This is a circular walk taking in Llyn Cau, Mynydd Pencoed and Tal-y-Llyn Lake (Llyn Mwyngil). The route is 9.2 miles (or 7.2 miles without the optional end circuit around the lake). The full walk has an ascent of 2,900 feet.
The start point is the Minffordd car park (at 350 feet) and the summit is 2500 feet.
Leave the Minffordd (pay & display) car park by the toilets and walk towards the Dol Idris Tea Rooms (a nice place to stop for refreshments, but will be appreciated far more at the end of the walk). Continue along the path and join the Minffordd Path at the gates and sign. This path climbs steeply through the ancient woodland with some steps to help on the more difficult places.
Once you exit the woodland (just past the bridge down low over the mountain stream on your right), you get in to the hidden valley of Cwm Cau (Closed Valley). Follow this path along the until you reach a large long rock (with scars caused by glaciation) and then to the beautiful Llyn Cau (Closed Lake).
Just before you reach the rock you will see a path climbing steeply to your left. Make a note of this as you will be joining this later.
You don’t have to visit Llyn Cau as you will see it from on-high later, but it’s well worth stopping to sit-by one of the most beautiful and peaceful lakes in Snowdonia. It also makes a nice food break before the next big climb.
Go back to the path which climbs up to the ridge. This path is uneven and steep, so take care here. Once of the good things about this route is the fact that you don’t have to come back down this way, the route down is much easier on the knees.
Follow the path and soon you will see the hills to the south. Walk along the ridge with glimpses don to Llyn Cau down to your right and the odd glimpse of Tyn y Cornel Hotel & Tal-y-Llyn (Llyn Mwyngil) to your left.
Follow the path up over the loose rocks and scree to the stile and the summit of Mynydd Pencoed. From here you can peer over the edge and see the whole of Llyn Cau below (if you have a head for heights).
If you want to walk to the summit of Cader Idris, you can see it ahead and it’s only another 400 feet up, although you have to follow the path down before you start the climb. Just follow the path ahead as it curves around to the right.
From there, follow the fence to your right until you come to a stile on your left (taking care not to step in a few small ponds beside the path). Once you have crossed the stile, follow the grassy track down the ridge, past a large pretty pond on your left. Follow the grassy farm-track which meanders around the steeper parts, crossing a stream and eventually reaching a quiet farm track. Just before the track ends, it becomes quite rutted which can make it a bit tricky to find your footing in the long grass. Follow the path down and around to Rhiwogof Farm where it joins another track and ends at some green fields and a little wood and stream. Cross the stream and walk past the farm buildings and you come out on the road.
Turn right when you come to the road and walking around the lake anti-clockwise. If you do this, please be wary of the traffic on the far side of the lake (the B4405). Just after the lake ends, keep your eyes open for a footpath sign where you can cut across the fields and rejoin the quiet road. Turn right and follow it back to the car park.
If you want, you can decrease the walk by two miles, by turning left when you come to the road and following this quiet road, then rejoining the B4405 for the final quarter of a mile.