GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Snowdonia Slate Trail

83 miles (134 km)

This long circular walk explores Snowdonia's rich mining history. The area is designated as a World Heritage Site and includes a number of fascinating old quarries and historic mining villages.
It's a beautiful and often remote area with the mountains of Snowdonia making a spectacular backdrop to the striking abandoned quarries.
The walk starts in Bangor and first heads south to Bethesda, passing the Penrhyn quarry which was once the world's largest slate quarry during the 19th century. The site is now home to Zip World where you can enjoy an exhilarating ride on the fastest zip line in the world.
The route then turns south west to Padarn Country Park. Here you'll find the beautiful Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris with some fine waterside walks and the fascinating National Slate Museum. On the northern side of the lake there's also the Dinorwic Quarry to explore. It's another significant site as at one time the quarry was the second largest slate quarry in the world, after the aforementioned Penrhyn.
You continue to Waunfawr before coming to Llyn Nantlle Uchaf and the Dorothea Quarry. The 19th century slate quarry is now flooded and a popular place for scuba divers. You can still see the old pump house and the Cornish Beam Engine which dates back to 1904.
The route continues east past the lovely lake to Rhyd Ddu which marks the start of the Rhyd Ddu Path to Snowdon. You head south from here through the woodland trails of the expansive Beddgelert Forest to Beddgelert where you can explore the stunning Aberglaslyn Pass.
The trail then heads east through Croesor before passing the beautiful Tanygrisiau Reservoir and the impressive Llyn Stwlan Dam before arriving at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The town is one of the highlights on the route with the heritageFfestiniog Railwayand the fascinatingLlechwedd Slate Caverns. Here you can find out about the history ofslatequarrying and specifically theLlechwedd quarryin which it is located. The chief attraction is the Deep Mine Tour which has the steepest narrow gauge railway in the UK and travels over 500 feet underground to the disused slate caverns.
The route then passes Llan Ffestiniog and Llyn Morwynion before coming to Cwm Penmachno. There's a series of quarries here with the opportunity to pick up The Penmachno Mountain Bike Trail in the area.
The trail then heads north through forested areas towards the popular village of Betws y Coed where you can explore the delightful Fairy Glen and Swallow Falls.
From here you head west to Capel Curig, the home to the Plas Y Brenin, National Mountain Sports Centre. Here you can visit the lovely Llynnau Mymbyr or climb to the viewpoint at Moel Siabod.
The next stage takes you past the stunning Llyn Ogwen before coming back to Bethesda. From here you can retrace your steps to the finish point back at Bangor.

Please click here for more information

Snowdonia Slate Trail OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Snowdonia Slate Trail Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


In the pretty village of Llan Ffestiniog you could enjoy a pit stop at The Pengwerm. The fine local pub is located on the village square, overlooking the Vale of Ffestiniog. The community run pub is situated in an old drovers inn.They serve a fine Sunday lunch and also provide rooms if you would like to stay in the area.
You can find them at postcode LL41 4PB for your sat navs. The pub is dog friendly.
Near the village you will also pass close to the Afon Cynfal gorge where there are the photogenic Cynfal waterfalls to see.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

The Lon Las Ogwen cycle route starts/finishes at the western side of Llyn Ogwen. The off road trail will take you north to the coast at Bangor, passing the splendid Penrhyn Quarry at Bethesda and the stunning glacial valley of Nant Ffrancon on the way. It runs mostly along old railway paths and the River Ogwen before finishing on the coast. The route is also suitable for walkers.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Snowdonia Walks page.


Penrhyn Quarry - - 1495778

Penrhyn Quarry

Dinorwig slate quarries - - 436977

Dinorwig slate quarries

Dorothea pumping engine and Penyrorsedd Quarries - - 300611

Dorothea pumping engine and Penyrorsedd Quarries. The view shows the apparently precarious situation of the engine house between two of the quarry pits. The Penyrorsedd workings can be seen away into the distance. As can be seen inthe following photograph nature is reclaiming this industrialised area and the view in this 1976 picture would be difficult to replicate today.

Llechwedd Slate Mine, Blaenau Ffestiniog - - 28507

Llechwedd Slate Mine, Blaenau Ffestiniog. Llechwedd Slate Mine looking westish towards Gloddfa Ganol Slate Mine

The head of Cwm Machno - - 559910

The head of Cwm Machno. This photo taken from the edge of the cwm's steep backwall shows the derelict Cae'n-y-cwm farm on the floor of the valley. In the background are the village of Cwm Penmachno and the Cwm Machno Quarry.

Swallow Falls Betws-y-Coed - - 1015931

Swallow Falls Betws-y-Coed

Capel Curig - - 2334992

Capel Curig

Llyn Ogwen - - 771885

Llyn Ogwen. A very shallow lake between the mountain ranges of the Glyderau and the Carneddau in Snowdonia. The A5 runs alongside its southern bank.


GPS Files

GPX File

Snowdonia Slate Trail.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)