02 Oct Walking Aber Falls (Rhaeadr Fawr), Wales
Snowdonia National Park has a multitude of natural sights that are truly worth seeing with your own eyes and not through a guide book. Aber Falls, located in the village of Abergwyngregyn is just one gem in this treasure trove. Famous for it’s stunning location, Aber Falls (Rhaeadr Fawr) is a powerful waterfall fed by the Afon Goch as it plunges 120ft over the sill edge in the foothills of the Carneddau range. The greatest part to visiting Aber Falls is the fact the waterfall is just one of many fascinating things to look forward to. The waterfall is literally surrounded by all things nature that anyone can really appreciate and is just one reason why up to 50,000 people take the walk up to Aber Falls ever year.
One of our highlights walking to Aber Falls has to be the beautiful scenic views along the way, plus lots of historical interest and an abundance of wildlife that lives within the surround forest. It is the forest path that you will need to take if you wish to glimpse some of the most stunning views across the valley, that eventually opens up to the dramatic waterfall. The walk itself is nowhere near as taxing as climbing Mt Snowdon so it you aren’t experienced there’s no need to fret. The walk up to the waterfall is a steady incline and with so much to see along the way, you really won’t notice the distance you’ve covered.
Visiting Aber Falls is actually pretty easy by car with the option of parking at the bottom of Abergwyngregyn village, where you will pass the visitor centre up into the nature reserve itself. This can at times become quite busy with nowhere to park. We would suggest continuing to drive through the village where you’ll soon approach the Bont Newydd bridge with parking to the right and a car park just over the bridge at the Forestry Commission site where the ticket is valid for the whole day. Both car parks allow full access to the marked trackway towards Aber Falls.
Aber Falls Walking Directions:
- The walk to Aber Falls begins at the Bont Newydd bridge found by the designated falls car parks (grid reference SH 662 720). If you are driving, you will need to come off the A55 at junction 13, signposted Abergwyngregyn. Follow the road through the village and after half a mile you will reach the Bont Newydd stone bridge.
- From the bridge there are two different paths you can take depending what side of the bridge you are on. Each track has a clear path you should take, one is more adventurous than the other but both eventually meet up and continue onwards into the valley.
- After walking around half a kilometre, a path to the left will appear leading off the main walkway towards the forest. Take this path if you wish to see some incredible views of the valley. You will not be disappointed and you’ll be away from other tourists as this route is a lovely walk following the edge of the forest. We were able to take our little one with us as we wore a baby carrier. Pushchairs and wheelchairs cannot take this path.
- As you climb the path, you will soon be treated to some of the great views, but the best is yet to come. The path skirts around the forestry plantation before you come up to the entrance to the forest. The one thing that comes to mind is the instant forest smell that hits you. Knowing you really are exploring and in your element. We were treated to sun rays beaming down at us through the tall pine trees which really adds a magical feel to the forest. Between these trees as you walk, you’ll be treated to amazing views across almost the entire valley.
- After the short walk through the forest, you will reach the forest edge where the path finally comes an end with panoramic views across the top of the valley. If you look closely you’ll spot both the falls of Aber Falls (Rhaedr Fawr) and Rhaeadr-bach.
- Follow the path downwards carefully towards the falls until it eventually meets back up with the more popular walkway on the valley floor. Head to the left and you’ll soon be greeted to the falls up close.
- When viewing the falls, make sure you get to stand at the path underneath as it’s a must do experience to get a feel for how powerful the falls are. As previously mentioned, the rocks can be slippery and be careful of the water spray if it’s windy as you can unexpectedly become soaked, so do take care. By crossing the bridge you can get access to another great vantage point of Aber Falls from the opposite side.
- Once you are ready to head back, the easiest route is to just follow the track all the way back to the Bont Newydd bridge you started at. For those wishing to view more, there are other routes to also get you back to the same location.
For the brave who aren’t put off by cold water, even at the height of summer, it is possible to bathe in the plunge pool at the bottom of the water fall. Please note that extreme care should be taken as the rocks can be very slippery. It is also quite slippery around the edge of the viewing areas for obvious reasons with the continuous water spray.
So there you have it. Aber Falls. A great day out that won’t let you down with something for everyone here. Each time we go visit the falls, we always come back having really enjoyed the walk in beautiful surroundings and the fresh Welsh air. A recommended memorable experience for all to enjoy.