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Gravel bike wonderland – Betws y Coed, Snowdonia, Wales

Since I have been to Snowdonia for the first time during Winter about 2 years ago, I always wanted to come back at some point to ride the beautiful roads I had seen. Back then we just came to hike up Mount Snowdon, which we had to abandon after 2/3 of the distance due to heavy snow and winds.

The bank holiday weekend just gone was the time to come back and to do both, ride the beautiful country roads and conquer the Mountain. We packed our tent and made our way up to Betws y Coed.

We chose the campsite of the Swallow Falls Hotel as our base camp. We found that the area around the Swallow Falls is a great spot since it is close to Mt. Snowdon, not far from the Marin Trail (another post will come up about that) and just around the corner from some beautiful lakes that are connected via some beautiful gravel trails.

We used an app called Komoot to find a route that ticked a couple of boxes and printed it out just in case we ran out of battery. Since we wanted to use our stay in Wales as part of our preparation for an upcoming offroad / gravel bike event (the Grinduro in Scotland later this year) we picked a route that combined off- and on-road terrain with steep climbs through the beautiful country side.

Our route took us down to the valley of Betws y Coed and then all the way up (like crazy steep up) to the first of two lakes called Llyn Geirionydd.

The climbs in this area are really steep and at one point we had to make the non-heroic decision to climb off the bike and push in order to avoid a fall due to immobility.

Llyn Geirionydd was absolutely beautiful! And it was worth the struggle up hill. Very picturesque and quiet! We rode around the lake and just enjoyed the calmness of the area.

The first time that we met other people was when we stopped for lunch and coffee at a little cafe situated just on the shore of the lake and was decorated like a tiny fishing chalet. I assume it has a fishing history. It might be not be the case, but I was happy with my assumption since it just underlined this beautiful experience.

The coffee was nothing fancy, but there was a great choice of simple but tasty food to offer! We chose baked potatoes and beans. Exactly what we needed! The steep climbs and the weather were draining all power levels, so a proper lunch was very welcomed.

After our break and readjusting our bearings we cracked on.

The second lake was called Llyn Crafnant and was also very beautiful but a little bit more popular to locals and other travellers which didn’t make it less attractive but a bit less interesting to us.

Our route took us further via Trefriw and Llanrwst and eventually back to Betws y Coed.

I can highly recommend this route if you are on your gravel bike, since the route covers a lot of easy off-road paths and sections.

We will definitely come back!