Llyn Elsi Walk
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
The Llyn Elsi Walk packs plenty of brilliant scenery into a quick adventure from Betws-y-Coed. A well-signed path from the village centre brings you up into the hills right away—a steep ascent that pays off in spades once you reach the lake. A large stone marker heralds a magnificent viewpoint, with spectacular views of the Glyderau and Carneddau mountain ranges to the west and the waters of Llyn Elsi before you. A circuit of the lake follows before returning to the village the way you came. This circular walk has a little bit of everything!
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Route Description for Llyn Elsi Walk
This circular walk around Llyn Elsi is a lovely adventure that provides just enough of a challenge without being too demanding. The initial section as you depart the village is quite steep, so take care along this portion, especially in poor weather. Remember that you’ll have to descend this section on your way back to Betws-y-Coed.
The walk to Llyn Elsi starts directly behind the impressive St. Mary’s Church (well worth a visit on its own). A road forms a half-circle around the church, so you can walk around on either side. Once behind the church, look for a gate with signs posted for the lake. Head through the gate and along the path, which quickly ascends. This is the most demanding part of the route - nice to get it out of the way early!
Stop for a quick rest at a bench, marking the halfway point of your ascent, or press on towards the top. You’ll pass four paths leading away from the one you’re on (two lefts, a right, and another left) - continue past each of these, keeping an eye out for an abandoned cottage on your right. The path then forks to the left before bearing back to the right and continuing southward, where you’ll spot Llyn Elsi for the first time.
The path then turns towards the lake as you continue to ascend, on a much milder grade than the start. Once you’re roughly 200 m from Llyn Elsi, you’ll spot a faint path on your right which leads up to a viewpoint - the highest point on the walk, and quite frankly a must. From here, the Carneddau and Glyderau ranges unfurl before you, with the serene lake waters at your feet. It may be the highlight of the walk!
Continue towards the lake on a path that turns right and follows the shore. Complete a circuit of Llyn Elsi. The path sticks quite close to the water along the northern half, then withdraws a little around the southern half. Just keep steady progress around the lake, and you’ll reach the path leading to the viewpoint that marked your arrival to Llyn Elsi.
From here, you simply retrace your steps back to Betws-y-Coed. Turn right to depart the lake, and walk along the path on a northward bearing back to the village. The way back is almost all downhill - a nice reward to cap off the adventure!
Insider Hints for Llyn Elsi Walk
- While the walk starts from behind St. Mary’s Church, the impressive building is certainly worth stopping at for a look around. This church was opened in 1873 to serve the needs of a community which had outgrown the longstanding St. Michael’s Church, dating back to the 14th century.
- After the walk, stop at Olif for a delicious meal. Its tapas menu is Welsh-meets-Spanish, a unique spin with plenty of excellent dishes and even better service.
Getting to the Llyn Elsi Walk Trailhead
The Llyn Elsi Walk starts from the village of Betws-y-Coed. There are several options for parking within the village. The Betws-y-Coed railway station car park across from St. Mary’s Church is the closest option to the start of the route. You can also park in the Pont-y-Pair car park, which is just across the bridge of the same name on its north side.
Llyn Elsi Walk Elevation Graph
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Llyn Elsi Walk Reviews
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