Gwydir Forest Park - Llyn Sarnau, near Betws-y-coed

Picnic spot with a walk to two hidden lakes

What's here

The car park is closed.


The Forest Lakes Walk is closed.


Coronavirus update


Our sites and most visitor facilities are open but, under the current coronavirus restrictions in Wales, this is intended only for the use of people who live locally.


You are strongly advised – in line with current Welsh Government regulations – not to drive to any of our sites to exercise unless you have specific health or mobility issues.


We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.



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.

The Forest Lakes Walk goes to two other lakes, which are hidden from view from the car park.

Walking trail

The walking trail is waymarked and starts from the car park.

Forest Lakes Walk

Distance: 2¾ miles/4.3 kilometres

Grade: Moderate

Highlights: Discover beautiful mountain and valley views, scenic lakes and old disused lead mines. 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.

Trail description: Most of this trail is on forest roads connected by rough narrow paths less than 50cm 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.

More information

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Accessibility information

  • dedicated blue badge car parking spaces
  • dusted paths lead from the blue badge car parking spaces to wheelchair accessible picnic tables with beautiful views

How to get here


Llyn Sarnau is two miles west of Llanrwst off the B5106.

It is in the county of Conwy.

Car parking is free of charge.


From the B5106 at Gwydir Castle, take the minor road into the forest, signposted for Geirionnydd. Llyn Sarnau car park is on the left, after passing Hafna car park.

From the A5 at Ugly House (Tŷ Hyll), take the minor road into the forest. Llyn Sarnau car park is on the right, before reaching Hafna car park.

Ordnance Survey map

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

The OS grid reference is SH 778 592.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Llanrwst. For details of public transport visit

Gwydir Forest Park

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.

Since Victorian times, generations of visitors have walked the woodland paths and fished the clear waters of the rivers here.

Today, waymarked walking trails allow visitors to explore this landscape of lakes, forests and mountains and to learn about its mining history.

There is also a mountain bike trail (which is graded red as it is only suitable for proficient riders), a forest garden and a waymarked walk to the famous Swallow Falls.

History of Gwydir Forest

Between 1850 and 1919, lead and zinc mining dominated the area. The legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.

Nearly all of the lakes in the forest were created to serve the mines.

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

Nowadays, as you explore the extensive, rolling upland of wooded knolls, lakes and pastures, you will find it difficult to imagine that this was once a derelict industrial landscape.

Exploring Gwydir Forest Park

Gwydir Forest Park covers an area of over 72 square kilometres (28 square miles) and it encircles the village of Betws-y-Coed.

Waymarked walks start from the following parts of Gwydir Forest Park:

The Gwydir Mawr Trail, a red graded mountain bike trail with big climbs and singletrack only descents, starts from Sawbench.

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000



Related document downloads

Forest Lakes Walk guide PDF [317.2 KB]

Other places in North West Wales