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FOUR WATERFALLS WALK IN THE BRECON BEACONS + MAP

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A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons
A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

The Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons is a well-trodden circular woodland walk that winds its way above the Afon Mellte and Afon Hepste River.

It’s an essential hike to complete when you visit Wales and certainly one of the best things to do in the Brecon Beacons.

Along the way, there are four waterfalls; Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, and Sgwd-yr-Eira.

Each one is accessed by diverting down a short – and often steep – pathway from the main trail.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know before you head out on this hike.

I’ll cover all of the key details about the route and let you know how to get there and what to expect on the day.

You’ll also find a  route map, some suggestions on where to stay and what else there is to do in the area.

I’ve put an FAQ in this guide, however, if you have any questions then pop them in the comments box.

Four Waterfalls Walk Details

A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

  • Distance | The distance of this hike is 7.2 kilometres. It’s a moderate distance that most children will be able to cope with.
  • Elevation | The total elevation of this hike is 275 meters. Over 7.2 kilometres, this makes it a relatively flat walk.
  • Duration | Typically, this takes most walkers around 2 hours. However, if like me, you love to spend time at the waterfalls and taking pictures, as well as stopping for some lunch, then I’d recommend budgeting around 3 hours for this trail.
  • Difficulty | The majority of this walk is easy, with the exception for one short section which leads back to the car. There is one other section which leads closer to the one of the waterfalls which is a little steep, however, this is optional.

How to get to the Four Falls trail

A road in the Brecon Beacons in Wales

The start of the Four Falls walk is the Gwaun Hepste car park in Aberdare.

By car | for those travelling by car, you’ll need to put Gwaun Hepste – Four Falls Trail Car Park into the sat nav.

This costs £5 for the day and is a fairly large car park, however if this is full then Cwm Porth car park is next to it and will not add much time to the walk.

You can also pay by card if you don’t have any cash.

Below are some approximate timings from major locations in Wales:

  • Cardiff: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Newport: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Swansea: 50 minutes

Read more: things to do in Cardiff by BRB Gone Somewhere Epic

If you need to hire a car, then Rentalcars.com are a reputable platform which scouts out all of the best deals on the market so that you’re never paying over the odds.

By public transport | If you’re planning to travel around the Brecon Beacons by public transport, then the closest you’ll get to this trailhead is Aberdare.

There is a train station here which is well connected to most other nearby towns and cities, however, you’ll need to get a 20-minute taxi from here.

What to expect of the day of your hike to the Four Waterfalls

Upon arrival, you’ll find a board map of the route.

You’ll see a green trail that hugs the edge of the river, however, this is no longer safe to walk on, and so the red route is what you will need to follow.

It’s well signposted throughout and there will be plenty of people embarking along the same trail, so it’s unlikely you’ll accidentally stray far from the route.

A woodland trail


By following the red route from the Gwaun Hepste car park, you’ll start along a flat, gravel surface for roughly 10 minutes before descending through woodland towards the first fall.

In total, it should take around 30-40 minutes to reach this point.

Unlike other walks in the Brecon Beacons, this walk is mostly sheltered by woodland, so you won’t see many of the surrounding mountains.

This makes it one of the best walks to do in the Brecon Beacons when it’s raining – because let’s be honest, you’re going to get wet from at least one of the four waterfalls anyway!

A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons
A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

At around the 3 km mark, you’ll stumble across Sgwd Clun-Gwyn which is the easiest of the four waterfalls to access – a few steep steps on some uneven and slippery rocks will lead you to the cliff edge viewpoint.

from here, you’ll get a great sight of the falls gushing down from above. And, although the smallest of the four waterfalls at 9 meters high, it’s still very impressive.

There are no barriers at this viewpoint, and so while it makes for a great photo opportunity, it’s slightly nerve-wracking to say the least!

We spotted a group of people doing some water sports here, which we later found out can be booked through – Gorge Walking Wales or Parkwood Outdoor Dolygaer if you want to give it a go too!

A bridge in the woods

Shortly after returning to the main track, you’ll begin to cross bridges, hop over streams and wander along an undulating pathway towards the second and third waterfalls.

You’ll get to a point where you’re faced with another board map and you’ll have the option to divert down a track to the right towards the falls.

It follows a series of different terrain, including some slippery rocks and stairs, however, it’s all ultimately quite steep and requires some focus to get down to the waterfalls, particularly on a wet day!

A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

Once at the bottom, you’ll find Sgwd y Pannwr directly in front of you.

It’s a pretty fall that sprawls out onto a host of surface rocks, creating small pools that are shallow enough to walk through.

A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

Staying at the surface, you’ll be able to follow the wooden-planked pathway to the right and walk alongside the Afon Mellte River towards the third waterfall – Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn.

As the falls become louder you’ll begin to see the second section of the waterfall that cascades over the rocks.

You can stay here to see the waterfall from below, or you can clamber up and over the rocks before getting to a small and narrow pathway to get a closer look at the top of the waterfall just like we did – this was well worth the short burst of effort in our opinion!

As you return from the viewpoint, you’ll have the opportunity to join the old pathway (the green route).

To take this option, you won’t go back down to the base of the waterfall, but rather straight ahead until you join the narrow trail that winds up the cliff edge – this is much faster than going back on yourself, but of course, taken at your own risk.

If you’d rather stick to the red route, then simply return the same way you came until you reach the main four falls trail route.

Regardless of whether you return along the red or the green route of the Four Falls trail, you’ll end up at the top of the cliff and recognise your surroundings.

A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons
A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

From here, you’ll continue along the green route for a short while before seeing a signpost to the final and most spectacular of the four waterfalls – Sgwd-yr-Eira.

A plethora of steps zig-zag their way down to the waterfall, where you’ll get a great view of the curtain-like fall crashing down.

Not only are you able to get a great view of the front of the waterfall, but you’re able to walk behind it – although not without getting slightly wet of course!

As long as you’ve got a waterproof jacket on, it’s a great opportunity to take some great photos and videos – just remember to take a waterproof case for your phone!

A woodland trail.

After a breathless return up the steps to the main pathway, you’ll be ready to make the final leg of the Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons.

The remainder of the walk has slightly less tree coverage and follows a predominantly gravel trail for around 50 minutes.

Before long, you’ll discover the bursts of steady declines on the way down were actually much steeper than you originally thought, as you huff and puff your way back to the Gwaun Hepste car park.

Overall, this section of the walk is a mixture of flat and some fairly steep inclines, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.

Four Waterfalls Walk map

A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons
A river in the woods

My go-to platform for any walk is Alltrails.

Popular walks such as this one are usually already on the platform and if they’re not and I’m writing up a guide, I’ll create one for others to use.

The reason I love this platform is that you can download the route map ahead of time so that even when you have no phone network, you’ll still be able to follow the trail.

Whilst it’s always handy to follow a map, it’s not necessarily required for this one since it’s fairly well signposted.

It’s likely that there will be plenty of other people on the trail and since you’ll be chasing waterfalls, the sound should be your guide anyway.

Route map: Ystradfellte Four Waterfalls Walk

Brecon Beacons weather and the best time to hike

A waterfall in the Brecon Beacons in autumn

If you’re from the UK, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that the weather in the Brecon Beacons can be hit and miss, regardless of the time of year.

However, your best chance of some good weather tends to be between April and October.

This period includes the British summertime and is when most people flock to the Brecon Beacons to hike.

Yet, even if it’s raining, this is one the best walks to do in the area, since it’s mostly covered by trees and you’ll likely be getting a little bit wet if you head near the waterfalls anyway.

What to wear for hiking in the Brecon Beacons National Park

A pair of walking boots

As I just mentioned, Wales has some unpredictable weather, so it’s always best to pack for all the elements anyway.

However, one thing you’ll definitely need for this trip is a waterproof jacket and boots.

If you’re keen to get close to the waterfalls, then you’ll almost certainly get wet without these.

In addition, if you’re heading to the Brecons on a hot day and fancy a swim, then you’ll need to pack your swimmers and towel.

It’s also worth throwing in some waterproof shoes if you have a pair.

Below you’ll find a packing list for everything you might want to consider taking to the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Read more: 25 best gifts for people who like to walk.

Where to stay near the 4 waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Crickhowell

An image of Crickhowell Castle ruins in the village of Crickhowel in the Brecon Beacons. There is moss covering the castle and it is surrounded by a gate.
Crickhowell Castle

Crickhowell is around 45 minutes from the Four Falls trail and became the perfect base for me during my trip to the Brecon Beacons.

It’s a pretty town with a wealth of places to eat and quaint shops to pick up some souvenirs in – however, we found that most places closed just after lunch on a Sunday – so ensure you’re well-fed and watered (unlike us).

One of the best things about Crickhowell is the network of hiking trails from the town and the stunning views of the surrounding mountains – in particular, the well-known Sugar Loaf Mountain!

It’s also home to Crickhowell Castle – most of which is now ruins, but unique to the town nonetheless.

Suggested stays:

Llangorse

An image of Llangorse lake in the Brecon Beacons. There is a hut to the right of the image, and it's reflection is shown in the water.
Llangorse Lake

In the northeast of the Brecon Beacons is Llangorse; it’s roughly 40 minutes from the 4 Waterfalls Walk and has plenty to offer – most notably Llangorse lake, which is the largest in south Wales.

As to be expected, the lake provides a host of activities such as kayaking, waterskiing, and fishing – which are perfect things to do when the sun finally makes an appearance in Wales!

Can you tell that we didn’t have the best luck with the Welsh weather yet?

Don’t panic though, it appeared the whole of the United Kingdom was suffering from the wettest May in years, whereas you’d usually be slathering on the sun-cream.

Suggested stays:

  • Pen-Y-Bryn House
  • Aubreys of Llangorse

Brecon

Brecon town in the Brecon Beacons - there is a church in the image and cars driving down the road.
Brecon

Just over 30 minutes away from the trail is the lively town of Brecon.

Situated in the north of the national park, this historic market town is bustling with people during the day and night; restaurants and shops fill the streets, with a cathedral, canal, and museum also drawing tourists to the area.

Brecon also hosts the increasingly popular music event – Brecon Jazz Festival – during the first 2 weeks of August.

Suggested stays:

Things to do near the Four Falls trail

There are heaps of other fun things to do in North Wales, so here are some activities you can combine with your visit.

Henrhyd Falls

An image of Henrhyd Falls taken from the front. The shot is taken on a slow shutter speed to smooth the water and there are some green bushes in the foreground.
Henrhyd Falls

Being in the waterfall country, it’s not just the wealth of waterfalls on the 4 Waterfalls Walk which attracts visitors to the area.

Less than 30 minutes away is Henrhyd Falls – one of the biggest waterfalls in southern Wales with a whopping 90 ft drop!

It’s situated on National Trust land and is surrounded by stunning woodland, and of course, rivers!

And you may even recognise this fall if you’re into Batman – Henrhyd Falls is featured in The Dark Knight Rises, so it’s not just us that thinks it’s a worthy waterfall to pay a visit to in the Brecon Beacons!

Watersports in the Brecon Beacons

An image of a person Canyoning down a waterfall. He has a helmet and backpack on, and is gripping a rope and sliding down the fall.
Canyoning

As already mentioned, you’ll likely spot some people gorge walking along the trail.

Although we didn’t give it a go, it looked like great fun and can be booked through Gorge Walking Wales – they accommodate solo travellers, as well as large groups of 20+, and is a great activity enjoyed by all ages!

Similarly, Parkwood Outdoor Dolygaer offers a range of watersports, as well as some additional activities like archery and raft building.

Gorge Walking Wales: Sharman Cottage, Coughton, Ross-on-Wye HR9 5ST
Parkwood Outdoor Dolygaer: Dol-y-Gaer, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 2UR

Pen Y Fan

An image from the base on Pen Y Fan. Tom is standing in the foreground looking towards a lake that sits just below Pen Y Fan.
Pen Y Fan

Another popular hike in the Brecon Beacons is Pen Y Fan – although certainly not one for wet weather as it’s very exposed, providing some of the best views of southern Wales!

There are dozens of routes to the top of Pen Y Fan to cater to all levels – although there really is no getting away from the last, what felt like, vertical incline!

You’ll find that most routes start around 40 minutes away from the Falls trail and vary from 5km to 25km.

Brecon Mountain Railway

An image of Brecon Mountain Railway from a distance. There is steam coming from the train and mountains in the background.
Brecon Mountain Railway

Brecon Mountain Railway is another great way to see the Brecon Beacons when it’s raining – it’s also great if you’re legs need a day to recover after what will undoubtedly be a hiking heavy holiday!

The railway starts just outside of Merthyr Tydfil and chuffs along a 10-mile train track around the Brecon Beacons mountain range, taking approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

  • Read more: The Welsh love a mountain railway – we also found one in Snowdon.

Wings of Wales

A bird of prey
Bird of Prey

And last but not least on our list is Wings of Walesconservation, education, and falconry centre for birds of prey, run by conservation photographer and bird of prey handler – Lewis Phillips.

Lewis offers an array of activities, from walking with vultures to photography workshops. However, what’s clear from his 100% record of 5-star reviews is that customers leave having thoroughly enjoyed themselves and wowed by the numerous birds of prey at the centre.

FAQ

A waterfall along the four waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

  • Where is the best place to camp near the Four Falls trail?

    The two closest campsites to the trail are Bryn Bwch Camping and New Inn Camping, however these are fairly basic. If you don’t mind travelling a little bit further, then Spring Valley Lakes or Grawen Caravan & Camping Park are options to consider.

  • Is the walk dog friendly?

    Yes, this is very much a dog-friendly walk.

  • Are there toilets along the trail?

    The only toilets which you’ll find along the trail are some portaloos at the beginning of the walk.

  • Can you swim here?

    Yes, it is possible to do some wild swimming at various points along the trail.

Explore Wales further

A waterfall in the Brecon Beacons

The Four Waterfalls walk is one of the best walks in the Brecon Beacons. If you’re looking to explore the country further, then you can check out all of my guides here: Wales. If you’re looking for something specific, then simply pop this in the search bar.

Some of my favourites in the country are The Pyg Track up Snowdon and Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Stay Wild Travels.

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