Gorge walking Snowdonia
Scrambling Climbing swimming deep water Jumps
Gorge Walking Gorge Scrambling
The Afon Ddu Gorgewalk
Suitable for all ages and abilities, one of the most popular activities for groups of any size. Gorge walking in Snowdonia involves moving and paddling through the water in a rocky gorge formed by many years of erosion as the fresh mountain water followed the easiest path to the valley floor.
We navigate through a U-shaped gorge and see a spectacular waterfall swim through natural water pools, moving up and over any obstacles in this dramatic and highly dynamic environment.
Gorge walking Information
Suitable for age 6 years and over
Basic Safety Equipment
All safety equipment reflects the environment in which the sport is performed we provide
Please bring swimming gear, shorts to wear outside of the wetsuit, and trainers you're happy to get wet in.
What you can expect
The best gorge scramble in the Conwy Valley is the Afon Ddu Gorge.
Afon Ddu Gorge Scramble Gorge Walk Description
This gorge is on the west side of the Conwy Valley in a temperate rain forest, just south of the village of Dolgarrog. Firstly, just to stress that this is a ‘gorge’ scramble, not a ‘ghyll’ scramble. There are deep pools and you will need to swim! For this reason, it can be done in any weather (and better yet – we have a wetsuit!). The gorge is one of our most popular groups activities so be prepared for a lot of fun.
The second important point is that you shouldn’t confuse this with the Dolgarrog Gorge as this is more of a canyon and a little further north. Dolgarrog Gorge is much more serious and can flash flood due to a system of tippers at its top. Back to the Afon Ddu gorge walk. The route is probably graded 2, but the crux is a 5a boulder traverse – don’t worry though – if you fall you just get wet!
When approaching from the north down the B5106 drive through Dolgarrog. You will find a single-lane road bridge there is a parking area on the left at 775664 (near the waterworks at Pont Dolgarrog). The river flowing under the bridge is the Afon Ddu which flows out of the Llyn Cowlyd Reservoir.
We cross the road and walk up the track into the woods, turning left on a small path that leads to the river bank. Gain the river bed.
There are many possible lines early on. The first entertaining rock being an easy traverse on the right bank (looking up). We keep scrambling up until you reach a steep step with a waterfall round to the left. One possible way is up the middle of this step, squeezing through some boulders at the top called the elephants behind.
Above this comes the crux; the 5a boulder traverse. The walls narrow into a gorge, with a deep pool between them. There are some steps that lead out of the river bank if required on the right. When continuing, traverse the right wall of the gorge, the hardest moves coming at the end. Many a person falls in at this point but we have a rope for safety!
Beyond this, the U-shaped gorge steepens. Climb a waterfall a few feet high before escaping onto drier rock on the right. The next step is again taken on the right and the gorge opens up.
Scramble upwards with more choice of line. Some short mossy waterfalls can be climbed but are low grip. Keep on up the gorge until you arrive below a massive waterfall; epic! Thankfully this is avoided as it is far beyond the scope of climbing. We head up a left bank for a path and steps leaving the river bed. These zig-zag above the gorge and lead you out above the big waterfall.
Gaining the bed again and keep going on upwards. Most harder we use the rope.
Eventually, we reach a deep freshwater plunge pool and a path leaving on the right. This is the end of the gorge scramble.
After we take the path into the woods past a waterworks building to reach a track and follow this steeply back down through the woods to get back to the car park.