At 978m Pen Yr Ole Wen stands as the seventh highest Welsh peak, the same height as England’s Scafell Pike, and our most accurate description would be that this is a real lump of a mountain, to put no finer point on it.
It’s traditional pyramid shaped mountain appearance and leg burning ascent/descent from the Llyn Ogwen side make it a regular fixture in our adventures in Snowdonia National Park. Ascending/descending the north east side is much easier on the legs.
It’s a strange mountain in that the actual summit itself is fairly disappointing, a football pitch sized small boulder field with a small pile of stones at the highest point. The best views and challenges are to be enjoyed on the slopes.
There’s a well built little stone circle just south of the summit, great for a coffee break out of the wind, and more interestingly there’s a small cave on the south slopes, facing Tryfan mountain, that makes a fantastic viewpoint.
Find Pen Yr Ole Wen
Pen Yr Ole Wen is the southern most mountain in the Carneddau range, most commonly accessed from the Llyn Ogwen side.
Get info about the Ogwen Valley, including parking and amenities, in our Guide Post.
Sat Nav LL57 3LZ
Pen Yr Ole Wen Circular Trail Route
Our favourite route for quick visits to Pen Yr Ole Wen mountain, this circular trail can be done in either direction for different challenges and is perfect for walking and mountain running in Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia National Park.
Distance 4 miles
Time 1 hour (running – ignore the OS Maps link’s advised 35 mins, the ascent is tougher than that…)
Total Ascent 2,615ft
Summits Pen Yr Ole Wen (978m)
Views Ogwen Valley, Tryfan, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, Snowdon Horseshoe, Llyn Boclwyd, Llyn Idwal, Llyn Ogwen, Cwm Lloer
1. Parking to the Tryfan end of the Ogwen valley gives a nice comfy flat warm up for the legs around Llyn Ogwen, before heading over the stile by the old Roman bridge. There’s multiple choices of path going up, but we tend to keep the drop on our left, which gives great views, a few short scrambling sections, lots of big fun boulders and a couple of scree lines. We find keeping the drop to the left means we can safely navigate this route in any weather conditions.
2. More facts: the actual summit of Pen Yr Ole Wen is shit, just a crappy pile of stones in the middle of a football pitch sized flat area. Just off the summit is a tiny stone circle, that gives lovely views on clear days but is also a great shelter from the elements for a quick coffee break in tougher conditions. Wandering northwards brings incredible views down to the tiny lake Lloer, hidden in the cwm.
3. The descent down the east side is incredible fun. From the summit we keep the drop to lake Lloer on our left and follow the clear trail that snakes down quickly. The top section is wide open and a dream to stride out, enjoy the view and fill the lungs. Halfway down onwards becomes a mixture of boulders, short drops and more technical trail, all equally good fun. Once we meet the stream from Lloer it’s time to turn right down the valley.
4. On reaching the stile and stone wall overlooking Llyn Ogwen there’s a choice between heading off trail across the Pen Yr Ole Wen side of Llyn Ogwen or the faster path down to the main road. The link for the OS Map includes the latter.
Pen Yr Ole Wen Photo Gallery
Some of our favourite memories from many trips to this beautiful Welsh mountain.
Pen Yr Ole Wen Videos
Video clips from adventures in the Ogwen Valley on Pen Yr Ole Wen.