While you’re in the area, consider exploring the nearby village of Llanbedr, which offers its own set of natural and historical attractions.
Exploring the waterfalls of Snowdonia is an experience like no other, offering not just awe-inspiring natural beauty but also a journey through the heart of North Wales. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a family looking for a day out, or a photographer in search of the perfect shot, Snowdonia’s waterfalls promise an unforgettable adventure. So why wait? Lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and set out to discover these hidden gems for yourself.
Make it a Weekend Adventure
There’s a lot to see in Snowdonia, so why not make it a weekend adventure and stay in one of the many beautiful lodges or hotels…