Where to Go Wild Swimming in Snowdonia

Lake Bala, Llyn Tegid in Welsh, is a popular spot for watersports and wild swimming
Lake Bala, Llyn Tegid in Welsh, is a popular spot for watersports and wild swimming | © Rob Carter / Alamy Stock Photo
Hannah Freeman

Snowdonia National Park, in North Wales, is a magnet for wild-swimming enthusiasts, and for good reason. The lakes offer a tranquil, safe haven for swimmers, and a superb mountainous backdrop. So, if you’re a wild swimmer seeking some Welsh solace, here’s our guide to the best spots in Snowdonia. Looking for adventure? Join our carefully curated five-day trip to North Wales to be led by a local guide along mountain trails and coastal paths – with adrenaline rushes aplenty.

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Blue Lagoon, Golwen Quarry, Moel-y-Faen

Enter a tunnel and emerge in a deep green pool. With high rocks surrounding you, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d entered a magical land. Dive from rocks into a wild oasis.

Llyn Dinas Caernarfon

Near Beddgelert in North Wales, this shallow lakes covers 60 acres (24.5ha) and is perfect for a wild swimming excursion. Formed by the River Glaslyn, it takes its name from the nearby mountain Dinas Emrys.

Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris

On the southern edge of Snowdonia National Park, nestled in the formidable mountain Cadair Idris, Llyn Cau is a dark blue crater lake. A 20-minute walk from the nearest carpark, this isolated pool makes for an excellent wild swimming spot.

Llyn Gwynant, Caernarfon

Simply breathtaking, with easy access and nearby parking, Llyn Gwynant is one of the great lakes of North Wales – swim across to Elephant Rock and jump in the cool waters. Lying on the River Glasyn, this 124-acre (50ha) lake is just 2mi (3km) from Mount Snowdon. It was also used as a location in one of the Lara Croft films, so it has excellent pedigree.

Watkins Path Waterfall, Snowdon

Located a little off the Snowdon Watkins Path, this series of pools is a rather well-kept secret. Perfect for wild swimming, this is the ideal place to while away a summer’s day. The Watkins Path is the toughest route of six to the summit, and was named after local politician Sir Edward Watkins and officially opened by then prime minister William Gladstone in 1892.

Bala Lake, Bala

Possibly the most famous lake in North Wales, in Welsh it’s called Llyn Tegid (Fair Lake). Fed by the River Dee, and originally much bigger, much of the water was diverted from the lake when British engineer Thomas Telford constructed the Ellesmere Canal over the border in neighbouring England. The lower water level resulted in this pretty lake which is 4mi (6km) long by 0.5mi (0.8km) wide.

Llyn Du’r Arddu, Clogwyn

One of the most remote lakes, found just beneath the Llanberis Path, Llyn Du’r Arddu is overshadowed by a rocky outcrop. Only accessible by foot, the lake has a small beach and gets considerably deeper as it reaches the rock face. It is said that Welsh fairies, the Tylwyth Teg, live here – so watch out for mischief.

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