Llanberis, in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, is home to many outstanding walks and trails. Although it’s understandably known for its access to the high mountain tracks, there are also a surprising number of gorgeous low-level walks suitable for all ages and abilities. If, like us, you have little legs with you, then one option that is light on climbing but heavy on views is the Llyn Padarn circular walk.
At just under 6 miles long, the Llyn Padarn circular walk is a great option for a family walk or a short trail run. The relatively flat route begins in Llanberis at the car park located adjacent to the Electric Mountain Visitor Centre (LL55 4UR). You can obviously choose to walk in either direction around the lake, but we chose to take it on in an anti-clockwise direction from the car park. The first section takes you over a couple of open fields with great views of the surrounding mountains to the eastern tip of Llyn Padarn. Passing through the gate you’ll stand on a thin slither of land that separates Llyn Padarn from the adjacent Llyn Peris.
From here, you follow the path around past the Welsh Slate Museum and then follow the steps up to Dinorwic Quarry Hospital. Both are great places to explore if you have time on your hands, as both provide a real insight into the industrial and social heritage of Llanberis and the surrounding areas. The slate museum has many guided walks and talks, and offers slate splitting demonstrations. The talks don’t just offer an insight into the craftsmanship either; they delve into the social and political past of the quarrymen and their work. The hospital, on the other hand, opened in 1860 and closed in 1962. Young brains will be amazed by the antique hospital instruments, while more macabre minds will enjoy the post-mortem room, complete with slate table and drainage, and the nearby mortuary.
Once you’ve had your fill of culture and local history, the next section of the walk will take you uphill and into the woodlands. Although views of the lake are somewhat limited up here, it definitely makes a nice change of scenery – something I really like about this walk. There are a couple of good vantage points where the trees clear or thin out, but soon enough you’ll be dropping back down the hill and making your way over the stone river crossing towards the western tip of Llyn Padarn. Once here, and at roughly just over the halfway point of the walk, we sat down for a well-earned picnic. You’ll want to do that too; the view on a clear day is simply stunning!
With our picnic over, the kids were refuelled and refreshed and, despite the fact that we could have soaked up that view all day, we needed to move on. The last leg of the walk is entirely flat so even the littlest of legs can be set free. This last section intersperses boardwalks, paths and a short section of pavements. Just take care with little ones on the short section of pavement as it can spring up on you quite quickly. Before you know it, they’re not on a safe country path anymore. As you walk through this final section be sure to head into the country park to seek out the famous lonely tree. It is, without doubt, one of the most iconic images in all of Snowdonia. Get there early enough, like we did, and you’ll be able to get the picnic blanket out once more for another rest stop before the hordes of photographers arrive to capture it.
All in all, Llyn padarn is a beautiful family-friendly walk in truly stunning surroundings. Low-level views simply don’t get much better.
You can see and download our route here.