Moel Hebog from Beddgelert

Moel Hebog

Moel Hebog is one of Snowdonia's most under rated and lesser trodden mountains. This circular route with varying terrain starts from the popular and scenic village of Beddgelert whose western skyline is dominated by the mountain. A direct ascent of Moel Hebog's north eastern ridge which starts grassy but ends rocky delivers you at the mountain's summit from which there are incredible views. On a clear day you can see the outline of the North Wales coastline, the stunning Nantlle Ridge to the north and Snowdon directly across the valley. Being above Beddgelert Forest the bird life is plentiful, you may see Buzzards, Red Kites and if you are very lucky Perigrine Falcons. After a steep descent to Bwlch Meillionen the walk continues along the ridge of the neighbouring peaks Moel Yr Ogof and Moel Lefn before descending into Beddgelert Forest. There is some challenging navigation through the enchanting Beddgelert Forest before returning along the bridleway to Beddgelert for a refreshing pint, tasty meal or award winning ice cream.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the scenic and popular village of Beddgelert situated on the A498 trunk road between Capel Curig and Porthmadog. The most popular approach for most though will be from the A5 Bangor junction. From the junction turn right at the second smaller roundabout and follow the signs for the A4244 to Llanberis. Before you reach Llanberis at the junction of the A4086 turn right towards Caenarfon instead. After just a mile at Llanrug turn left down a minor road to Ceunant. When you reach the A4085 at the end of this minor road turn left towards Beddgelert which is now a scenic nine mile drive passing Llyn Cwellyn.
  2. There is plenty of parking in and around Beddgelert. At the time of writing these directions I am pleased to say that there is even a free public car park at the northern end of the village just off the A4085 at grid reference SH588482.
  3. From the car park walk north along the A4085 main road. There is a pavement on the western side of the road. After passing a few houses and the outdoor shop turn left down a track that cross a stone bridge over the beautiful Afon Colwyn. There is a sign saying "Private Road" which is intended for motorists, you can ignore this sign if you are on foot as this track is also a public bridleway.
  4. Continue along the track. You will pass under a bridge that caries the Welsh Highland Steam Railway bridge. Stay on the track to the right when another appears on the left. The track which now has a stream on its southern side passes a farm on the right. The track then literally crosses the tracks of the Welsh Highland Steam Railway, enters a small wooded area then literally crosses the tracks of the Welsh Highland Steam Railway a second time.
  5. You will eventually reach a farm where you turn right through a gate on to the bridleway and footpath which are clearly sign posted. The well laid bridleway crosses wetland, half way across the wetland turn left and follow the footpath to a wooden stile over a stone wall at the foot of Moel Hebog's north eastern ridge.
  6. Head over the stile and start ascending the grassy ridge. There isn't much of a path but as long as you head up towards the higher ground and follow the lines of worn out grass you can't go wrong. As you near the crest of the grassy ridge a broken stone wall is crossed and then there is a small wooden marker you can target.
  7. Once you are on the crest of the ridge turn left and start ascending the crest of the ridge. Head through the metal gate when you reach the last stone wall. A fair slog up the steepening grassy ridge will eventually deliver you to the bottom of the much rockier summit ascent. Before tackling the steep section up the loose scree I would recommend turning around and admiring the incredible views across Beddgelert towards pointy peaks like Y Garn, Moel Siabod, Cnicht and the Moelwyns.
  8. The path now zig zags up the loose scree disappearing in places and requiring some tricky and hands on scrambling at times. The path then heads right then left after the scree and reaches the north east end of the summit plateau. Continue walking in a south westerly direction in the obvious direction of the higher ground. There is a false summit before reaching the true summit where there is stone trig point pillar by a stone wall which crosses the summit.
  9. On a clear day you will experience incredible views from the summit. Almost the entire North Wales coastline including Anglesey, the Lleyn Peninsula and Cardigan Bay. Across the valley the easily recognised pointed summit of Snowdon. To the South and East the pointy summits of Y Garn, Moel Siabod, Cnicht and the Moelwyns. North beyond the next targets Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn, the stunning Nantlle Ridge and to its left the impressive Mynydd Graig Goch.
  10. Descend from the summit of Moel Hebog in a north westerly direction down a very steep grassy slope with the stone wall on your left. The grassy slope can be intimidating especially on a wet day. I would suggest purposely zig zagging down the slip similar to the technique used when skiing to negate the lessen the gradient.
  11. You will eventually reach the col of Bwlch Meillionen. From the col ascend a path towards a fascinating narrow cleft in the crags at the foot of Moel yr Ogof. The route through the narrow cleft is less of a squeeze than it appears from a distance. It is however shaded from the sun so gets cold and icy in the winter.
  12. Moel yr Ogof translates to Mountain of the Cave. There is a famous cave on the eastern side of Moel yr Ogof known as Ogof Owain Glyndwr. It is said that the 14th century Welsh ruler Owain Glyndwr retreated and hid in this cave during his unsuccessful revolt against the English rule of Wales. Visiting the cave requires heading off path on some rough ground and section of hands on scrambling. If you wish to visit the cave turn right after the cleft and keeping to the same height as much as possible round the buttresses to the eastern side of the mountain.
  13. If you do not wish to visit the cave then continue along the path after the cleft. You will cross a metal walkway crossing a stunning tarn which is home to Black Newts. After the tarn the path turns right and ascends steep ground to the summit of Moel yr Ogof. The summit of Moel yr Ogof is narrower and feels more exposed than Moel Hebog. There are stunning views east towards Snowdon, Yr Aran, Moel Siabod, Cnicht and The Moelwyns all of which look surprisingly pointy from this viewpoint.
  14. From Moel yr Ogof descend north into the col then ascend the boulder strewn summit ridge of Moel Lefn. There is an easier path to the left that goes round the back of Moel Ogof but there is fun to be had scrambling over the boulders to the true summit. The views that can be had whilst sitting on the grassy northern end of Moel Lefn are incredible. You can admire the entire length of the Nantlle Ridge and get an unfamiliar angle of Snowdon over the roof of the beautiful Beddgelert forest.
  15. Descent from Moel yr Ogof looks impossible when you are stood looking down the steep grassy slopes on its northern end. However there is a distinct path if you stay left at the same time as descending north. The path gets steep, loose and rocky in places and turns left at one point then right again eventually heading towards the col and the edge of the forest
  16. The path reaches the forest next to a disused quarry, part of the old Princess Quarry. Turn left over a wooden stile and continue along the path keeping the stone wall and forest on your right. The path here is a treacherous mix of mud and loose slate so take care. You will eventually reach a few gaps in the stone wall and behind them you will see a wooden stile into the forest. Head through the gaps in the wall and over the wooden stile into the forest.
  17. Descend the path through the forest until it reaches a tarmac road. At the tarmac road turn left and then almost immediately right back into the forest. The path crosses a bridge over a small stream then ascends a small knoll before splitting into two at a marker post. Follow the path to the left which descends steep ground with many tree roots. You will eventually pass through a broken stone wall and reach another tarmac road.
  18. Turn right along the tarmac road until you reach the tranquil Llyn Llywelyn. Continue past Llyn Llywelyn along the same road until you reach a crossroads. At the crossroads turn right down a smaller track following the red and blue markers. When you reach the next crossroads go straight ahead down an even smaller track that is laid with cobbles at the start. This track eventually reaches an area of deforested open land. The track passes under the Hafod Ruffydd Uchaf self catering cottage and Oriel Ruffydd Uchaf art gallery.
  19. Shortly after Hafod Ruffydd Uchaf the track reaches a junction. Do not turn left following the blue and red signs towards the forestry car park, instead turn right in the direction of the camp site at Meillionen. The road turns left after a while, here turn right on to the footpath which crosses a stone bridge over the Afon Meillionen. Descend the path through the woods with the Afon Meillionen on your left until you reach a track down to the railway crossing behind the camp site.
  20. Do not cross the railway into the camp site, instead turn right along a track signposted to Beddgelert. Walk along the track with the railway on your left. Just after Meillionen station the track splits. Turn right and ascend the track signposted to Beddgelert. After a short ascent turn left following the bridleway on a wooden footbridge over the Afon Glochig.
  21. Continue along the well laid bridleway. You will eventually find yourself at the place where you split away from the bridleway earlier in the day to climb the north eastern ridge of Moel Hebog. When you reach the farm head through the gate, then turn left and continue along the road retracing your earlier steps. You will eventually return to Beddgelert where you can enjoy a refreshing pint, tasty meal, award winning ice cream or sit by the Afon Colwyn.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL17 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 115 Map Click to buy Harvey Snowdonia Mountain Map Click to buy Pathfinder Snowdonia Walk Guides

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.