Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales: Pen-y-Fan Loop

Tag the Brecon Beacons' highest summit (2,907 feet), then descend one of the park’s wild, water-filled canyons on this 4.9-mile loop.
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Tag the Brecon Beacons' highest summit (2,907 feet), then descend one of the park’s wild, water-filled canyons on this 4.9-mile loop.

With 519 square miles of rolling grassland and massive mountains pocked with caves, waterfalls, lakes, and wooded gorges, Brecon Beacons National Park contains some of the wildest and least-traveled high country in Wales. The Beacons Way, a 101-mile hiking path, connects widely varied topography, dips into centuries-old villages, and climbs to several of the park’s tallest summits. Explore one of its most spectacular segments on this 4.9-mile point-to-point.
Begin at the Storey Arms Outdoor Education Centre and climb through forest and across a bridge before beelining steeply northeast. Gain 1,450 feet in 1.6 miles to reach the summit of Corn Du. You’re now atop the point that 10th-century Welsh writers called Cadair Arthur, or “Arthur’s Seat.” From Corn Du, walk east along the wide ridge to Pen-y-Fan (the true high point). For the best views, however, continue on to Cribyn, lowest of the three summits, then return (it’s 2.5 miles round-trip from Corn Du, the first peak, to Cribyn).
Descend by dropping due south of Corn Du down faint Neuadd Ridge, then bear right (southwest) and drop into Cwm Crew, the waterfall-laced valley cut by the Nant Crew stream. Near the bottom, follow sheep trails right (west), past a pine forest and over a ridgeline, to a car pullout along the A470T (1.7 miles south of Storey Arms).
-Copy by Steve Howe, Mapped by Kris Wagner

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.9

Waypoints

PEN001

Location: 51.867986, -3.47154

The route begins at the Story Arms Visitor Center. Hike northeast toward the summit.

PEN002

Location: 51.878445, -3.445314

Turn left, heading north.

PEN003

Location: 51.881737, -3.443774

Corn Du: This summit offers sweet views into Cwm LLwch. Next, turn around and return to Waypoint 2; continue straight at the junction.

PEN004

Location: 51.876769, -3.446456

At the trail junction, keep left and follow the more pronounced trail down the ridgeline.

PEN005

Location: 51.874958, -3.445517

Leave the ridge and descend due south down into Cwm Crew.

PEN006

Location: 51.873113, -3.445652

Bear left (east) to begin descending traverse into Cwm Crew. Get below cliff bands to find the best path to creekbed.

PEN007

Location: 51.868865, -3.440713

Cwm Crew drainage. Continue descent.

PEN008

Location: 51.857159, -3.448677

Pass a waterfall and continue south.

PEN009

Location: 51.85318, -3.450861

Pass an old foundation.

PEN010

Location: 51.851813, -3.451423

The trail skirts another waterfall.

PEN011

Location: 51.848531, -3.453773

Begin rising traverse up hillside to the right (west). Cross broad ridgeline on sheep trails. Stay right/north of pine plantation.

PEN012

Location: 51.844949, -3.464435

The route ends a small parking turn-out.