Arthog Falls - a gem tucked out of sight

By Dan | Apr 4th, 2021 - 8:25pm

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At a glance

Key stats

Difficulty icon Difficulty: Intermediate
Distance icon Distance: 1 miles
Route icon Show Route

This is a point-to-point route, so the distance assumes you will retrace your footsteps

Brief Overview

Depending on your chosen start point, you might experience an easier or harder walk. The Mawddach Trail is light gravel and very smooth. The paths are Arthog Falls are generally stone steps but can be sloped and the area is often very muddy.

Navigation

The navigation button will take you to the car park mentioned in the article below, but if you are looking for a navigation point for the entrance to the falls on the roadside then navigate to 52.711990, -4.006479

Navigation

Navigate to: Min-Y-Don, Arthog, Wales
Latitude/Longitude: 52.713770, -4.014051
what3words: glee.disposal.refills

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Difficulty

Difficulty Icon

A rough estimate of difficulty, this does not factor in distance and is only based on the conditions of the route followed. A 20 mile walk on paved roads will be marked as beginner, whereas a 1 mile scramble up a mountain will be Advanced/Expert. Please consider both distance and difficulty when choosing a walk.

Beginner

Clearly marked routes that are easy going with smooth surfaces, little to no inclines or declines. Should be accessible to all.

Intermediate

May include some minor sections of uphill or downhill that could be a little challenging. Some surfaces may be loose or otherwise be difficult to pass. The vast majority of people should be able to tackle this walk, but good hiking shoes are absolutely recommended.

Advanced

Walks may be almost completely comprised of difficult terrain, be it up/downhill or difficult surfaces that are slippery or muddy. Some may struggle on this walk, hiking shoes and possibly hiking sticks are a must.

Expert

A very difficult walk, may require scrambling or climbing in parts. Appropriate preparation should be made before attempting these walks, as they may require additional equipment. These are very much for experienced walkers only and it may be worth having a guide who knows the area with you.


Length

Length Icon

A rounded estimation for the distance of the route shown, remember to factor in the return journey! Obviously, circular routes will end with you where you started, but any point-to-point walks have been doubled assuming you are going to retrace your footsteps. If the articles includes any suggestions for extra walks they will not be included in this value.


Route

Length Icon

The map displays a downloadable .GPX file that can be used in Satellite Navigation devices or apps. Walks shown will typically be the simplest route described in the article. Routes are for reference only, always remain on paths and be aware of your surroundings.


Navigation

We offer links to either copy or navigate to the destination, the navigate link should work on most modern platforms (If all else fails you can manually copy the text above the buttons!). It is recommended you use Latitude/Longitude rather than address whenever possible as it will be much more accurate and consistent across different navigation tools, but we understand that sometimes address is the only supported option so we include that too where applicable. Unfortunately, if your destination is in the middle of the countryside you may struggle to navigate by address.



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Driving through the town of Arthog, you would be forgiven for assuming there is nothing but a sleepy little village nestled at the base of the foothills of Cadair Idris. But hidden behind the dense canopy of leaves and behind the traditional Welsh stone walls is a group of cascades carving their way down the hillside that is well worth a stop-off, especially if you happen to find yourself already ambling down this side of the Mawddach Estuary. If you fancy a peaceful stroll in nature and want to spend some time listening to the roar of a beautiful set of falls then this is certainly the place for you - plus, like many of my favourite walks, this one can easily be tacked on to a much greater adventure with a little bit of planning.

Getting to Arthog Falls is simple, although parking may prove more of a challenge - if it wasn't for the parking situation, you could potentially consider Arthog Falls one of our quick stops. The town of Arthog is on the A493, between Fairbourne and Penmaenpool (the toll-bridge adjacent hamlet), it may feel like little more than a handful of terrace houses and a church but this is a lovely little village with a great connection to many sprawling walks. If you are navigating the old fashioned way and don't know which little blob of buildings is Arthog, keep an eye out for the road narrowing slightly as it turns over a bridge, this bridge is you crossing the Afon Arthog. There are no obvious markers for the falls, no dedicated car park and if you didn't know what to look for you wouldn't know where to go - but there are walks around here that can get you from quieter surroundings and back to where you need to be on the A493. There is a small car park near the Mawddach trail (a walking route that runs alongside, as you may be able to deduce, the Mawddach Estuary). The turning is near the church at Arthog, right around here; your route will pass through gates that you may need to shut behind you but keep heading down the lane until you arrive at a small space of parking on the left with a few picnic benches.

Walking the Mawddach trail from Barmouth Bridge

If I was to offer an alternative to driving, being so closely situated to the Mawddach Estuary and the aforementioned Mawddach Trail, Arthog Falls are a great candidate to combine with this walking route to create a full day's walk. For our last visit, we started out from Barmouth town, crossed the ever wonderful Barmouth Bridge on a still day with scorching sunshine and then enjoyed a shaded walk along the trail before turning off to arrive at the falls. Alternatively, you could start out from Dolgellau and walk in the opposite direction or, if you fancy a good descent down/climb back, you could start out from Cregennan Lakes and make your way down to the falls - a tough walk that will be a great strain on your ankles.



Assuming you are starting out from the previously mentioned car park on the Mawddach Trail (whether you parked there or walked the trail to this point), let's now map your walk to the falls. The simplest route is to head up the lane all the way up to where it joins with the A493, take a left and head towards Arthog along the road edge; there are no paths in this area and the roads narrow in parts so just take it steady and tuck in whenever the cars come past. Alternatively, you can cut the corner somewhat by following the footpath that diverges along a field beside the Afon Arthog - this is my preferred route as you spend less time on the road and more time walking alongside a peaceful babbling brook while the sheep look at you quizzically. From here, continue up the A493 towards Arthog (I prefer to stay on the left, on the same side as the church, as if the worst-case scenario happens and you encounter a couple of busses trying to pass in the narrow stretches, you can at least sit on the wall to get out of their way), and keep an eye out for an opening on the opposite side of the road - if you reach the driveway opening just before the bridge you have gone too far and if you cross the bridge you have definitely gone too far. In peak summer with the trees in full foliage, the opening can be tricky to spot, but the slabs leading up to the gate should be just about noticeable.

Making friends on the walk/walking the stairs at Arthog

With that bother out of the way, you are now free to enjoy the falls - you can probably already hear them, but you need to make your way up the hillside before you can see anything substantial. The ascension is nothing too draining, slabbed stairs sticking out of the hillside have the potential to be a bit muddy and wet but nothing that should deter you from visiting. Follow the path straight up until it evens out slightly, ignore a narrower path off to the right instead trek onwards until you reach a bridge over the falls.

This spot to view the falls may be familiar to anyone who has visited Cregennan Lakes in the past, as just up the way you can join the main road up to the lake from this side. You can explore a little around this area but the lower stretches of the falls appear to be mostly blocked off - scrambling upwards may be a bit muddy and mucky but the falls have a different character from every angle, so it might just be worth wandering around. Still, even if you choose to just admire the falls from the bridge for a moment, this is a wonderfully tranquil spot well worth the exertion to scale the little hill.

One of the many, many cascades at Arthog



Longer walks follow the Afon Arthog all the way up to Cregennan lakes, the aforementioned right path you avoided on the way up should let you explore the greater area and routes around here can take you all around the hillside, onto the lakes and beyond. One of the best things about Arthog Falls, in spite of its hidden away location that feels a little difficult to reach, is its great connectivity with other beauty spots and walkways in the area. This is a perfect fill-in spot to stop off at and as I often say, if you want to turn it into a days adventure you can just pick a path and wander onwards!

Hopefully, this taster of what you can expect from Arthog Falls has got you pencilling in a stop somewhere in your next adventure - it's such a great spot that you can often have all to yourself. This place is a walkers dream considering its isolated space, sure you can get here by the near(ish) car park, but donning your walking boots and sauntering your way down the Mawddach Trail as a nature-filled preamble to your waterfall adventure. Whatever your preferred route, if you do find yourself in the area Arthog Falls is well worth dropping by to grab a photo or two and to just enjoy the moment.

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