The Carneddau is a range of 32 mountains to the north of Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia National Park. The range features 7 of the highest mountains in Wales and England as well as being the largest continuous area over 3,000ft.
The highest peak in the Carneddau is Carnedd Llewelyn, second only to Snowdon as the highest mountain in the country at a height of 1064m. The most popular mountain in the range is Pen Yr Ole Wen, due to it’s direct access from Ogwen Valley.
Scroll down for our favourite hiking and trail running routes for the Carneddau mountains.
Carneddau Walk from Llyn Ogwen
A challenging tour of the some the highest mountains in Wales, this Carneddau Walk has breathtaking views and amazing ridge walks. The route begins at Llyn Ogwen, summiting Pen Yr Ole Wen first before following the valley bowl around to Carnedd Dafydd and then Carnedd Llewelyn. The descent along Bwlch Eryl Farchog and view of Ffynnon Llugwy is a sublime finisher, with some cheeky views of Tryfan right at the very end.
Distance 9.6 miles
Time 5 hours walking
Total Ascent 3,385ft
Summits Tryfan (917.5m)
Views Ogwen Valley, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, Llyn Boclwyd, Llyn Idwal, Llyn Ogwen, Ffynnon Lloer, Ffynnon Llugwy.
1. We park halfway along Llyn Ogwen to start this wander, allowing a short distance for the legs to warm up (and a loo stop at Ogwen Visitor Centre) before crossing the roman bridge stile and ascending Pen Yr Ole Wen. This steep path continues upwards in a fairly straight line, retaining valley views on both sides (with Tryfan to the right at all times).
2. The stone circle near Pen Yr Ole Wen summit is a good place for a coffee break, then it’s head around the Lloer valley bowl to Carnedd Dafydd, where there are multiple stone circles to pick a spot and enjoy the views.
3. Continuing along the ridge we eventually reach Carnedd Llewelyn, the highest point of the walk at 3,400ft and the second highest mountain in Wales. From Llewelyn we head east down the Bwlch Eryl Farchog ridge, bearing right down to Ffynnon Llugwy reservoir just before the path rises towards the summit of Pen Yr Helgi Du.
4. Corporation Road is a long straight tarmac downhill back to the main A5 road, where we cross over at the campsite and join the Eryri footpath all the way to the north face of Tryfan, and around to the find the car by Llyn Ogwen.
Full walk through video of the entire route
Drum, Foel Fras & Llwytmor Trail Route
One of our favourite Carneddau trail routes, this circular walk of Drum, Foel Fras & Llwytmor has nearly 4,000ft of ascent in 11 miles of staggeringly beautiful Snowdonia mountain terrain. Beginning just above sea level in the cute village of Llanfairfechan, the route wanders up ancient Roman roads into the hills and mountains. Drum and Fras are long drawn out hills, tough on the legs, and Llwytmor is one of the most underrated mountains in the whole national park. Llwytmor has unreal views over both the beautiful lake Llyn Anafon and the valley down to the sea, with Anglesey looking particularly stunning at sunset from this summit. We’ve timed our visits for sunset here many times, and the last few miles back to the start in darkness is simply magical.
Distance 10.9 miles
Time 5 hours 30 mins (walking) 2 hours (running)
Total Ascent 3,864ft
Summits Drum, Foel Fras, Llwytmor
Views Llyn Anafon lake, Anglesey and North Wales coastal views.
1. This Carneddau trail route starts out at the back of Llanfairfechan Golf Club, parking at a small public space on a narrow country road. The swing gate is immediately next to the parking and we head up this track which reaches the Roman roads within the first half an hour. Views out towards the sea are stunning along this section of the trail.
2. The ground levels out a little, passing underneath huge powerlines and heading straight across the Roman crossroads (signposted “Drum”). This clearly marked trail wanders up, with the view of the Anafon valley opening up the closer we get to Drum’s summit and stone circle for a coffee break.
3. Drum to Foel Fras is our least enjoyable section of this route – it begins with some really wet boggy marshland before a long grassy hill slog to the boulder field summit. Fras is one of those mountains that seems to attract the clouds and we always feel it’s worth a stop here to experience just how quickly the weather changes. Navigation is simple in any weather to this point, it’s worth noting there’s a fence line to follow easily from Drum to Foel Fras in poor visibility.
4. From the summit of Foel Fras to Llwytmor to lake Llyn Anafon there is NO TRAIL. Site visitors reading this information and intending on visiting should retrace their steps back to Drum if they wish to stay on clearly marked trails and paths. That being said, Llwytmor is one of the most underrated mountains in Snowdonia, it’s 360 degree views are breathtaking in pretty much any weather. We love spending time in the rock/boulder “castles” just off the north side of the mountain summit. Descending to Llyn Anafon from Llwytmor is challenging, having to choose a steep route down through dense ferns, gorse, boulders and many many deep hidden holes in the ground. Again, for clarity, this section is completely off trail, the only “paths” being small narrow sections of sheep trails to utilise.
5. Llyn Anafon is another underrated location, the glacial bowl lifts on three sides to the mountains of this route – Drum Foel Fras & Llwytmor. The open north easterly side follows the river, eventually to the Menai Straits. We use the reservoir track for about a mile before veering up sharp right (abandoned buildings on the left at this point). A short scree line climbs steeply to a narrow path that snakes around Foel Ganol, eventually rejoining the Roman Road by the big powerlines and crossroads sign. At this point it’s a comfy downhill back to the start.
Video highlights of this trail route
This day out at Drum Foel Fras & Llwytmor started out bright and sunny but Fras and Llwytmor provided plenty of dramatic clouds and light bursts.
Carneddau Walk from Aber Falls
Fantastic challenging circular hiking and running route taking in multiple mountains of the Carneddau range with over 3,500ft of climb in 9 miles of trail. This trail route starts and ends at the popular Aber Falls waterfall car park.
Distance 9 miles
Time 2 hours (running) 3.5 hours (walking)
Total Descent 3,628ft
Summits Moel Winion, Gyrn, Drosgl, Bera Bach, Bera Mawr.
Views the Carneddau mountains, the Irish sea, North Wales coast and Anglesey.
1. Starting at the public car park, there’s a well maintained path to the first big waterfall. From there we head to our right, through a gate that happily states “no short route back to the car park from here”. After a short distance the second waterfall meets the path and we take the narrow trail on it’s left hand side, working our way all the way to the top. There’s a couple of great big squared off boulders to sunbathe on nice days, after the steep scramble.
2. Crossing the valley and heading up Moel Winion is next, getting the worst of the ascents through before halfway on the loop. Downhill to Gyrn, which is just a big pile of rocks to the side of the path.
3. After a long slow uphill, the three highest summits are in quick succession with very little rise and fall – Drosgl, Bera Bach and Bera Mawr. We wander off trail through the boulder field to the north of Bera Mawr, dropping back down into a fern filled valley with a stream that eventually feeds the “main” Aber Falls waterfall.
4. With that stream on our left (plenty of places to cross over via rocks and boulders), there is a clear path that runs downhill, crossing a scree field after passing the waterfall, and reaching the proper path back down to the car park.