5 Waterfalls you need to visit in North WalesPublished on 12 Jul 2022 by Amy Greenwood
In today’s post we’ve listed five of our favourite waterfalls in North Wales, whether you’re looking for a family day out, a railway adventure, an easily accessible waterfall or maybe you’d like to see the natural phenomena of salmon jumping! There’s even a waterfall on the list that is perfect if you’d like to dip your toes in and try wild swimming!
If, like me, you also love a waterfall then you’ll be pleased to hear there are lots of waterfalls to choose from in North Wales. Some are pretty little falls that gush down the mountainside in surprising places and you’ll stumble upon them accidentally. Others are major tourist attractions that involve turnstile gates and admission fees.
But all of the waterfalls in North Wales are beautiful!
There’s something magical and magnetic about a waterfall. It draws you in with a powerful force that attracts you to get as close as possible…but then quickly scares you away with the roar of the gushing water!
A waterfall excites all the senses as you hear the roar, feel the gentle spray of the water on your skin, smell the fresh mountain air that’s carried in the falls and see the magnificence of this natural beauty.
One of the best things about visiting waterfalls is that they get better with the more rain we have! Everyone knows we have an abundance of rainfall in Wales so don’t let any rain put a damper on your holiday, just embrace it and know that it’s making your trip to the waterfalls even better!
Here are five of our favourite waterfalls in North Wales to visit during your holiday!
Best for: A family day out
Aber Falls, or Rhaeadr Fawr in Welsh, is a majestic waterfall near Abergwyngregyn in Gwynedd. Standing at 37 metres tall (127ft) the waterfall is impressive in terms of size and location. Set within the dramatic mountains of Snowdonia, the walk to reach Aber Falls is just as wonderful as the waterfall itself.
One of the best things about Aber Falls is the accessibility to reach it. The waterfall may be hidden within the rolling hills but there is a stoned footpath to reach it with just a gradual incline at the end. An off-road pushchair or an all-terrain wheelchair would manage the footpath, which takes around 30 minutes to walk along from the car park to the waterfall. There is plenty to stop and look at along this walk, as well as benches and perfectly placed rocks to sit on, so this walk often takes my family anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours each way.
The waterfall cascades down the rock face into glimmering pools at the bottom where brave swimmers may take a dip! The shallow river below makes a great place for a paddle and for dogs to cool off and kids love clambering over the rocks.
You’ll find the Aber Falls Gin Distillery nearby where you can pop in for lunch and a tipple or take a distillery tour and gin tasting experience!
Best for: To see salmon jumping
Conwy Falls, or Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd, is a roaring spectacle of a waterfall with all the force and energy you could wish for.
The Welsh name translates to Grey Rock Waterfall and it is unknown why the English name references Conwy which is actually almost 20 miles to the north.
The 15 metre waterfall is accessed via a short but fairly challenging footpath that leaves from behind Conwy Falls Cafe. Sections of the footpath are steep and do require you to be steady on your feet.
Enjoy the adventure as you walk along the tree lined footpath and eventually hear the roar of the falls.
If you visit Conwy Falls in August you may be lucky enough to see salmon travelling upstream and jumping up the incredible ‘salmon ladder’. The ladder was installed in 1993 to allow the salmon to zig zag upstream and jump up the falls.
Conwy Falls Cafe is well worth a visit following your walk to the waterfall. You may also wish to walk downstream and you’ll come to Fairy Glen, a magical, secluded gorge set in stunning scenery.
Best for: Easily accessible
Swallow Falls, or Rhaeadr Ewynnol in Welsh, is a stunning waterfall and made the list thanks to its accessibility as very little walking is involved to see the falls. Swallow Falls can be viewed from an easy to reach viewing platform which is located across the road from the Swallow Falls Hotel in Betws-y-Coed. Steps lead you further down along the platform to get a better view, but the waterfall can be seen perfectly well from the top of the platform.
Swallow Falls is 42 metres high and has multiple streams that tumble down to the rocks and join together to make the dramatic falls we can see.
The Welsh name, Rhaeadr Ewynnol, means Foaming Waterfall and it is thought that it has a different name in English due to a mispronunciation when English tourists began to visit in the early 20th century. It’s now one of the most popular attractions in North Wales and can be combined with a day in Betws-y-Coed for a perfect day out.
Dolgoch Falls, Tywyn
Best for: A waterfall and railway adventure
Dolgoch Falls in Tywyn, Gwynedd, is within Snowdonia National Park and is a stunning series of three waterfalls, all of which can be visited with a little hiking.
There’s a wonderful, one-mile circular hiking route that takes you to all three falls. It’s a beautiful and fairly easy hike suitable for most abilities so this is another great one to do with the whole family. The first section of the path to the lower falls is well maintained and suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Keep your eyes peeled for cave entrances which can be explored by inquisitive hikers. The caves are a relic of the areas mining past and a few can be found during your walk.
A popular day out is to visit Dolgoch Falls via stream train so this can be a great adventure for train enthusiasts young and old. Take the historic Talyllyn Railway to Dolgoch Station which is then just a short walk to the waterfalls. You can begin your journey at Tywyn Wharf, a station referenced in Thomas the Tank Engine!
Plaspower Waterfall, Wrexham
Best for: Wild swimming and a woodland walk
Plaspower Waterfall might not be the biggest or the most dramatic of all waterfalls in North Wales but it had to make the list because it’s such a great spot for wild swimming!
There are so many beautiful spots for wild swimming in Snowdonia but if you’re new to the activity then Plaspower is a lovely place to begin.
Leave your car at the Nant Mill Country Park car park (a small fee does apply) and follow the footpath to the left past the visitor centre. You’ll take a meandering 1.5 mile walk through the ancient woodland where a bubbling stream will be chasing you to your right. It’s a really beautiful woodland with some areas for children to play on giant carved wooden animals and insects!
As you’re nearing your destination you’ll start to hear the gentle rumble of the waterfall cascading into the pool below and you’ll know you’ve reached Plaspower Waterfall. If you’re feeling brave then jump in for an invigorating dip, but I wouldn’t blame you if you’d rather enjoy the falls from afar!
This waterfall is sometimes referred to as Bersham Waterfall which can be confusing if you’re searching for it online.
While you’re in the area you won’t be far from other local attractions such as Erddig Hall, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the pretty town of Llangollen and Chirk Castle.