This has to be one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of Snowdonia and, maybe therefore, in the whole of the UK?
There are numerous tracks up to the top of Snowdon, the Watkin Path being one which we find to be the most picturesque.
Although we’ve walked to the top of Snowdon several times, we’ve never followed the Watkin Path all the way to the summit, largely because close to the top it gets extremely steep and dangerous – too much so for us with young children.
But every time we visit Snowdonia, we take a walk about a quarter of the way up the Watkin Path to the waterfalls – a spot where you can stop off and enjoy a stunning place that’s quite like any other we’ve found in the UK at least.
You can’t miss the waterfalls from the Watkin Path – after you get through the wooded section at the start of the trail you round a corner to see the magnificent sight of them straight ahead of you.
The main track takes you alongside the river and ultimately past the waterfall, but there’s a small path branching off the main track which you can follow down to the edge of the river right beside the waterfall.
There’s a makeshift bridge across the river made from a precarious looking stone slab and, from here, you have access to several grassy areas right on the bank of the river where you can sit for lunch directly next to the waterfalls.
There’s a series of waterfalls and large, deep, clear pools one after the other. It’s a spectacular sight – not just the waterfalls themselves but the wide open views from here across the valley and mountains beyond.
The best experience is on a warm sunny day. Unfortunately these don’t come along often in Snowdonia (which is officially the wettest region of the UK) but we got very lucky on a recent trip in June, when the weather was uncharacteristically hot and sunny.
It’s one of our favourite experiences to make the climb up here, carrying our heavy bags with our big, hefty walking boots on, trudging up the rocky path in the hot sunshine to arrive, sweating and tired at the edge of the waterfalls, put all our stuff down, take off our boots and socks and get in to our swimming stuff and jump in to the icy cold, crystal clear river!
It’s difficult to believe this spot hasn’t been man-made, it’s so perfect for swimming, jumping in or just relaxing. The way the river has carved out these great, deep and clear natural pools with perfect grass edges that you can use to slide in to the stream or jump from if you prefer.
- Visiting Snowdonia? Check out our other Snowdonia travel tips here
- Find accommodation near the Watkins Path here
This spot is a superb feature of nature and one we can happily spend hours at with a picnic and our swimming stuff. We’ve headed higher up the path from this point in the past (though as mentioned, never all the way to the summit from here) but quite often we’ll just walk up to this point and stay here without venturing any higher – we find just coming up to here is a day out in its own right!
In the earlier years of our trips to Snowdonia, it was rare to find anyone else down at this spot but as the years have gone by, the little path that deviates from the main track has become clearer and now we often find others here with the same idea as us – although by no means many. I was slightly reluctant to even write about it on here at the risk of encouraging more people in to our secret spot but it’s too good not to share!
Getting to the Watkin Path waterfall
The Watkin Path itself starts from the main A498 road, a couple of miles or so outside Beddgelert. There’s a car park at the roadside between the two big lakes – Llyn Dinas and Llyn Gwynant. This car park is often full and you’ll find people parked up on the roadside.
The starting point of the path is up a stone staircase which is opposite the car park and next to the Red Dragon holiday cabins and ‘Cafe Gwynant’ which are at the roadside.
Simply follow the Watkin Path up the hill through the woods and, after about 20 to 30 minutes walking, you’ll see the waterfalls in front of you.
As you approach the waterfalls, you’ll see one or two small paths leading off the main track, which you follow until you get to the stone bridge. Cross over the bridge and explore up and down the river bank from here.
- Google Maps link to the Watkin Path car park: https://goo.gl/maps/AyrnVaSbMv12
- Google Streetview of the start of the Watkin Path: Click here.
- Find nearby cottages and guesthouses here