Walk Cwm Idwal and Twll Du / Devil’s Kitchen – Virtually

Walk Cwm Idwal and Twll Du / Devil’s Kitchen – Virtually

By Dave Roberts   

on February 23, 2023   No ratings yet.

Posted in Routes

Walk Cwm Idwal and Twll Du / Devil’s Kitchen – Virtually

Further Details

Route Summary:

A short family walk in Cwm Idwal that still covers some pretty rough ground

Start and Finish: Ogwen Cottage Visitor Centre

Distance: 5km

Ascent: 250m

Time: 2 hours

Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.


Toilets and snackbar at the visitor centre


The upper sections are quite rough, but you can cut this more difficult section off by heading along the path at the head of Llyn Idwal.

Public Transport:

There’s an infrequent T10 TrawsCymru Bus Service bus service between Bethesda and Capel Curig that stops at Ogwen but helpfully it doesn’t run on Sundays or Bank Holidays when most needed. Thankfully, the electric Bws Ogwen has been running since 2022 between Bethesda and Ogwen with a number of daily services.


Parking at Ogwen is horrific at peak times. There is limited parking at Ogwen –  £6.00 a day or 4 hours: £3.00, card payments only and there are EV charging points available. There are free laybys along the A5 towards Capel Curig, which are ideal at quieter periods but fill up fast at peak times.

Post Code for Sat Nav: LL57 3LZ

Weather Forecast:

Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

Recommended Guidebooks:

Recommended Maps:   

Walk Cwm Idwal and Twll Du / Devil’s Kitchen – Virtually Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk Cwm Idwal and Twll Du / Devil’s Kitchen – Virtually

Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia’s Glyderau mountains is one of the most popular ‘easier’ walks in Wales. Easy for Snowdonia is something else, as this path climbs up to over 500m in height, dominated by vertical crags of Twll Du / Devil’s Kitchen and the Idwal Slabs that tower high above the path and a sufficient feeling of elevation as you reach the high point and look down onto Llyn Idwal. While it may not be the toughest training for a challenge like the Three Peaks, it’s still a good little outing that will give you an hour or two in the mountains.

Cwm Idwal is a spectacular glaciated cwm (or a corrie or cirque) and has been visited by what is probably every single pupil that’s ever studied GCSE or O Level Geography. Twll Du means the ‘Black Hole’ in Welsh with the English moniker coming from the plumes of fog that often rises here resembling smoke which signifies that the devil is cooking. It doesn’t state what he’s cooking, but I don’t rate his skills if he’s creating that much smoke as surely he’d be cooking on a ceramic hob by now (not induction or gas, that’s far too good).

The views across to Tryfan, the Glyderau and the Carneddau is ample reward for comparatively little effort.

1 Start off from the Ogwen Partnership Centre / Visitor Centre for Cwm Idwal

The walks sets off from the car park at the shiny new visitor centre – make sure you rotate to see it! The path’s steady and well built, and often busy! It’s looking a bit overcast today, maybe it’ll lift with some luck.

2 – Follow the Footpath up to Cwm Idwal

There’s an attractive decorative gate here – with the view opening out so you can see Tryfan and Glyder Fach’s Gribin ridge.

3 – A Bit More Footpath

Slowly, but surely and the crags that encompass Cwm Idwal creep into view. You may need to walk forward to see the best of it, we’d be spoiling the anticipation if we just plonked you at the best bits. The mountain to the right is Y Garn and towards the left of the cwm you can see Glyder Fawr with its head in the clouds.

4 – Llyn Idwal / Cwm Idwal

Soon enough – you’ll arrive at Llyn Idwal, where the scale of the cwm becomes apparent. The route around the cwm heads on left towards the corrie’s headwall.

5 – Towards the Idwal Slabs

As the route continues towards the headwall of Twll Du / Devil’s Kitchen, the slopes to your left keep becoming steeper and more rugged. The slabs to the left of the view here are known as the Idwal Slabs and are a popular climbing spot. If you’re bored, see how many climbers you can count!

6 – Twll Du and the View across Llyn / Cwm Idwal

The high point is reached and there are summits that don’t boast a view like this!

Remember to rotate around in order to see Twll Du – anglicised as the Devil’s Kitchen – a spectacular crag that seems impregnable but has a walker’s path that somehow takes you to the top of the crags and the Glyderau beyond. Twll Du houses what is note by this reliable source the tallest waterfall in Wales – the little known Devil’s Appendix.

7 – Return Path

When you begin the return section, it becomes apparent how high you’ve walked! This first sections boasts views down towards Llyn Idwal and Pen Llithrig y Wrach and is full of interest.

8 – Llyn Idwal Beach

A beach is the last thing you might expect to find on a hill walk (ok, we can think of plenty of other less likely things – but you get the idea), but there it is. Makes an interesting final section before rejoining the path you walked up on.

9 – Bridge over the Afon Idwal

You may think that the geography field trip is a one off at this point, but no. A geography field trip is permanently assigned to occupy Cwm Idwal at all times, chosen by secret ballot. Just beyond the bridge, you turn left to rejoin the route back. Depending on the streetview, you’ll either find it a bit overcast or nicely sunny – so do you feel lucky punk?

10 – Return on the path to Ogwen.

Even on this final section, the route keeps on giving as views towards the mountains of Pen yr ole Wen and Tryfan dominate.

Unfortunately, you can’r get a sausage roll at the snack cabin at Ogwen, so heat one up in the microwave for the full authentic experience.


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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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