Gwydir Forest Park - Llyn Sarnau, near Llanrwst

What's here


Llyn Sarnau means “lake of the old tracks” in Welsh and it is a lovely place for a picnic at one of the tables around the car park.

The lake is fairly shallow and so it often dries out in summer - even though it may not be much to look at during warmer months, it's a valuable home for wetland loving wildlife.

Discover beautiful mountain and valley views, scenic lakes and old disused lead mines on the walking trail.

Walking trail

The walking trail is waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trail.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Forest Lakes Walk

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.6 miles/4.2 kilometres
  • Time: 1-2½ hours
  • Trail information: Most of this trail is on forest roads connected by rough narrow paths less than 50 cm wide in some places, on unmade and uneven surfaces, where you can expect mud, rocks and tree roots. There are three benches on the trail, and a wheelchair accessible picnic table in the car park. 

Head out from the car park and take your time to appreciate the view from the benches.

Reach a path that goes around then down the middle of a small lake.

Meander through the old High Hafna Mine, once a hive of industry, then continue along an undulating path through the woods, taking in a viewpoint on top of a cliff edge.

Accessibility information

Facilities for visitors with disabilities at Llyn Sarnau include:

  • car parking spaces for Blue Badge holders
  • dusted paths lead from the Blue Badge car parking spaces to wheelchair accessible picnic tables with beautiful views

Gwydir Forest Park

Llyn Sarnau is in Gwydir Forest Park.

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park and encircles the village of Betws-y-coed.

Lead and zinc mining once dominated the area and the legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.

Several of the most important mines have been partially restored and made safe for visitors.

Waymarked trails start from Betws-y-coed and several other Natural Resources Wales car parks in Gwydir Forest Park:

  • Betws-y-coed - peaceful forest walks away from the tourist bustle
  • Cae'n y Coed - easy-to-find picnic area and walk with panoramic mountain views
  • Cyffty Mine - short trail around abandoned lead mine
  • Dolwyddelan -walking trail along Roman road and cycle trail with mountain views
  • Hafna - walking trail through lead mine ruins and red-graded mountain bike trail
  • Llyn Crafnant - walking trails around the lake and accessible riverside trail
  • Llyn Geirionydd - picnic site with walking trail around two beautiful lakes
  • Penmachno - remote mountain bike trails with spectacular views
  • Sawbench - two red-graded mountain bike trails and historical walk
  • Ty’n Llwyn – walking trail to the famous Swallow Falls waterfall

Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park

Gwydir Forest Park is set in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park.

Eryri is the largest National Park in Wales and is home to picturesque towns and villages and the highest mountain in Wales.

It is looked after by the Eryri National Park Authority.

For more information about visiting Eryri go to the Eryri National Park Authority website.

National Forest for Wales

Gwydir Forest Park forms part of the National Forest for Wales.

The National Forest will:

  • create areas of new woodland
  • enhance existing woodlands
  • restore Wales’ irreplaceable ancient woodlands

It will form a connected ecological network running throughout Wales, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits.

Parts of the network will eventually form a trail running the length and breadth of Wales, so anyone can access it wherever they live.

For more information go to the National Forest for Wales website.

Visiting safely

We want you to return home safely after your visit here.

You are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of any children and animals with you during your visit.

For advice and tips to help you plan your visit here go to Visiting our places safely.

Changes to visitor facilities

See the top of this webpage for details of any planned closures or other changes to visitor facilities here.

For your safety, always follow instructions from staff and signs including those for trail diversions or closures.

We may divert or close trails whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations and we may need to close other visitor facilities temporarily.

In extreme weather, we may close facilities at short notice due to the risk of injury to visitors and staff.

How to get here


Llyn Sarnau is two miles west of Llanrwst.

It is in the county of Conwy.

Ordnance Survey map

Llyn Sarnau is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 778 592.


Take the B5106 from Llanrwst towards Betws-y-coed.

After turning left at the brown and white sign for Gwydir Castle, turn immediately right onto a minor road.

Go past the car parks for Sawbench and Hafna and the Llyn Sarnau car park is on the left.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Llanrwst.

For details of public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website.


Car parking is free of charge.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Contact details

There are no staff at this location.

Contact our customer team for general enquiries during office hours, Monday to Friday.

Related document downloads

Forest Lakes Walk guide PDF [317.2 KB]

Other places in North West Wales

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