Sgwd yr Elra Falls from Penderyn

HARD 3 reviews

Sgwd yr Elra Falls from Penderyn is a 12.9 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Aberdare, Rhondda, Wales that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.9 km Elevation Gain: 458 m Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash



nature trips

paddle sports


bird watching




wild flowers



off trail

pub walk

Excellent hike with three legs; each the side of a triangle, and each of very different character. There are tremendous views of the river and various falls. The highlight of the route for many will be the crossing behind the curtain of water at the Sgwd yr Elra falls. Important to note that the route cannot be completed as shown if the waterfall crossing is not made - please also see the tips section. The first leg takes you from Penderyn to Craig y Ddinas at Pontneddfechan. It follows a well-marked trail that starts alongside the modest but exposed peak of Moel Penderyn with sweeping views. It then descends toward where the rivers meet, becoming lush, sheltered and more rocky underfoot. The second leg rises up steeply through trees and across a golf course. Then north through farmland to join a moorland road for a few hundred meters before turning right into the woods towards the first of the falls. The northern apex of the route is at a footbridge among the falls. The final leg has three distinct sections. The first is along wonderful rocky and rooty trails on the steep side of the river valley. On crossing the river at the main waterfall, the second section follows a green, narrow and unprotected trail along the top of the cliff which can be boggy toward the end. Finally, out on to moorland and old quarry roads the final section leads you back to the village of Penderyn.

2 months ago

Great route with wonderful views and spectacularly varied terrain. We gave ourselves a four-hour weather window and we almost made it. Using the route here (which has been carefully adjusted to avoid some of Ordnance Survey's better practical jokes) it will be possible to complete the route in much less time than that. The rivers were both very high and the falls were considerably larger and more forceful that normal. We just got wetter than otherwise we might. Our photos were also notable by the amount of brown and orange in the falls which are usually just sparkly white. The descent into Criag y Ddinas is excellent. So is crossing the river behind the water of the Sgwd yr Elra waterfall. Best bit is probably the rooty/rocky section from the footbridge (the northernmost point of the route) and the waterfall crossing. I'd love to do this again on a dry day with more typical river levels!

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