Heather Terrace is a popular approach route for scramblers and climbers who wish to ascend Tryfan via one of the many gullies and ridges on its east face. Hikers can also traverse the terrace en route to the south ridge of Tryfan which offers a fun scramble to the summit.
The terrace itself is not to be underestimated as route finding can be difficult, the start point at the northern end is very close to the start of Tryfan’s North Ridge route – a tricky grade 1 scramble. Many hikers and scramblers get lost here as the route is difficult to find, especially in low cloud.
The purpose of this article is to help you get to Heather Terrace and avoid overshooting onto the North Ridge. It does not replace a map and compass, which I recommend. Also, Heather Terrace is not an “easy” walk and there have been fatalities, the rocks can be slippery after rain but the biggest issue is navigation.
Park in the long layby between Glan Dena and the campsite at Gwern Gof Isaf.
The postcode is a little off: LL24 0EU.
What3Words is more accurate: ///invented.straws.polar
If you can’t find a space, park in any of the laybys next to the lake and walk along the footpath east towards Glan Dena at the far end of the lake.
Parking is currently free in the laybys and the small car parks next to Llyn Ogwen.
Try our Tryfan parking map which displays all the free parking places.
1) Directly opposite Glan Dena is a signposted path; follow this as it runs adjacent to the A5 up to the campsite at Gwern Gof Uchaf.
2) At the campsite, go over the steps and take a right. Follow this new path up to the left of Tryfan Bach, which is a popular climbing area. Don’t turn right in front of Tryfan Bach, instead follow the path up to its left-hand side.
3) Once above Tryfan Bach, take a right at the fence and follow the adjacent path towards Tryfan’s North Ridge. This path first dips and then climbs steeply. You should see the A5 and the campsite to your right and Tryfan to your left.
4) After ascending a steep section, you’ll find yourself in front of scree and larger boulders, and it’s here that many people get lost as the path isn’t clear. You need to turn left to get on Heather Terrace, but if you go over the boulders, you’ll end up on The North Ridge route.
This photo may help:
From a different angle:
This satellite image shows the route:
Imagery © 2023 Google, Airbus, Bluesky, Infoterra, COWI, Cnes/Airbus, Getmapping PLC, Landset, Maxar Technologies
This image shows the terrace and the terrain you’ll encounter. This isn’t a path but rather a boulder-strewn route interlaced with heather.
Below is a video showing two panoramas taken on Heather Terrace in October 2021:
Descents and Continuation
The safest way to exit Heather Terrace is to continue up to the south ridge, which is itself a grade 1 scramble. From here, you can ascend Tryfan or descend to a col, where you have several options of descent back to the A5, most of which are hiking rather than scrambling routes.
For those of you who enjoy scrambling and a challenge, there is a fantastic grade 1+ route up Nor’ Nor’ Groove, a popular gully between Heather Terrace and the North Ridge. Although it’s best tackled on a dry day, it’s a tremendous “off the beaten track” ascent to the Notch, only 20 minutes from Tryfan’s summit.
The photo below was taken from the Bristly Ridge and shows the south ridge, and the red circle indicates where the Heather Terrace joins the ridge.
Heather Terrace isn’t an easy route up to Tryfan’s summit, and many walkers get lost and end up on the North Ridge, or worse, in one of the gullies and steep sections.
Navigation is the biggest issue at the start, but wet, slippery rocks can also be a problem, although this side of the mountain is bathed in the morning sunlight and should dry out by lunchtime, weather permitting.
Approach time: 45 mins.
Traverse time: 45 mins.
Popularity: Popular with climbers and scramblers, with a few hikers also taking this route to Tryfan’s summit.
Watch out for: Navigation to the start of Heather Terrace in poor weather, slippery rocks.
Fun rating: 6/10.
Grade: Mostly a hiking route but some grade 1- sections over rocks.
My dislikes: It bypasses the North Ridge ascent, which is always a fun way to go up Tryfan.
Recommended Guide Book:
Whether you’re new to scrambling or already have plenty of routes to your name, try Scrambles In Snowdonia by Steve Ashton.
This book is a great read, and there are over 80 routes listed, from easier grade 1- all the up to severe grade 3+ lines:
Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton (#ad)
About Daniel Woodley
Hey! I really hope you found this guide to Heather Terrace helpful. At least you should now have an idea of what the terrain is like.
I created this page and the video because I’ve come across so many people that got lost and I’ve seen quite a few incident reports as well.
For first-timers, I suggest going up in good weather and earlier in the day so you have plenty of daylight and don’t need to rush off the mountain.
Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler