The Carneddau is a vast swathe of upland which spreads northwards from the Ogwen Valley and runs all the way up to Aber Falls close to the north coast. This is a quiet, serene area devoid of the engineered paths and crowds that characterise much of the Glyderau to the south.
The mountains here are plenty high but the landscape, once you’ve reached summit height, is gently rolling with little height lost or gained between interconnecting peaks. The glaciated cwms, however, do contain some of the biggest cliffs in Snowdonia; circling around the top of the Black Ladders is certainly very dramatic, as the 300m cliff drops away to the cwm floor far below.
It is possible to do a linear walk taking in the highest peaks from Pen yr Ole Wen, past Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Foel Grach, Carnedd Gwenllian and Foel Fras and this is a very fine excursion. Arguably though, the Carneddau is best appreciated via a series of circular forays picking off key features and approaching the mountain range from a different valley each time. This certainly helps to show off the subtly varied character of this intriguing area; it also solves the logistical/transport problems associated with a linear walk.
Popular circuits include the Cwm Llafar horseshoe, a trip up to Carnedd Gwenllian and Foel Fras from Aber Falls, and a trip around Cwm Lloer and Cwm Llugwy.
This is mountain terrain so always Prepare Well and Know Your Limits. During the winter season, typically from late October to April, there is a high probability that snow and ice will be encountered under foot. In these conditions ice axe and crampons are essential. Click the Safety & Access button below for more info.
The Carneddau can be approached from a number of places, including the Ogwen Valley, Gerlan, Aber Falls and the Crafnant Valley.
Safety & Access
Enjoy the Mountains Safely. Here are a few words of advice from Snowdonia’s Mountain Safe Partnership.
1. Prepare Well
have the right equipment with you for the best and worst-case scenario! You’ll need a map and compass, torch, food and drink, whistle, first aid kit and a fully charged mobile phone.
2. Have the latest weather and ground information.
Check the Met Office Mountain Weather forecast for Snowdonia before you set out and be prepared to turn back if the weather worsens – the mountains will still be here for you to enjoy the next time you visit.
3. Dress appropriately
the weather and temperature can change dramatically between the foot of the mountain and the summit. You’ll need strong walking boots, several layers of clothing including warm ones, gloves, a hat and waterproof jacket and trousers.
4. Know where you're going
Plan your route before setting off and ask for local advice. Have a map and compass and know how to use them and choose a route which is suitable for you and your group’s experience and fitness level. Find out how long it should take and when it gets dark.
5. Know your limits
whilst being very enjoyable, getting out into the mountains can be hard work – challenge yourself but be aware of the fitness levels, and experience of the group as a whole – not just your own.
The publisher of this website accepts no responsibility for the way in which readers use the information contained therein. The descriptions and recommendations are for guidance only and must be subject to discriminating judgement by the reader. Advice and training should be sought before utilising any equipment or techniques mentioned within the text or shown in any of the photographic images.
Hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.