In this, the Year of Trails, everyone is looking to forge their own path around Wales. However, sometimes tried-and-tested is best. If you're looking for an invigorating outdoor adventure this summer, North Wales has plenty of stunning waterfall walks to explore. Here are three popular waterfall hikes you won't want to miss, all within easy reach of the Royal Victoria Hotel by car.
Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn - 35 mins by car
Located in the northern part of Snowdonia, Aber Falls is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The trail takes you through beautiful forests and streams before reaching the impressive waterfall. It's a moderate hike, suitable for all skill levels. The trail is well-marked and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs too, although it may be a little rocky in parts.
The start of the Aber Falls trail is located in the village of Abergwyngregyn, about 8 miles east of the town of Bangor. From there, the trail follows a path through the forest and alongside a river. You'll encounter a few small waterfalls and streams before reaching the main event: the majestic Aber Falls.
The waterfall itself is a spectacular sight, plunging over 30 metres into a pool below. The mist from the waterfall creates a refreshing atmosphere, perfect for a summer hike. You can also take a dip in the pool, though the water can be chilly even on a warm day.
Beyond the waterfall, the trail continues to the top of the falls for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. You can also take a detour to explore the remains of an old copper mine.
Overall, the Aber Falls hike is a must-do for anyone visiting Snowdonia. With its stunning natural beauty and easy accessibility, it's no wonder it's one of the most popular hikes in the area.
Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed - 25 mins by car
Swallow Falls is located near Betws-y-Coed, a picturesque village in the heart of Snowdonia. The trail follows the Afon Llugwy and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The highlight of the hike is the series of cascading waterfalls, which are truly a sight to behold.
To reach Swallow Falls, you can park at the Swallow Falls Hotel and follow the well-marked trail into the forest. The trail is easy to navigate and suitable for all skill levels. You'll pass through a dense forest before reaching the first waterfall, which is about 6 metres tall.
As you continue along the trail, you'll encounter a series of waterfalls, each more impressive than the last. The largest waterfall is about 15 metres tall and creates a deafening roar as the water crashes into the pool below.
At the end of the trail, you'll find a viewing platform that offers a stunning view of the entire waterfall system. You can also take a dip in the pool below the falls, though be careful as the water can be swift and cold.
Swallow Falls is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature and hiking. The stunning beauty of the waterfalls combined with the peacefulness of the forest makes for a truly unforgettable experience.
There are many steps to access the waterfall viewing platform so this attraction may be unsuitable for those with mobility issues, the very young and the very old.
Please note: entrance fee is £2 for adults and £1 for kids 14 and under. CASH or CARD ACCEPTED. The falls are open between April - October from 10am - 3:00pm.
Fairy Glen, near Betws-y-Coed - 35 mins by car
Fairy Glen is a hidden gem located near the village of Betws-y-Coed. The trail takes you through a magical gorge with moss-covered boulders and a meandering river. The highlight of the hike is the cascading waterfall that tumbles into a tranquil pool.
To reach Fairy Glen, you can park at the nearby village of Betws-y-Coed and follow the well-marked trail into the forest. The trail is relatively short, at just under a mile, but it can be steep and slippery in places. Alternatively, you can park at the falls for a small fee (see below).As you make your way through the forest, you'll encounter a series of boulder-strewn streams before reaching the main attraction: the Fairy Glen waterfall. The waterfall is about 6 metres tall and creates a serene and tranquil atmosphere.
You can take a dip in the pool at the base of the waterfall, though the water can be chilly even on a warm day. The pool is surrounded by mossy boulders, adding to the magical atmosphere of the glen.
After taking in the beauty of the waterfall, you can continue along the trail to explore more of the Fairy Glen. The trail takes you through a narrow gorge with towering trees and ferns. Keep an eye out for the resident wildlife, including otters and birds.
Fairy Glen is a peaceful and enchanting destination that is often overlooked by tourists. If you're looking for a quiet and magical escape in Snowdonia, this hike is a must.
However, please be aware access to this no-frills attraction is somewhat off the beaten track and the path to the falls may not be suitable for those with mobility issues, the very young and the very old.
Please note: entrance fee is £1 for adults and 50p for kids. There is a fee of £1 to park also. CASH ONLY.
In conclusion, North Wales offers some of the most stunning waterfall hikes in the UK. From the majestic Aber Falls to the enchanting Fairy Glen, there's something for everyone. So grab your hiking boots and explore the natural beauty of Welsh waterfalls today!