Gwydir Forest Park - Llyn Crafnant, near Llanrwst

Three waymarked walks around the lake and one of the finest views in North Wales

What's here

The Crafnant to Geirionydd Trail is closed.


The Crafnant View trail is only open to the viewpoint.


Coronavirus update


Our sites and most visitor facilities are open but people are advised to avoid non-essential travel as much as possible.


We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.


Please remember to wear a mask when going inside one of our buildings.


You can check-in via the NHS app when entering one of our buildings – scan the QR-code on the NHS Covid-19 poster on site.



Gwydir Forest Park

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.

Since Victorian times, generations of visitors have walked the woodland paths and fished the clear waters of the rivers here.

Today, waymarked walking trails allow visitors to explore this landscape of lakes, forests and mountains and to learn about its mining history.

There is also a mountain bike trail (which is graded red as it is only suitable for proficient riders), a forest garden and a waymarked walk to the famous Swallow Falls.

History of Gwydir Forest

Between 1850 and 1919, lead and zinc mining dominated the area.  The legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.

Nearly all of the lakes in the forest were created to serve the mines.

Several of the most important mines have been partially restored and made safe for visitors.

Nowadays, as you explore the extensive, rolling upland of wooded knolls, lakes and pastures, you will find it difficult to imagine that this was once a derelict industrial landscape.

Visiting Gwydir Forest Park

Gwydir Forest Park covers an area of over 72 square kilometres (28 square miles) and it encircles the village of Betws-y-Coed.

Waymarked walks start from the following parts of Gwydir Forest Park:

The Marin Trail, a red graded mountain bike trail with big climbs and singletrack only descents, starts from Sawbench.

Llyn Crafnant

Llyn Crafnant lake is three quarters of a mile long and lies in a beautiful valley where the northern edge of Gwydir Forest meets the lower slopes of the Carneddau mountains.

At the head of Llyn Crafnant is one of the finest views in north Wales, across the lake to the mountains above.

A lake or a reservoir?

“Llyn” is Welsh for lake but Llyn Crafnant is actually a reservoir.  It was once the water supply for the nearby town of Llanwrst.

Crafnant takes its name from “craf”, an old Welsh word for garlic, and “nant”, a stream or valley.

Even today the valley of Afon Crafnant smells of wild garlic when it flowers.

Visiting Llyn Crafnant

The Natural Resources Wales car park and toilets are located just before the road reaches the lake.

The car park is the starting point for three waymarked walks, one of which is an accessible trail.

There is a privately run lakeside café (open from Easter until late summer) from where visitors can hire boats.

Please note: private boating and swimming is not permitted.

You can also walk from here to the nearby lake of Llyn Geirionnydd.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Walking trails

All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from the car park.Download more info about the trails.

Afon Crafnant Amble

½ mile/0.6 kilometres

The Afon Crafnant Amble goes along the side of the River Crafnant through areas of towering conifers, young birch trees and open grassy glades. There are benches along the route and the easy gradient and fine surface make it suitable for wheelchair access.

Llyn Crafnant Circuit

3¼ miles, 5 kilometres

The Llyn Crafnant Circuit is a route around the lake. It starts on a tarmac road before going onto to a forest road that hugs the side of the water. The highlight is the view across the water to the towering crags at the head of the Crafnant Valley.

Crafnant View

3 miles, 4.8 kilometres

The Crafnant View trail starts with a long steady climb up a forest road to a log bench where there are views of some of Snowdonia’s finest scenery – lakes, mountains and forest. The trail then goes along a forest path and joins a tarmac road alongside Llyn Crafnant for the return to the car park.

Accessibility information

The Afon Crafnant Amble is an accessible trail. It has an easy gradient with a fine surface and is suitable for wheelchair access. There are benches along the route.

Facilities include:

  • accessible toilets
  • disabled parking

Opening times

The toilets are open at all times.

The lakeside café and boat hire (which is privately run) is open from Easter until late summer.

How to get here


Llyn Crafnant is 4 miles west of Llanwrst off the B5106.

It is in the county of Conwy.

Car parking is free of charge.


Follow the B5106 from Llanrwst to Trefriw. In the village, take the minor road on the left opposite the pub. Follow this narrow road for 2 miles until you reach the car park.

Ordnance Survey map

Llyn Crafnant is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 756 618.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Llanrwst. For details of public transport visit

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000



Related document downloads

Afon Crafnant Amble guide PDF [304.8 KB]
Crafnant View guide PDF [399.7 KB]

Other places in North West Wales