The Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia Hiking Route
Snowdonia National Park is one of the UK’s most revered nature areas. This alpine region in north Wales is dominated by impressive post-glacial features. It is a region shrouded in myth and mystery and it is also home to the UNESCO world heritage slate mines.
Snowdonia boasts some of the best mountain hiking in Britain and it contains the highest peak in Wales, Snowdon. In fact, Sir Edmund Hillary used the summits and arêtes of the National Park to train for his successful first ascent of Mount Everest!
Away from all the popular hiking trails and big peaks, there is a rock wall with an intriguing name, the Devil’s Kitchen. This is a fantastic hiking area for those wanting an unusual adventure away from the busiest spots of the park. To clue you in, here are the best hiking routes for exploring the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia.
What is the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia?
The Devil’s Kitchen is a fascinating rock formation located shortly outside of Bethesda in the Ogwen Valley. In Welsh, the Devil’s Kitchen is known as Twll Du which means “black hole”. It is named due to the trickling plume of smoke that rises from a crack in the rock. This smoke led to the belief that this was a chimney which runs underground to the hot fires of the Devil’s Kitchen!
To reach this gap in the rock, you must hike around Llyn Idwal and up the back wall of Cwm Idwal. There are a couple of different hiking options to reach the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia. Depending on your hiking ability and interests, you may wish to choose one route over the other.
Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen
Length: 7.6 km
Elevation Gain: 702 metres
Route Type: Loop
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
This is the most popular hiking route up the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia as it also includes a summit of the iconic Y Garn peak (a popular wild camping location). This trail begins at the Ogwen Partnership Centre. Here you’ll find parking, toilet facilities, a snack bar, and the YHA Idwal Cottage where you can spend the night in a bunkhouse.
The trail is fairly level for the first 2 km as it cuts across the Afon Idwal bridge. The path traverses some marshland before reaching the shore of Lake Idwal. After following the lakeside, the trail climbs up the valley wall. From here, near the top of the ridge, you will find the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia. Water is usually flowing through the rock fed by Llyn y Cwn which sits above the gap.
The path mounts the ridge and runs past the lake before ascending again to reach the summit of Y Garn at 947 metres. From here, the trail drops steeply down the far side of the ridge to Y Ro, a perfect place for wild swimming in the cold waters of Llyn Idwal. The path then meets the original trail for a short stroll back to the Ogwen Partnership Centre.
Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia and Llyn Idwal Circular
Length: 6.1 km
Elevation Gain: 547 metres
Route Type: Loop
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
This trail follows a similar route to the path mentioned above. However, it is a more direct climb to the Devil’s Kitchen and doesn’t include a diversion up Y Garn. That makes this trail both shorter and less demanding than the Y Garn trail. This may be a better option for hikers with children or those who wish to do an easier trail.
The hiking route also begins at the Ogwen Partnership Centre. However, after 350 metres, the path splits and two trails can be taken. For the more scenic route, head southeast towards Llyn Bochlwyd. You will then climb up a hillock that offers fantastic views over Llyn Idwal.
Alternatively, you can take the shorter route that runs to the southwest directly to the waters of Llyn Idwal. Both trails meet on the banks of the lake, but the longer and more scenic version will contain 100 metres of added altitude.
Once the trails converge, they follow the same path up the wall of Cwm Idwal to reach the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia. Hikers can then turn and walk back down the valley wall and join the circular trail that runs around the far side of Llyn Idwal and back to the car park.
Multiple hiking routes can be strung together to reach the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia. It’s possible to hike from the Snowdonia Pen Y Pass hostel up to Glyder Fawr and then over the ridge to Llyn y Cwn where you can drop down to the Devil’s Kitchen.
Alternatively, you can park further along the Ogwen Valley and scramble up to Tryfan. From there, you can spend a long day summit hopping from Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr before joining the trails that lead to the Devil’s Kitchen. Many of these peaks make for ideal wild camping locations for those hikers who wish to spend a night in the mountains.
The Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia is a wonderful hike for many different abilities. The surrounding landscape is extraordinary and the views from the valley bottom to the summit tops are spectacular. The Devil’s Kitchen is famed not only for its beauty but also for its story. The myth adds to the allure of the adventure and makes this a great hiking route for families or anyone who enjoys a tall tale!
The Ogwen Valley and Cwm Idwal are two of the best instances of glaciation anywhere in Britain. They are fine examples of a ribbon lake, glacial valley, arête, pyramidal peak, and cwm. Formed during the last ice age 20,000 years ago, that also makes this the ideal place to learn about geology and the processes that formed the natural world.
Hiking the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia is excellent for your fitness and provides the perfect excuse to get outside and appreciate the British landscapes. All these factors make this one of the must-do experiences when visiting Wales. Whatever route you chose, you’re sure to have a remarkable experience hiking the Devil’s Kitchen Snowdonia.