A guide about Pen y fan in Wales

Pen y Fan is a very popular destination amongst hikers and it’s part of Brecon Beacons national park. The views at 886 metres are impessive and when the weather is good you can see the full national park. Pen y Fan is not only the highest mountain in Brecon Beacons but its peak is above any other points south of Cadair Idris. Apart from hikers army will use the mountain for training purposes.

How to get to Pen y Fan?

The start point to Pen y Fan is Pont ar Daf park (Plus Code: VG9G+PR Brecon). The car park is 36 miles from Swansea and 47 miles from Hererford. You can arrive to the car park by:

  • Train: Arrive at Merthyr Tydfil station and take the bus T4 to the car park. The travel time is approximately 27 minutes. Alternatively you can take the bus X4 from Abergavenny station to Merthyr Tydfil and then take the bus T4 to the car park. The travel time is approximately 3 hours.
  • Car: Drive to the car park which is 33 miles from Cardiff.
  • Foot: If you decide to take the epic hike of Taff Trail then you can follow the path to the peak of Pen y Fan either from Brecon or Talybont on Usk. 

How long does it take to walk up Pen y Fan?

The trip to the peak of Pen y Fan depends on two factors. The first one is where your start point will be. Indicatevely if you start from the car park you will at the top of the mountain in short of 3 hours. The second factor is your fitness level. Pen y Fan is suitable for hikers of any skill level. If you decide to run to the top it will take significantly less than 3 hours. Remember that Pen y Fan is not only a high mountain but a very steep as well. It is worthwhile to mention that the elevation is close to 20 % for at least one mile. 

How hard is it to walk up Pen y Fan?

The path is easy to follow and usually you will find a lot of other visitors who try to reach the peak of Pen y Fan. It doesn’t require years of experience and because its popularity other hikers will help you with which path you should follow. Although it’s the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons beginners can reach the top. It will take them a bit longer but it will definitely be worth it to enjoy the breathtaking views from the top. The terrain is very well maintained by National Trust and it usually doesn’t hide any nasty surprises.

The most important parameter which can make hiking to the top hard is the weather. At this altitude weather can change fast and the conditions can be unpredictable. For example if the mountain is covered with snow the walk up Pen y Fan will be harder and might even need special equipment. Always check the weather beforehand and make sure you feel comfortable with the current conditions.

Has Pen y Fan killed anyone?

Pen y Fan mountain might be suitable for beginners but it’s not always very friendly. In the past years a lot of hikers were lost or even died. As we have already mentioned weather can change very fast in Brecon Beacons and can surprise even the most experienced hikers. You should try to avoid hiking when there is forecast for lighting because of the vast fields there is nothing to protect you from it. 

Be prepared and install on your phone the What Tree Words (link) App. If you get lost or injured and you have to phone the rescue services use the three words that the app will generate so they can find you faster. The app will generate three words based on your current location. These words are unique and assigned to exactly 3m squared.

Always stay safe and avoid paths you don’t feel comfortable with. Remember when you stay safe then the rescue teams will stay safe and they will not have to look for you under extreme weather conditions.

What to wear walking up Pen y Fan

Pen y Fan welcomes beginners and you can wear any type of clothes depending on the weather. Personally I always wear my hiking shoes, comfortable pair of trousers and my waterproof jacket. Hiking on Pen y Fan you will definitely need a good pair of walking sticks. They will be extremely helpful when you are conquering the steep hills. If you take the route with the waterfalls be prepared to get wet therefore a good waterproof jacket is essential.

Remember that the most important thing is a comfortable pair of shoes and you can climb any mountain in the UK in good weather conditions.

Accomodation near Pen y Fan (Campsites – Hotel)

Brecon Beacons and more specifically the hike to Pen y Fan is a great day excursion. However if you want to spend more time than a day out with the family you can find a great variety of accomodations. The two most popular accommodation types in this area are campsites, hotels and glamping!

The prices vary depending on the time of the year but in generally you can find self catering accomodation for 4 person around £100 per night in a cabin. If you plan to drive to Brecon Beacons with your campervan or caravan then you can stay in a campsite. There are campsites within walking distance from the hiking path to Pen y Fan. Start your day early a create great memories in this spectacular area. Of course don’t forget to visit Brecon Tap for a refreshing pint and a nice dinner!

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