Tryfan is a 3,010ft (917.5m) mountain in the Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales, known for it’s shark fin like appearance and incredible scrambling routes, making it one of the most popular mountains in the UK. Despite being smaller than it’s neighbouring summits of the Glyders, Y Garn and Pen Yr Ole Wen, Tryfan clearly stands out in most visitors memories.
Of the many paths available to the summit the North Face is the most fun, with a seemingly endless choice of boulders, slabs and cracks in the rocks to scramble and climb. East facing Heather Terrace makes a beautiful walk to the summit, an ideal place to catch the morning sunshine, while the well kept path leading from Llyn Ogwen to Llyn Boclwyd is the most walked trail route. It’s possible to descend from the summit to Llyn Ogwen in under ten minutes on the West Face descent line, a line that drops nearly 2,000ft in just 0.63 miles.
The incredible views are what bring most people back time and time again, because Tryfan’s roughly triangular mountain shape means uninterrupted 360 degree from the small summit plateau, with insane valley views in abundance on every route up.
Tryfan Trail Routes
All our favourite hiking, scrambling and running routes. Click through to find full trail route info, videos, maps and links OS Maps, all free of charge.
Distance 1.6 miles
Time 1 hour 30 minutes (walking) 50 mins to 1 hour (running)
Total Ascent 1,983ft
Summits Tryfan (917m)
Views Ogwen Valley, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, Snowdon Horseshoe, Llyn Boclwyd, Llyn Idwal, Llyn Ogwen
Full walkthrough of the best Tryfan hiking loop.
Tryfan is without doubt our go to mountain in Snowdonia for fun, and this is the best Tryfan hiking loop. Ascending the north face at either walk or run pace is a really amazing experience; loads of scrambly bits and short bouldering sections to freeclimb. There’s no single definitive path, and despite summiting this mountain well over 100 times to date, we have yet to take exactly the same route twice. The north face ascent usually takes around 50/60 minutes walking, and the descent around 30/35 minutes. We run this trail up in around 40-50 minutes and descend between 10 and 20 minutes.
1. We park by the Tryfan end of Llyn Ogwen and head through the stile looking up at the north face. The familiar dry stone wall soon disappears by the stile and the fun begins up to the left, using the partial steps and various boulders/cracks/small gulleys to head UP quickly.
2. There’s so many highlights in this incredibly short but steep route, with the popular “tryfan cannon stone” around halfway up being one such area. As we snake around the ridge taking in a short path above heather terrace, the views both east towards Moel Siabod and west over the Ogwen Valley are all simply breathtaking, in every weather condition.
3. Similarly to Snowdon itself, we rarely find ourselves on Tryfan at weekends due to the deluge of tourists and mountain leader types. The weekdays and particularly mid-week evenings are more often than not the best times for us. Tryfan’s summit with the Adam & Eve stones is a truly special place, and making time for regular sunsets there is an essential part of life.
4. Descending via the west side into the Ogwen Valley is simply amazing, every time. The top section of boulders take around 10 minutes walking briskly, then it’s “the floor is lava” (bouncing rock to rock without touching the ground) all the way back down to Llyn Ogwen. Running this section is one of the finest thrills on offer in Snowdonia National Park.
Distance 0.63 miles
Time 10 to 20 minutes
Total Descent 1,939ft
Summits Tryfan (917.5m)
Views Ogwen Valley, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, Llyn Boclwyd, Llyn Idwal, Llyn Ogwen.
Full Run Through Video of the entire route
The best section of downhill mountain running in all Snowdonia National Park. Nearly 2,000ft of descent in just 0.63 miles of trail. 10 to 20 minutes of all consuming boulders and scree bliss.
1. Having reached the summit by one route or another, this West Face Descent begins at the Adam & Eve stones and drops down a long section of steep boulders.
2. As the boulders finish the route heads sharp right, keeping the various rock climbing routes closely on the right. After a slightly grassier section there’s a tight V section scree gulley that’s incredible fun.
3. The route opens out into a wide scree section with a choice of “paths” through, eventually reaching another scree gulley, although this one is less steep than the previous.
4. A long open section finishes the route, with a blend of grass and fern trails to stretch out the legs, ended when the hands touch the Llyn Ogwen stile.
Heather Terrace is a wonderful trail route to summit Tryfan mountain, particularly at sunrise. Most of the loop is a reasonably comfortable walk for us, with some scrambling required at the very top. We’ve spent so many mornings sat at various points along Heather Terrace watching the first light pour into Cwm Tryfan valley.
1. Parking at the end of the A5 straight before Llyn Ogwen, we head through the stile and cross the wet lowlands towards Little Tryfan, a slab rock popular with climbers. On reaching Little Tryfan the path takes a right directly towards Tryfan and starts climbing immediately.
2. The path eventually turns to the left and Heather Terrace itself cuts diagonally across the east face of Tryfan. This is an incredibly beautiful trail, particularly at sunrise. At the North Buttress there is the option to turn sharp right up the last gulley, cutting out the south section, but Heather Terrace is well worth completing in good weather for the continued views.
3. On reaching Bwlch Tryfan, there’s a dry stone wall that links Bristly Ridge and Tryfan. We follow a short section of the wall to the right and then begin summiting Tryfan over the boulders. The final plateau before the summit has some breathtaking drops and views.
4. On this trail route we descend via the West Face Gulley, keeping Brag Rocks on our right leads us to the path that descends to Llyn Ogwen from the Bochlwyd Buttress area. It’s a short walk alongside Ogwen on the road back to the car.
The most comfortable way to summit Tryfan, from the Ogwen Valley Cafe and visitor centre. This walk takes in beautiful waterfalls, a breathtaking mountain lake and a challenging scramble to reach the Adam & Eve stones at the top. The option for descending via Heather Terrace is included in this trail route.
1. From the Ogwen Visitor Centre we take the well marked path towards Tryfan, stopping at the popular waterfall viewpoint with Y Garn mountain in the background. Shortly after this, as the path bears to the right we take the stepping stones on the left, continuing towards Tryfan.
2. The path climbs on mainly man made steps alongside another stunning waterfall to the lake Llyn Bochlwyd. We love having a coffee break here. The path continues upwards to the left hand side of Llyn Bochlwyd.
3. On reaching Bwlch Tryfan, there’s a dry stone wall that links Bristly Ridge and Tryfan. We follow a short section of the wall to the left and then begin summiting Tryfan over the boulders. The final plateau before the summit has some breathtaking drops and views.
4. On this trail route we start to descend from where we came, retracing steps down the boulders until reaching level ground. Hopping over the stile and descending a short steep path we take the Heather Terrace path on the left. This cuts down across the east face of the mountain, curling around the bottom of the North Face and rejoining the road by Llyn Ogwen. A short walk roadside brings us back to the visitor centre.
This is a lesser walked valley option for summiting Tryfan, most taking the Llyn Bochclwyd route. Walking up Cwm Tryfan valley is lovely, in short a boulder field with streams and beautiful natural flora everywhere. The mid afternoon light on the mountain summit can be spectacular on the right day from the bottom of Bristly Ridge.
1. Parking alongside Llyn Ogwen, this trail route starts by skirting around the North Face of Tryfan, heading for the popular climbing location Tryfan Fach.
2. The path continues straight up Cwm Tryfan valley, essentially a big boulder field with streams and lots of heather. It’s a lovely wander and a gentler way to ascend than other routes up Tryfan.
3. On reaching Bwlch Tryfan, there’s a dry stone wall that links Bristly Ridge and Tryfan. We follow a short section of the wall to the right and then begin scrambling over the boulders to the top. The final plateau before the summit has incredible drops and views.
Tryfan Photo Gallery
Some of our favourite memories from many visits to Tryfan in every kind of weather, from bright summer sunshine to full winter conditions.
Popular info, questions and answers for this amazing Welsh mountain.
That depends entirely on the route taken! Ascending the north face and down the west side is only a couple of miles, but it’s some of the most challenging terrain available in North Wales.
Scroll up to check out our favourite Tryfan Trail Routes.
Adam & Eve are two monoliths (huge rocks) on the summit of the mountain. These giant 3 metre rectangular rocks stand upright, 1.2m apart. People who jump between the rocks are said to gain the “freedom of Tryfan”.
Breaking it’s name into two parts, “try” and “fan” gives us two fairly similar explanations, one being “high peak” and the other meaning “three peak”, referring to Tryfan’s staggered shark fin like appearance.
The weather in Ogwen Valley varies massively, and can change very quickly. Cloud tends to sweep over Glyder Fach and devour Tryfan on a regular basis. Check out these links to some of our previous visits for an idea of Tryfan weather:
Haha funny Welsh language, phonetically it’s…
” Truh – Van “
The “y” is an “uh” sound and the “f” is a “v”.
Pete… “for me Tryfan is all about running the west face descent, heading from Adam and Eve down the boulder filled gulley and then taking the steep scree channel to Ogwen. It’s 10 to 15 minutes where I forget everything else in life, completely absorbed meditation, a place I can focus entirely on what I’m doing.“
Sian… “with endless routes to try, exposed sections and steep gullies, the north face is the ultimate go to playground. For me, the fun really starts once I hit the cannon stone and I’m presented with these beautifully imposing walls of craggy rock to scramble all over. I find that my racing mind quietens and I’m just completely consumed by what I’m doing in that present moment. It’s totally addictive.“
Tryfan Weather Forecast
Three day day and night forecast for nearest village Bethesda, just down the Nant Francon valley.
West Face Descent
Pete running down the west face of Tryfan in ten minutes, from Adam and Eve stones to Llyn Ogwen.