The King's Jewel waterfall walk

Including Pistyll Cain and Rhaeadr Mawddach.

Ability requirements (key)


From Cardiff, take the A470 past Dolgellau to Ganllwyd. Just as the road is about to leave Ganllwyd, where the village speed restriction is lifted, take a lane that forks off on the right beside a stone cottage. Keep right just after crossing a bridge, and after 1.5 miles, park at the Tyddyn Gwladys forestry parking area on the right. SH 7348 2631.


This walk takes in the two crown jewels of the Coed-y-Brenin Forest's waterfalls, and although they are usually sped past by cyclists, they are one of the forest's highlights for those who know how to look. (The name Coed-y-Brenin means The King's Forest - do you see what I did there with the name of the walk? OK great, let's carry on.)

From the parking area, go back out onto the road and turn right, heading further up the valley. Stay with it as it turns into a dirt track. Keep to the left of some houses, then right when it forks, and remain on the dirt track for another 1 km to a junction of rivers. The impressive Rhaeadr Mawddach can be seen on the far river. Just up ahead, the river crosses a bridge. Pistyll Cain can be seen on the left here, although the view is quite obscured. To get the best view, cross the bridge and take a very narrow path on the left, which leads along a slightly exposed ledge to the base of the very impressive waterfall.

Just before the bridge, experienced walkers may take a small path up to the top of Pistyll Cain, where there is another waterfall. There are also some smaller cascades upstream, but they are not really worth the effort needed to reach them.

Back on the track, continue along it towards Rhaeadr Mawddach. Before reaching it, the remains of a gold mining site can be seen on the right. For the best view of Rhaeadr Mawddach, follow the path through the gold mining site to the river's edge. Return to the track and continue along it over the top of Rhaeadr Mawddach, then cross the bridge to the right. On the other side, turn right and follow the path to a track. Turn right, and continue along the track. At another track junction, go right, then look out for a path leading down on the right to a bridge. Cross the bridge and head to the right to arrive back at the parking area.

Warning: Undefined array key "HTTPS" in /var/www/vhosts/tarquin-caving/webroot/ on line 10


KML files can be opened in Google Earth, Google Maps, GPX Viewer, and some other mapping services.


More about this area

Whilst every care has been taken in the compilation of this description, neither the author nor his fellow walkers can accept responsibility for loss or injury arising from any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in this description. This description is intended as a guide only, and you should select a route to suit your own abilities, at your own discretion. Ability requirements are a guide only. Route maps are approximated. You follow this description at your own risk.