Dolgoch Falls

Tywyn / Snowdonia National Park, Wales, UK (Great Britain)

About Dolgoch Falls


Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2014-09-02
Date last visited: 2014-09-02

Waterfall Latitude: 52.61892
Waterfall Longitude: -3.98825

Dolgoch Falls was really a series of three waterfalls all running fairly far apart from each other on the Nant Dol-goch.

While the signs indicated the trail was said to be a modest one mile in length in each direction, it got surprisingly sweaty and hot on the partly cloudy day that we did this hike.

Dolgoch_Falls_097_09022014 - Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch Falls

Part of the reason we languished on the hike was that it was steeply uphill on the way to the uppermost waterfall.

Moreover, the trail was pretty much sheltered from any breezes or wind since we were deep inside a gorge, which conspired to make the hike feel muggier.

The trail followed the stream almost the entire way, and in a bit of a surprise, we passed by several cave entrances.

We even noticed a young spelunking group who happened to be on the trail with us while donning hard hats with headlamps as they explored these caves.

Experiencing Dolgoch Falls – From Car Park to the First Falls

Dolgoch_Falls_015_09022014 - Julie and Tahia on the trail to Dolgoch Falls shortly after passing by the cafe and about to go under this railway bridge
Julie and Tahia on the trail to Dolgoch Falls shortly after passing by the cafe and about to go under this railway bridge

Julie, Tahia, and I all began from a large car park in front of a hotel and restaurant (see directions below), where we paid 2 pounds to park for four hours.

After walking on the well-signed and wide trail besides the hotel, we then went through a gate where right behind it was a donation box as well as a spur path leading to the Dolgoch Train Station.

Shortly after this, we then crossed beneath what appeared to be a partially concealed arched railway bridge before the trail followed the Nant Dol-goch stream in earnest.

We then went past a branch in the trail where the right branch went across a bridge traversing the stream before continuing upstream.

Dolgoch_Falls_028_09022014 - This was the first waterfall, or what I'm calling the Lower Dolgoch Falls
This was the first waterfall, or what I’m calling the Lower Dolgoch Falls

We decided to continue to the left of this junction, and barely 15 minutes from the start of our hike, we suddenly came upon the lowermost of the Dolgoch Falls.

This first waterfall appeared to be viewable from the other side of the stream, which we knew we could get to from that bridge we skipped earlier.

But we figured we could come back to that side towards the end of the hike.

In any case, this first of the Dolgoch Falls was short (maybe 10m tops) but quite attractive with its two-tiered drop.

Dolgoch_Falls_024_09022014 - The entrance of the cave (or tunnel) besides the first Dolgoch Falls
The entrance of the cave (or tunnel) besides the first Dolgoch Falls

Right besides this falls on our side of the stream was an eerie cave entrance.

I actually took some time to go in there trying to see where it ultimately went though I didn’t bring out a torch.

Still, there was enough natural dim light for me to get to the opening on the other side of this apparent tunnel, and that was when I was stopped by a locked gate.

It didn’t look like there was much of a trail continuing on the other side anyways so I turned back.

Experiencing Dolgoch Falls – From the First Falls to the Second Falls

Dolgoch_Falls_035_09022014 - Tahia going up these steps on the way up to the Middle Dolgoch Falls
Tahia going up these steps on the way up to the Middle Dolgoch Falls

Beyond the first of the Dolgoch Falls, the trail then proceeded to climb steeply above the main drops of the waterfall.

We opted to continue following along the Nant Dol-goch stream while seeing a few more smaller upper tiers of this lower falls.

There was another branch of the trail that went left (further away from the stream), but that went to the Ceunant Dolgoch (cuenant meaning “ravine”), which we decided to skip.

Then, we reached another branch in the trail where a bridge crossed the stream above the falls, and I was sure it would loop back down to the other side of the first bridge we saw.

Dolgoch_Falls_063_09022014 - Another cave entrance (this one was near the second Dolgoch Falls) that a group of young spelunkers were about to explore
Another cave entrance (this one was near the second Dolgoch Falls) that a group of young spelunkers were about to explore

Again, we left this for later.

Next, the hike continued to meander alongside the Nant Dol-goch stream while climbing gently and passing by a couple of more cave entrances.

One was near a bridge, and so the bridge was named Pont yr Ogof, which I believe would translate to mean Cave Bridge.

Anyways after nearly another 30 minutes of hiking beyond the first waterfall, we then reached a viewing area of the second Dolgoch Falls.

This one featured a two-tiered drop (as shown at the top of this page).

Dolgoch_Falls_068_09022014 - Looking against the sun at the Middle Dolgoch Falls from a partial and somewhat overgrown lookout
Looking against the sun at the Middle Dolgoch Falls from a partial and somewhat overgrown lookout

However, during our visit, there was a lot of overgrowth conspiring to keep us from seeing as much of the waterfall as we could.

The mid-day sun was also right against us so that kind of made taking photos difficult.

Experiencing Dolgoch Falls – From the Second Falls to the Third Falls

Right after this Middle Falls, we then continued up even more steep steps.

This trail would switchback its way up to the uppermost reaches of the gorge yielding some short glimpses of the valley below.

After about 10 more minutes, we then were at another bridge spanning the Nant Dol-goch (though a sign called this one bridge 4).

Dolgoch_Falls_083_09022014 - Looking up at the Upper Dolgoch Falls, which were this series of cascades at the very top of the trail
Looking up at the Upper Dolgoch Falls, which were this series of cascades at the very top of the trail

At this bridge, we got a view of the third and last of the Dolgoch Falls.

This waterfall was more like a rocky cascade, and I’d argue it was a bit of an anticlimactic end.

However, just beyond this bridge, there was a very peaceful picnic area where it was possible to just chill to the soothing sounds of the stream as well as the nearby waterfall.

This picnic area was the end of the trail as it didn’t continue further downstream so we had to retrace our steps.

Experiencing Dolgoch Falls – From the Third Falls back to the Car Park

Since the return hike was mostly downhill, things would go a bit quicker.

Dolgoch_Falls_106_09022014 - Crossing this bridge over the Nant Dol-goch as we returned on a trail following the other side of this stream
Crossing this bridge over the Nant Dol-goch as we returned on a trail following the other side of this stream

On the way back, we returned to the spots that we had skipped on the way up.

This included the middle bridge at the top of the first waterfall, which led us onto a different trail that passed by a thin but attractive small cascade.

Then, we noticed a couple of spur trails leading to overlooks letting us look down at the Lower Dolgoch Falls.

Eventually, the trail would switchback one last time before we’d reach the base of that first waterfall on the other side of the stream.

Dolgoch_Falls_126_09022014 - Back at the first of the Dolgoch Falls from the other side of the Nant Dol-goch, which seemed to have a pleasing view perfect for taking pictures
Back at the first of the Dolgoch Falls from the other side of the Nant Dol-goch, which seemed to have a pleasing view perfect for taking pictures

This was that view that we noticed earlier in the hike that we opted to punt for later (which was now).

From this viewing angle, the Lower Dolgoch Falls was tumbling more directly towards us so it looked thinner and more vertical than before.

Still, it was a nice little photo spot for people shots so I took plenty of photos of Julie and Tahia smiling before the falls at this spot.

Eventually after 90 minutes on the trail, we were back at the large car park where Julie treated herself to some takeaway sandwiches at the cafe here.

Welsh Nomenclature

I didn’t see a formal Welsh name for the Dolgoch Falls.

Dolgoch_Falls_043_09022014 - Julie and Tahia on the trail to Dolgoch Falls, which meadered along the Nant Dol-goch for most of the hike
Julie and Tahia on the trail to Dolgoch Falls, which meadered along the Nant Dol-goch for most of the hike

However, I’d imagine it could be called Rhaeadr y Dol Goch, meaning the waterfall of the red meadow.

That’s because dol means meadow and coch means red.

It’s not clear to me the reasons behind the red meadow reference (assuming I interpreted the name correctly).

By the way, according to my Welsh dictionary, nant means stream so Nant Dol-goch would be the “red meadow stream”.

Authorities

Dolgoch Falls resides in Snowdonia National Park in Tywyn in Gwynedd County, Wales. It is administered by the Snowdonia National Park Authority. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Dolgoch_Falls_009_09022014 - Julie and Tahia starting on the Dolgoch Falls Trail, which passed besides this cafe
Dolgoch_Falls_012_09022014 - After passing through a gate, we were then onto a paved trail that went by this donation box on the way to Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_021_09022014 - Closeup look at the first of the Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_026_09022014 - After encountering a cave by the first Dolgoch Falls, I explored to see where it went, and I wound up at its other end, which was blocked by this gate
Dolgoch_Falls_031_09022014 - Looking back at a young caving group standing before the first Dolgoch Falls probably queuing up to go inside that first tunnel
Dolgoch_Falls_029_09022014 - The path leading to Ceunant Dolgoch Ravine, which we opted not to do since we didn't know how much longer of a detour this would be
Dolgoch_Falls_032_09022014 - After the Lower Dolgoch Falls (Rhaeadr Isaf), we had to go mostly uphill to reach the remaining Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_037_09022014 - Some hidden tiers of the cascade on the Nant Dol-goch above the main drops of the first Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_046_09022014 - The stretch between the Lower and Middle Dolgoch Falls was a fairly extensive section of flat trail even passing by some picnic tables
Dolgoch_Falls_048_09022014 - Julie and Tahia continuing along the scenic Dolgoch Falls between the Lower and Middle waterfalls
Dolgoch_Falls_052_09022014 - This bridge was called the Pont yr Ogof (Cave Bridge) because it was nearby another cave
Dolgoch_Falls_054_09022014 - Looking downstream over another cascading section of the Nant Dol-goch, which might have been another named part of the Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_056_09022014 - Looking right at the entrance of what I believe to be the second cave along the Dolgoch Falls Trail
Dolgoch_Falls_062_09022014 - Passing by an attractive cascade somewhere between the middle and upper Dolgoch Falls. Some might argue that this was actually the Middle Dolgoch Falls though we've opted to just call this an intermediate cascade
Dolgoch_Falls_065_09022014 - Beyond the cave by the Pont yr Ogof, the Dolgoch Falls Trail continued climbing some more
Dolgoch_Falls_072_09022014 - Looking against the sun at what I'm calling the Middle Dolgoch Falls (though I've seen others call this the Upper Dolgoch Falls)
Dolgoch_Falls_075_09022014 - Julie and Tahia continuing the climb up the narrow path beyond the second or Middle Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_079_09022014 - Again, meandering alongside the Nant Dol-goch as we were getting closer to the last of the Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_088_09022014 - This was the tranquil picnic area by the uppermost of the Dolgoch Falls.  We had to turn back at this point as the trail dead-ended
Dolgoch_Falls_090_09022014 - On the way back down the Dolgoch Falls Trail, we got a chance to get this nice view of the valley
Dolgoch_Falls_097_09022014 - Making it back down to the Middle Dolgoch Falls (or Upper Dolgoch Falls if you counted one of the smaller ones further downstream as the middle one)
Dolgoch_Falls_101_09022014 - One last look at the Middle Dolgoch Falls where we still had to fight the sun and shadows
Dolgoch_Falls_103_09022014 - This was a thin but attractive side cascade as we went on the other side of the Nant Dol-goch towards the Lower Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_107_09022014 - Julie and Tahia descending a switchback on the other side of the Nant Dol-goch and the Dolgoch Falls Trail
Dolgoch_Falls_108_09022014 - Looking upstream past some small cascades towards a footbridge over the Nant Dol-goch
Dolgoch_Falls_117_09022014 - Back at the Lower Dolgoch Falls on the other side of the Nant Dol-goch stream
Dolgoch_Falls_123_09022014 - Direct look at the Lower Dolgoch Falls
Dolgoch_Falls_135_09022014 - Back at the gate separating the reserve containing Dolgoch Falls (part of Snowdonia National Park, I believe) from the cafe and hotel

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We visited Dolgoch Falls as part of a long loop drive that started and ended in Conwy.

Dolgoch Falls was in the far southwestern extreme of Snowdonia National Park though it could be argued that we were much closer to the Mid-Wales town of Aberystwyth than we were to the North Wales town of Conwy.

Dolgoch_Falls_003_09022014 - The spacious car park for the Dolgoch Falls, where there was a hotel and cafe
The spacious car park for the Dolgoch Falls, where there was a hotel and cafe

Anyhow, from Conwy, we drove south on the A470 for a little over 50 miles to the A493 in the southern part of Snowdonia National Park passing through Blaenau Ffestiniog as well as a handful of other towns.

This stretch of road took us roughly 75 minutes.

We then kept right onto the A487 (a pretty scenic part as it passed through a gorge) and followed this road for another 4 miles before turning left to go onto the B4405 road towards Tywyn.

Then, we followed the narrow B4405 road for the last 7.2 miles towards the well-signed car park for Dolgoch Falls on the left.

This final part of the drive passed by a scenic lake called Tal Y Llyn (The Tall Lake?), which was a nice photo spot.

Dolgoch_Falls_144_09022014 - The attractive lake called Tal Y Llyn seen along the drive to the Dolgoch Falls
The attractive lake called Tal Y Llyn seen along the drive to the Dolgoch Falls

Overall, this entire 63-mile drive took us 2 hours.

For some more context, Conwy was 27 miles (about 45 minutes drive) northeast of Caernarfon, 55 miles (over an hour drive) west of Liverpool, 83 miles (2.5 hours drive) north of Aberystwyth, 192 miles (4 hours drive) north of Cardiff, and 259 miles (4.5 hours drive) northwest of London.

Examining the first of the Dolgoch Falls with a cave next to it


Focused on the two-tiered main drop of Dolgoch Falls against the sun


Top down sweep of the uppermost (third) of the Dolgoch Falls ending downstream of the bridge where there's a picnic area


Another look at the first of the Dolgoch Falls except this time we were on the other side of the stream

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Tagged with: tywyn, snowdonia, national park, snowdon, conwy, caernarfon, aberystwyth, wales, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, gwynedd, nant dol-goch



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Dolgoch Falls (Wales UK) February 14, 2013 4:53 pm by Ruth Williams - The Dolgoch Falls are a series of three waterfalls near Tywyn in the South Western corner of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. There is a large (pay) car park in front of the Dolgoch Falls Hotel and from there it is about a one mile walk to see the falls. The path to… ...Read More

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