Cwm Bochlwyd Horseshoe.

Cwm Bochlwyd Horseshoe.

The Bochlwyd Horseshoe is non-stop, full-day, adventure that is a must-do for all mountain lovers. The route includes all the key ascents and scrambles of the Glyderau. You will traverse Tryfan, get in some great, exposed scrambling on Bristly Ridge, and the ascent of Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr.

The route is also superb for capturing some classic photos. The Cannon, Adam & Eve, The Cantilever and Castell y Gwent.

The Cwm Bochlwyd Horseshoe is a day in the mountains you will never forget.

Route Info

There is plenty of parking available in the Ogwen Valley. The car park at the YHA Idwal Cottage (SH648 603), one of the lay-bys at the base of Tryfan, or the car parks at Gwern Gof Isaf & Gwern Gof Uchaf campsites(don’t forget to pay the farmer).

Your actual start position will vary dependant upon where you choose to park, but will usually involve a short walk along the road.

The route begins at the foot of Tryfan (SH 663 602).

The ascent of Tryfan starts on a steep and windy path running underneath the Milestone Buttress. The path ascends to the shoulder of the North Ridge. From here the path disappears and then the ascent of the North Ridge is all about route finding and scrambling.

After around 30 minutes of scrambling you should see the Cannon Stone on your right which is a great spot for a short break, and of course, an obligatory photo of you stood on the end.

The Cannon

The summit of Tryfan can be reached anyway you choose, but the best route for scrambling is to continue directly up the ridge. The summit is marked by the two large stones of Adam and Eve.

It is said, those that dare to jump between Adam & Eve gain the ‘Freedom of Tryfan’. Obligatory photo #2.


The descent from the summit is via the South Ridge which is less rocky than the North Ridge. The ridge naturally funnels you down to Bwlch Tryfan (SH 661 588), another good place to stop for a break.

From here you can also to take an easy escape route towards Llyn Bochlwyd for those who need a way off the mountain.

Your next adventure is Bristly Ridge. Not as exposed as the Crib Goch Arête, but is more of a technical scramble and offers the best scrambling line in Snowdonia. If you don’t want to tackle Bristly, then a path runs to the left avoiding the tough scramble.

Follow a rugged path alongside the stone wall towards the foot of Bristly Ridge and enter the gully known as ‘Sinister Gully’, now pick a route up the steep gully to the crest of the ridge. The crest narrows and the climbing becomes more intense as you make your way towards the famous pinnacles of Bristly Ridge.

The first pinnacle is a great climb and should be tackled head-on. The second pinnacle, known as the ‘Great Pinnacle’, can be passed on the right before cutting back left to re-join the crest.

The remainder of the rocky crest is easy to follow taking you directly to the plateau of Glyder Fach (SH 659 583).

Cross the rocky plateau towards the highest point and you’ll be presented with the famous ‘Cantilever Stone’. Obligatory photo #3.

The Cantilever

After a well-earned rest walk west across the rocky plateau, soon you will see Castell y Gwent, meaning ‘Castle in the Winds’. It is the sharp spiky rock outcrop which can be walked around or tackled head-on, another great scrambling opportunity.

Continuing on a worn path will guide you to the summit of Glyder Fawr (SH 642 579).

Now, retrace your steps back towards Castell y Gwynt and the top of Y Gribin Ridge for the decent.

Y Gribin Ridge can be avoided by following an easier, rugged path on the left flanks or tackled directly by an easyish scramble directly on the rocky crest.

The crest gradually becomes wider as you reach an area near Cneifion Arête. Follow the greener slopes down the ridge, the path is clear as you make your way down the final section before reaching an obvious T junction with the lakes of Llyn Idwal on your left and Llyn Bochlwyd on your right.

At the T junction you have two options, right down towards Llyn Bochlwyd, or left towards Llyn Idwal, both routes leading you back to the A5 to complete your adventure.

  • Activity Type: Hiking
  • Total Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Total Ascent: 2992 feet
  • Total Time: 5.32 hrs
  • Route Grade: 1

Route information is simply presented as a guide, do not base a trip entirely from this information.

Any route should be planned properly in advance. You should always carry a map of the area, a compass, appropriate gear for the season and let someone know what time you intend to return.

Cwm Bochlwyd Horseshoe

  • "Review" "Review" February 15, 2015

    Scott Parry

  • 5 out of 5 based on 423 reviews