Pyramidal in appearance from the south, hikes up Pen yr Old Wen not only provide an enjoyable mountain name to roll around your mouth but they open up the entire, magisterial Carneddau range.
The first or the last in the range, depending on how you look at it, this mountain offers fantastic views over the Ogwen valley and the stunning Glyderau range to the south. With plenty of places to park along the A5, you can choose your starting point to suit, accommodating for any additional Carneddau peaks you want to sneak into the day.
Towering giants and breathtaking scenery
The same height as Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, Pen yr Ole Wen’s summit sits at 3,209 feet (978 m) and rises abruptly from the Ogwen Valley. If you’re feeling more mountain goat than human, you can hike directly from the A5 opposite the youth hostel.
This direct route is home to much scree and isn’t for first-time hillwalkers. It includes airy scrambles and the fantastically exposed Pinnacle Ridge. If you prefer, you can park at the eastern end of Llyn Ogwen and follow Afon Lloer to hike up Pen yr Ole Wen’s eastern ridge.
Hiking this sometimes overlooked summit is always a steep affair unless you arrive from another of the Carneddau, in which case your descent will be steep instead. Nevertheless, once you reach the peak, you’ll be duly rewarded (on a clear day) with jaw-dropping views of the Glyders and majestic Tryfan showing off her spiny ridge.
You can enjoy good hiking conditions throughout the year but if snow and ice descend, only experienced winter mountaineers should attempt this summit.
Find toilets, parking and a YHA in Pen y Benglog whilst more amenities can be found along the A5 in Bethesda, Bangor and Llanberis.
There are two options to tackle Pen Yr Ole Wen. The first route from the Youth Hostel is the most challenging; a steep, technical and scree-filled ascent to the 3,209 feet (978 m) high summit.
The second more comfortable trail starts at the Glan Dena Llyn Ogwen. Unfortunately, there is no easy option. Once you make it to the summit, though, prepare to be impressed with magnificent views over to Tryfan and the Glyders.
November 7, 2018
An almost pyramidal peak, Pen r Ole Wen looms over the elbow of Ogwen, watching from above as screaming jets pull hard right to skim along the valley floor. It’s a gateway to the Carneddau, a viewpoint for the Glyderau, a hill of pinnacled ridges and secluded cwms, and a beauty of a mountain.
December 13, 2019
Pen Yr Ole Wen is best tackled without getting a heart attack by coming up its eastern flank along a distinct path just east of Llyn Ogwen. This renowned peak is your stepping stone onto the Carneddau ridge and a scenic wonderland of superb vistas awaits you.
October 28, 2020
In the know? Log-in to add a tip for other adventurers!