This ride is in the heart of Snowdonia which boasts a rugged yet beautiful landscape. The start is not far from Betws y Coed in a little town called Trefiw, which is perched on the slopes of the Conwy Valley. The ride is tough and takes in two lakes, Crafnant and Cowlyd. The latter being a man made reservoir nestled in a precipitous valley. If you really want to see some of the grandeur of the Welsh mountains this is a great starting point. But be warned the weather is unpredictable.
1. Starting at Trefiw head up on the well sign posted lane to Llyn Crafnant with the Afon Crafnant on the left. Towards the top you will see a car park and toilets and then the lake will come into view.
2. Cross at the head of the lake and through the gate onto a wide forest track. Proceed for 1 mile following the shore line. Turn left at some farm buildings and over the stile. Turn left onto the wide track and through the gate. there are cottages on the right.
3. Proceed for about 300 yds through a gate and you will come to a junction. Turn sharp right and after 200 yds you will come to a house. Go left and round the back and bear right up the grassy slope to the gate. Pass through this gate and turn right up the track. This turns up and left between the peaks you see infront of you.
4. At the top you have an amazing downhill of almost 2 miles into Capel Curig. Be aware that the track turns right and is cobbled in places. Drop down to the gates and the main road. This is Capel Curig and there is a well placed cafe opposite!
5. Cross the road and go to the left of the buildings and down the side of them. This lead out onto the moor and past a car park. Proceed along here for just over 2.5 miles and turn right over a stile and across a small bridge to the main road. There is a building on the right. Cross the road and turn right and you will see the wide track across the cattle grid on the left leading to Tal-y-braich (look out for the National Trust sign and emblem).
6. Climb on this track which is waymarked with the blue bridal path arrows. You will go past some farm buildings. Eventually after about 0.5 miles you turn left and join another wide track up. Keep climbing.
7. You will see the track loop across the valley to the right. This is where it gets tricky! Go past a green hut and join what looks like a man made river. There are lots of bridges but no access to a trail. Follow this "river" over stiles and through gates and eventually you will see a bridge and a track up to the left. Take it and up and onto a shoulder overlooking the awesome Llyn Cowlyd.
8. The trail follows the lake on the left hand side to the dam wall. At the dam wall turns left and follow the wide track up and evetually round to the right and under the huge water pipe. Turn right at the junction and through the gate and onto a narrow metalled lane. This leads up and over into the next valley. Drop down the really steep lane with switchbacks, keeping right at the junction and you are back in Trefriw.
Get on the M56 to North Wales and follow the A55 to Llandudno. Get off here and follow the A470 towards Betws Y Coed. At Llanrwst pass through the village and take a right over the river on the narrow bridge. Proceed for just under 2 miles looping back on yourself with the river still on your right and you come to Trefriw. There is a car park on a side road on the right.
When to Bike
Biking can be year round but take the usual precautions even in the summer as the weather is notoriously unpredictable in Wales. In winter great care should be taken especially with the limited about of daylight, meaning an early start is needed.