Starting from the carpark at Llyn Geirionydd this walk over to Llyn Crafnant is a varied combination of forestry paths, public footpaths and local trails.
Llyn Geirionydd is a super popular destination for lazy days by the lake swimming, watersports and picnicking. There’s a small carpark – get there early if you want to be guaranteed a parking spot.
On the day we visited it was overcast at the lake, arriving just before lunchtime we were very lucky to get a place to park. After a quick lunch by the lake we decided to walk over to Llyn Crafnant following one of Natural Rescourses Wales’s way marked trails, this one was blue for moderate.
The walk starts off on a the tarmac forest road before turning away at the end of the lake and joining forest roads, there we lots of of us walkers at the start of the walk but most quickly dispersed, many I suspect were looking for some solitude on the furthest side of the lake away from the people, or perhaps they’d opted to walk round the lake.
Initially the walk is along what seems to be a fairly new forest track, there was a beautiful smell of freshly cut pine lingering in the air and after the kids spotted some exploding puffballs there was a lovely mushroomy smell too.
The road climbs gently upwards – nothing too strenuous. After a while the route leaves the forest road and a footpath takes you uphill a short way before heading down towards Llyn Crafnant. Here the footpath is rocky, narrow and relatively steep, it’s very scenic though. From here you get your first glimpse of Llyn Crafnant.
The route soon deposits you on the tarmac road that runs along Llyn Crafnant, we hoped we might have been able to have a nice cup of tea at the at the lakeside cafe but sadly it’s closed for summer 2021. Undeterred we continued until we found a way down to the shore of Llyn Crafnant not far beyond the cafe. Here we were able to have a chilled can of pop and dip our tootsies in the lake – a swim would have been tempting but there is no swimming at Llyn Crafnant sadly.
Back up on the lakeside road we continued to follow the way markers to the carpark where there are handy toilet facilities. From here the footpath rejoins forestry roads. We walked up to the first corner where we decided to deviate from the path, instead of taking the blue route we followed way markers the Trefriw Trails. Unfortunately by going this way we missed the viewpoint over Geirionydd despite this we weren’t disappointed by our choice though.
Here’s a link to the Natural Resources Wales route from Geirionydd to Crafnant loop taking in the viewpoint. https://cdn.cyfoethnaturiol.cymru/media/689151/geirionydd-to-crafnant.pdf?mode=pad&rnd=132042285730000000).
The walk round on the Trefriw trail did not disappoint, through shady woods and over pretty stiles I really enjoyed this section, the highlight for me was the Clogwyn y Fuwch quarry ruins and an impressive cavern which we were able to explore thanks to a tip-off by some fellow hikers.
Just off the path but hidden from view there is a cave, tunnel actually leads to the impressive cavern. Unfortunately I didn’t have my head torch with me so we couldn’t have a really good look, and I’m always very wary with the kids in places like these – don’t want them disappearing off down a hidden hole never to be seen again…. but I will be back though to explore further.
After the slate cavern the walk takes you round to the Taliesin Monument at the end of Llyn Geirionydd from here it’s a easy walk back to the carpark. The sun came out to shine just as we got back to Geirionydd, just in time for a cool afternoon’s swim and a bit of paddle boarding with the kids.
I highly recommend this walk – whether you choose to do the standard blue route or my adapted route, map available here. The walk was tranquil with very few other hikers, Crafnant was understandably much quieter than Llyn Geirionydd save for a couple of cars and walkers. The highlights for me were the view on the way down to Llyn Crafnant, the quarry (we’ll be back!), Taliesin monument and of course a cooling swim in the lake on a warm day.
I’ve created a rough map of the walk here, it’s very rough and should not be relied on for navigation, please make sure you have an OS map with you.