Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen
Y Garn via the Devil’s Kitchen is one of northern Snowdonia’s most popular walks. As the tenth-highest peak in Wales, Y Garn is a proper mountain to conquer, and this route is as straightforward as it gets on the big hills. The Ogwen visitor centre makes for a convenient access point, with the first section of the walk bringing you along the placid shores of Llyn Idwal. Then it’s a steep clamber up the famed Devil’s Kitchen, the most demanding part of the day. The stroll to the Y Garn summit is a rewarding one, with panoramic views of the Carneddau, Glyderau, and even Snowdon itself in the distance. Descending along the northeast ridge provides a wonderful exploration of the mountainside. There’s even a gully to navigate near the end of the route before returning to your starting point.
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Route Description for Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen
Y Garn is a popular walk, unfolding largely over steep terrain. Great care should be taken along these steep sections, which can be wet and uneven underfoot. Ascending through the Devil’s Kitchen will require some minor scrambling - nothing technical, but you should be comfortable using your hands to clamber up the slopes.
Set off from the visitor centre along a clear path leading southeast, which turns left to follow a southwest bearing towards Llyn Idwal. Upon reaching the shores of the lake, you’ll see the path heading in both directions around it. The shorter way takes a left turn to walk along its eastern shore.
Once you’ve passed the south end of the lake, the path curves to the right as the ascent becomes increasingly steep. It straightens out at the base of the Devil’s Kitchen. Clamber up this portion, taking care especially in damp conditions. A wall with a stile marks the top of the section. It gets much easier after this! Climb over the stile and follow the path to the shores of Llyn y Cwn. Here, the path joins a major track that connects Y Garn to Glyder Fawr just south of here. Turn right onto this track and head for the summit of Y Garn.
Views from the top are fantastic, the peaks of Snowdonia unfurling in all directions. The towering Carneddau stretches across the northeast on the far shore of Llyn Ogwen. To the southeast, the Glyderau and iconic Tryfan dominate the landscape. Further south, Crib Goch and Garnedd Ugain scrape the skies, with Snowden itself looming behind in clear weather.
From the summit, start your descent along a northward bearing until you reach a cairn that signals the top of the northeast ridge. Bear right and descend along the ridge. The top is quite steep, but this soon becomes more manageable. There’s a good spot to rest at Cwm Clyd before the descent enters another steep section. Continue along the ridge path, and you’ll find yourself back near the shores of Llyn Idwal.
A right turn will take you to the lake and then back the way you came, but continuing on your descent bearing across moorland offers a unique finishing stretch. The path isn’t always clear, but it does lead you through a gully known as “Tin Pan Alley” before wrapping up right back at the visitor centre.
This dark crack in the mountain gets its name from the plumes of steam that are sometimes spotted rising above it. When you see the steam rising from the “chimney”, you know that the devil is at work in the kitchen below!
This lake lies at the foot of the Devil’s Kitchen, providing a lovely stroll along its shores before you begin the true ascent of Y Garn. It’s named after the grandson of an ancient King of Wales, who was said to have drowned in its cold waters (although he really perished in battle against the Saxons). There’s even a little pebble beach if you want to dip your toes in!
Insider Hints for Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen
- Ogwen Cottage is just down the road from the visitor’s centre, and offers coffee and snacks for weary walkers. Try the Cornish pasty!
- The YHA Idwal Cottage, directly beside the visitor centre, is a cheap and cheerful place to stay for those on a budget. The hostel offers 36 beds along with a campground if you’d prefer your tent
Getting to the Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen Trailhead
To get to Y Garn via the Devil’s Kitchen, start the walk at the Ogwen visitor centre. There’s limited parking here - if you can’t find a spot, there are several lay-bys along the A5 across from Llyn Ogwen to pull over and park at.
Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen Elevation Graph
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Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen Reviews
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