Three Lakes Walk

Glorious mountain lakes in the shadow of Cadair, returning via the Gwynant valley.

Technical sheet
No. 18751303
A Llanelltyd walk posted on 24/01/22 by Walks from the Door. Update : 24/01/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h25[?]
Distance Distance : 16.39km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 594m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 596m
Highest point Highest point : 560m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1m
Very difficult Difficulty : Very difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Snowdonia
Location Location : Llanelltyd
Starting point Starting point : N 52.747943° / W 3.936086°
Download : -


(D/A) From the front door of the George III facing the river, turn right and walk out to the main road. Turn right past the rear of the pub.

(1) Cross the road (A493) carefully and follow a signposted footpath leading half-left into a garden; the path winds below a house then leads up to a track. Turn left and follow the track uphill, keeping straight at a fork, until you reach a triangular pond.

(2) Turn right at a waymark post onto a footpath that climbs through conifers. Cross a stile at the top of the wood into a field. Cross the field to a ladder- stile and join a track in the next field, following it to the right, then bear left between rocky hillocks to a gate in the wall of an isolated cottage (Gwern Barcud). Pass to the left of the cottage and exit the cottage garden by a metal hand-gate in the wall on your left.

(3) Turn right and walk down the field past a waymarked telegraph pole to a gate beyond a stream. Follow the fence uphill to the end of a farmhouse, where the path turns right over a ladder-stile. Turn left around and above the farm buildings to another ladder-stile, and continue to a third into a narrow lane.

(4) Turn right along the lane to a gate, and continue through the trees. Go round a sharp left-hand bend and follow the lane for a further 350 yards to another gate and through a farm. After a little over a mile’s road walking you reach the long low farmhouse of Gellilwyd Fawr, at right angles to the road on your left.

(5) Just after this and before a small barn, turn right onto a stony track through a gate with a wooden stile. Pass a ruined barn on your right and bear slightly left across the hillside to a hand-gate into coniferous woodland. Don’t follow the track leading uphill, but bear left onto a gently descending footpath.

(6) When you meet the lakeside path, turn right. Pass the end of a wall and continue parallel to the lake shore to a wooden hand-gate. Just before a tumbledown wall, turn left onto a permitted path along a boardwalk over the marshy ground at the head of the lake. Climb the field beyond to some steps and through a gate into a road.

(7) Turn left for 100 yards to the Gwernan Hotel. Turn right through a metal hand-gate onto the Fox’s Path and climb to meet a footpath that joins from the left. Follow a wall on your right before leaving it to pass above a house and then rejoining it beyond. Leave the wall and follow a path across the hillside.

An intermittently rocky section leads to a gate and ladder-stile by an old sheepfold, beyond which the path continues to a hand-gate and plank bridge. Follow the wall and fence to a stream, which you follow briefly before crossing.

(8) Cross a fairly level area before fording the stream flowing out of Llyn Gafr, which becomes visible to your left as you start to climb steeply. A loose, rocky path continues to Llyn-y-Gadair, below the dramatic horseshoe of Cadair Idris. Leave the Fox’s Path here, instead of following a narrow path to the right of the lake.

(9) By a small inlet, follow the path right, away from the lake, across a chaotic area of landslipped rock below the dramatic screes and cliffs of Cyfrwy Arête. The vague path, alternately rocky and grassy, winds through and over the hillocks – a small upright stone is a reassurance that you are on the right path.

At a vague fork, the path bears north (right) for a while before resuming its generally seaward direction, passing below a slight crag under the main Cadair Idris ridge. You should pass to the right of a round sheepfold and then left of the re-mains of a rectangular building as the path becomes progressively smoother and grassier. Passing through a boggy area of springs, descend to meet the Pony Path just above a wall corner by a stream.

(10) Cross the Pony Path to a gate in the wall opposite, and pick up an obvious path heading downhill and slightly left, away from the wall, to a low crag with a stream to your left. Continue past a sheepfold and down a zig-zag section to a wall. Bear left to a gate and walk out to the road.

(11) Turn right then left by a barn (through a gate with a sign reading “Tyny- ceunant”). Follow the track to the farm and walk straight past the entrance onto a path that bends right, descending to the confluence of two streams.

Cross the bridge and turn left along the riverside path; when it leaves the river, follow it across the hillside to a waymarked fork, where you keep left to a clapper bridge over a side-stream.

(12) Bear left along the bottom of the next field to a short stretch of track, where you turn left through a hand-gate and follow the path as it continues down the valley. The path leads through a gate into an open area, beyond which a further gate leads to a road.

(13) Turn left over the bridge and past the youth hostel to a road junction. Turn right and follow the road down the Gwynant valley for nearly a mile, crossing to the right-hand bank partway down, until you meet the main road.

(14) Turn left briefly then, before the river, turn right onto the private road to Abergwynant Farm. At a bridge, carry straight on with the river still on your left. At a three-way fork, turn left through a gate, then keep right at the next fork to a gate into the wood.

(15) Turn left along the track alongside the river, passing a lime-kiln on your left. The track bends right, round the end of a hill, following the river, and eventually leads to the former railway bridge over the Afon Gwynant; turn right onto the Mawddach Trail. Follow the Trail for a mile and a half back to the George III. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 8m - The George III
1 : km 0.09 - alt. 14m - Triangular pond
2 : km 0.84 - alt. 108m - Gwern Barcud
3 : km 1.2 - alt. 141m - Farm buildings
4 : km 1.55 - alt. 137m - Gellilwyd Fawr
5 : km 3.3 - alt. 161m - Coniferous woodland
6 : km 3.94 - alt. 177m - Lake
7 : km 4.46 - alt. 174m - Gwernan Hotel
8 : km 5.79 - alt. 339m - Llyn Gafr
9 : km 7.23 - alt. 560m - Cyfrwy Arête
10 : km 8.78 - alt. 357m - Gate in the wall
11 : km 9.91 - alt. 166m - Bridge - Riverside
12 : km 10.81 - alt. 129m - Valley
13 : km 11.32 - alt. 105m - Youth hostel
14 : km 12.72 - alt. 39m - Abergwynant Farm
15 : km 13.78 - alt. 4m - River - Lime-kiln
D/A : km 16.39 - alt. 8m - The George III

Useful Information

This route climbs to the foot of Cadair Idris over rocky ground and should not be attempted in bad weather. Stout footwear and waterproofs are recommended. Paths may be muddy. Experienced walkers with a suitable map can continue from Llyn y Gadair up the loose and rocky Fox’s Path to the summit of Cadair Idris, returning via the Pony Path, but this route is beyond the scope of this leaflet.

Pdf link :

The George III
Penmaenpool, Dolgellau,
Gwynedd LL40 1YD
Tel 01341 422525

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • The views down the Mawddach estuary from the New Precipice Walk are rightly famous.
  • Pont Llanelltyd is a Grade II* listed 18th-century bridge carrying the old road over the Mawddach. It is a popular wild swimming spot in summer.
  • Cadair Idris (893m, 2930ft) is second only to Snowdon on the list of most popular Welsh peaks. Its distinctive profile can be seen at some point from all of the walks presented here.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.