Moel Siabod from Pont Cyfyng

Moel Siabod

Moel Siabod is one of those mountains famed for its perfect outlying position giving it excellent panoramic views to higher mountains. The views to the Snowdonia, Glyderrau and Carneddau ranges from Moel Siabod are awesome. It has an impressive pointy profile which drivers on the A5 often mistaken for Snowdon. This walk absolutely typifies Snowdonia's ruggedness and shows the walker fine examples of its fascinating industrial past with a walk through the old Rhos Slate Quarry ruins. The walk starts from the quaint village of Pont Cyfyng by the beautiful Afon Llugwy waterfalls. The route reaches the stunning and wild Llyn y Foel and then takes the walker up a fun and exciting scramble of its impressive Deaer Ddu south east ridge. After enjoying the summit views you then get to enjoy the panorama of the high North Wales mountain ranges all the way down the descent of Moel Siabod's long north east ridge. This walk splits over the OL17 and OL18 OS Explorer maps so be sure to take both as otherwise navigating off the summit on sheet OL18 may be difficult, especially in bad weather.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the quiet village of Pont Cyfyng situated on the major A5 trunk road between Betws y Coed and Capel Curig. There is layby parking on the side of the road by the lovely Cyfyng Falls at grid ref SH 735 571.
  2. From the main road head south over a pretty stone road bridge that crosses the Afon Cyfyng. This is a beautiful river with falls and wildlife set in a stunning valley.
  3. Head down the tarmac road but don't take the first footpath on the right, instead continue for another fifty metres and look for the rough road that ascends to the right with a cattle grid at its entrance. Don't be put off by any 'No Road Access' signs.
  4. The road takes a steady ascent towards Rhos Farm. As the road comes to a sharp right bend towards the farm follow the diversion footpath sign straight on that takes you through a diversion route that bypasses the farm completely before joining the road again.
  5. Where the diversion path meets the road again turn left and after fifty metres head through the gate or over the stile on the road. The road now becomes more of a track and heads out on to open land.
  6. Continue along the easy track for just over a kilometre, ignoring any paths to the right. You will eventually reach the shores of an unnamed dammed lake. The track bends right following the north shore of the lake and then swings left and makes its way in the direction of the old quarry spoil heaps.
  7. The track will round one large slate spoil heap and then reach a lovely water filled old quarry hole backed by a quaint waterfall on its back wall. There are some interesting old buildings and almost perfectly laid man made waterways.
  8. The path passes the small water filled quarry and continues in a west then south westerly direction for less than a kilometre towards Llyn y Foel over boggy ground.
  9. Llyn y Foel is the first natural lake you'll come across on the walk, it was created by the glacial hollow on Moel Siabod's eastern side. The silent and peaceful lake sits at 530 above sea level and is one of the best lunch spots you could ever ask for.
  10. The glacial hollow gives this side of the mountain its most exciting aspect with Llyn y Foel being flanked by one of Snowdonia's most famous ridges, the Daear Ddu. Head towards the foot of this ridge and make your way on to the fun scramble ascent of its crest.
  11. The Daear Ddu ridge is a fairly straight forward scramble without too many difficult steps or reaches required, you can stay slightly left of the crest if you find it too difficult. The ridge is about seven hundred metres long.
  12. Once at the top of the ridge it tops you out just a few metres from the stone OS trig pillar marking the highest point of the mountain. The views from this summit are stunning. The panoramic view north west is one of the main reasons people climb this mountain. From left to right Snowdonia, Glyderrau and Carneddau the three huge main mountain massifs of North Wales stand like the giants they are.
  13. To descend off the mountain head in a north east direction from the summit and take the long descent of Moel Siabod's north east ridge. The path simply sticks to the highest part of the ridge and descends on a very straight north east trajectory for two and a half kilometres. The only difficulties you'll find will be walking over the flat slabs in wet weather.
  14. Once you finally reach the bottom of the north east ridge head slightly right over open land and you will reach the track you left earlier in the day. Turn left at the track and head along it until you reach the stile and gate above Rhos Farm. Continue along the road for fifty metres then turn right to the diversion path you took earlier.
  15. The diversion path will take you back to the sharp bend below Rhos Farm. From there turn right and head down back to Pont Cyfyng and the start of the walk.
  16. You can finish off the day by visiting the bustling yet still surprisingly quaint almost alpine town of Betws-y-Coed where there is a vast amount of outdoor shops, cafes, restaurants and of course the lovely tumbling waters of the Afon Llugwy.

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.