Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Sgwd yr Elra Falls from Penderyn is a 8 mile 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.

Length 8.0 mi Elevation gain 1,502 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Camping Hiking Nature trips Paddle sports Walking Bird watching Forest River Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Off trail Pub walk
Description
Waypoints (0)
Tips
Getting There

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.

Allow plenty of time. Many trails and footpaths marked on the OS map are neither visible nor navigable. The route provided here avoids all these but be cautious if seeking to vary or use short cuts. Specifically: 1) Several parallel path are marked on the descent onto Craig y Ddinas. Deviating from the path here often leads to dead ends. 2) When leaving the golf course to head north, the exit path is difficult to spot. Look for (and follow) the left fence off the edge of the golf course as you approach the turn. 3) There is a marked path north from Pentre-d'rysgoed (to the east of Comin y Rhos along the edge of the trees above Carn-y-crochan). This path is neither visible nor navigable (without getting very wet feet/ legs). Hence, the turn east at Pentre to join the road north. 4) Once in the woods by the river, the OS map shows many tempting side paths. Many of these are obstructed or have been eroded out of existence by the river. 5) When crossing the river at Sgwd yr Elra waterfall, you need to walk behind the main falls. This can be very forbidding when the river is high. You will get wet. The rocks here are slippery. 6) Away from the falls, as the path heads south east out of the woods and away from the river, there is a footpath showing on the map that heads south towards Moel Penderyn. This is not a navigable path and not at all visible on the ground. Much safer to follow the old quarry track south east toward the village.

If driving, Penderyn is easy to find and well sign-posted thanks to the excellent distillery in the village. It's just under an hour's drive from Cardiff. Twenty minutes from Neath. Half an hour from Brecon. Only 5 minutes from Hirwaun on the A465. On foot, the route can easily be joined from Ystradfellte or Pontneddfechan.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (8)
Photos (244)
Recordings (8)
Completed (19)
View user's profile page
Emily Leonard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

Lovely walk, my feet hate me!! We did the walk backwards so ended with a steep hill climb. Definitely a tough one but sooo worth the views

View user's profile page
Daniel Beach
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2019
Hiking
First to Review

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!

View user's profile page
Oliver Good
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 1, 2020
Hiking
View Oliver's Recording
View user's profile page
Jodie Rees
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2020
Hiking
View Jodie's Recording
View user's profile page
Elijah Thømas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 12, 2020
Hiking
View user's profile page
Sandra Adamaite
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 10, 2019
Hiking
View Sandra's Recording
View user's profile page
Chanel Buckland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2019
Hiking
View Chanel's Recording
View user's profile page
Kieron Bignell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2019
Hiking
View Kieron's Recording