As a country carved by glaciers in the last ice age, the landscapes in Wales comprise of mountains, valleys and an abundance of waterfalls. Waterfalls in Wales are often steeped in legends and myths and are rumoured to be the entrance to magical fairy kingdoms.
Growing up with beautiful cascades quite literally on my doorstep, I’ve always had a love for Welsh waterfalls. With most of my explorations almost exclusively based in South Wales, I recently embarked on a road trip across the length and breadth of this small mountainous land, to discover the most beautiful of all Welsh waterfalls.
I originally planned to limit this list to just ten but since I couldn’t decide which ones to leave out, I instead compiled a list of the top 15 prettiest waterfalls in Wales!
- 1 Waterfalls In Wales Map
- 2 Things To Remember Before Your Visit To A Welsh Waterfall
- 3 15 Of The Best Waterfalls In Wales
- 4 1. Pistyll Rhaeadr
- 5 2. Swgd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf
- 6 3. Sgwd Einion Gam
- 7 4. Cwm Gwrelych Waterfall (no official name)
- 8 5. Melincourt Waterfall
- 9 6. Henrhyd Falls
- 10 7. Sgwd yr Eira
- 11 8. Caerfanell falls
- 12 9. Conwy Falls
- 13 10. Aber Falls
- 14 11. Ffrwdgrech Falls
- 15 12. Swallow Falls
- 16 13. Rhaeadr Nantcol
- 17 14. Rhaeadr Dolgoch
- 18 15. Cavern Cascade
- 19 Essential Items For A Welsh Waterfall Walk
- 20 Like It? Pin It For Later!
Waterfalls In Wales Map
Things To Remember Before Your Visit To A Welsh Waterfall
- Many of the access roads to these popular Welsh waterfalls are single-track ‘B’ roads, with few passing places and limited parking.
- Car parking at these scenic areas is often pay and display with machines only accepting coins, so be prepared and take cash.
- Some of the popular Welsh waterfall walks can get very crowded in Summer months. However, waterfalls are best viewed after heavy rain which makes them an ideal activity for the quieter months in Autumn and Winter.
- You will notice different words for waterfall on your travels in Wales. In South Wales you will see the word sgwd (pronounced skood), which translates to cascade or fall. In North Wales you will see rhaeadr (pronounced hrhai-uh-dur) which translates to waterfall.
If you’d like to learn how to pronounce more Welsh words, take a look at this post!
15 Of The Best Waterfalls In Wales
Waterfalls are one of nature’s wondrous creations which can be enjoyed no matter what the weather throws at you. This is quite handy in a country that receives as much rain as Wales does!
Most of the waterfalls on this list are easily accessible by foot, so put your walking shoes on and embark on an enjoyable escape into the Welsh countryside!
1. Pistyll Rhaeadr
Meaning Spring of the Waterfall, Pistyll Rhaeadr is an impressive three stage waterfall, with a total drop of 73m. It’s often referred to as Wales’ tallest waterfall or Wales’ tallest single drop waterfall, but this is actually untrue (as I just mentioned, it is a 3 tiered waterfall for a start!).
Wales’ tallest single drop waterfall is in fact the Devil’s Appendix, which is located near the Devil’s Kitchen in Snowdonia National Park.
Pistyll Rhaeadr is however, counted as one of the Severn Wonders of Wales and is definitely one of the most impressive waterfalls in Wales.
Reaching Pistyll can be quite a challenge in busy Summer months, since the only access is via a 4 mile single track road from Llanrhaeadr ym Mochant. If you happen to arrive as people are leaving, you can spend a lot of time reversing!
Entrance to the waterfall site is free but parking in the grounds costs £5. There is limited parking outside the gated car parking but this fills up fast.
2. Swgd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf
The Elidir trail which starts in the village to Pontneddfechan is a walk in Waterfall Country which is home to several spectacular waterfalls. Waterfall country is an area in the western part of the Brecon Beacons.
The easy, family-friendly walk on this trail has two spurs. After crossing the river, taking the path to the left brings you to Sgwd Gwladus whilst taking the path to right brings you to these two gorgeous falls.
3. Sgwd Einion Gam
A more adventurous hike from the Elidir trail begins once you reach Sgwd Gwladus (as mentioned above). This is an adventure to reach a secret Welsh Waterfall!
From Sgwd Gwladus the path involves crossing the river multiple times and walking along eroded paths high on the river bank or in the river itself.
The adventure is surly worth it though, for a glimpse of the truly hidden gem that is Sgwd Einion Gam. Read more about this walk and the legend of Sgwd Einion Gam in this post.
4. Cwm Gwrelych Waterfall (no official name)
Very close to the popular Elidir trail in Waterfall Country, sits the much lesser known Cwm Gwrelych Heritage Trail. The trail starts across the valley in the village of Pontwalby and is located just outside the Brecon Beacons National Park.
There are several waterfalls along this walk, none of which have official names. My favourite is this one pictured below.
You can glimpse this waterfall down in the valley after walking for around 1km. There is no designated trail to reach the base of the falls but it can be accessed by following the fence down the steep hillside.
5. Melincourt Waterfall
Another lesser known waterfall close to Waterfall Country is Melincourt. Since this waterfall again sits just outside the Brecon Beacons National Park it tends to get overlooked by tourists.
Located near the town of Resolven, a short, relatively flat gorge walk provides a peaceful visit to this secluded Welsh waterfall.
6. Henrhyd Falls
At 27m tall, Henryd Falls is South Wales’ tallest waterfall. Henrhyd falls also has the accolade of being known as Batcave, since it’s appearance in the film The Dark Knight Rises.
Access to this waterfall is via a short (700m) but steep path from the National Trust car park near Coelgren.
7. Sgwd yr Eira
Translating to Fall of Snow, Sgwd Yr Eira is probably the Brecon Beacons’ most famous waterfall and climax of the popular Four Falls walk. As the name suggests, on this walk you can view multiple waterfalls through taking various side trails, before continuing along the main path.
This walk starts at the National Trust car park at Cwm Porth. (parking fees apply). The big attraction of many who visit Sgwd Yr Eira is the ability to walk behind this powerful cascade.
To see photos of all the other beautiful waterfalls you can see on this walk, take a look at this post.
8. Caerfanell falls
The Caerfanell falls is one of several waterfalls that can be enjoyed at Blaen y Glyn in the Brecon Beacons. There are two car parks (both free) which allow visitors to enjoy a short walk along the river Caerfanell, admiring the small waterfalls along the way.
The walk from upper Blaen y Glyn can be extended into a hike of the Central Becaons, including nearby Pen y Fan. Read this post to learn more about this walk and other Brecon Beacon hill walks.
9. Conwy Falls
Conwy falls is a series of falls which cascade around a central rock. The name is a little deceiving since it’s not in fact found in the town of Conwy, but instead takes it’s name from the river along which it flows.
Found just outside Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia National Park, the falls is set in the deep gorge of Fairy Glen, amongst 10 acres of ancient woodland. There is a small entrance fee to access the walking trail that loops down and around to a viewing point of Conwy Falls.
10. Aber Falls
At 37m high, Aber Falls is worth every step of the 2km walk from the car park (parking fees apply). Aber Falls is referred to as Rhaeadr Fawr in Welsh, which literally translates to Big Waterfall. And it certainly is!
Aber Falls is located in North Wales near the village of Abergwyngregyn. The gravel path that leads from the car park is well maintained and once at the falls there are several viewpoints from which to admire it’s thunderous roar.
For a more adventurous mountain route to Aber Falls consider hiking from Bethesda, or for an even longer adventure hike over the High Carneddau from Pen yr Ole Wen in the Ogwen Valley.
11. Ffrwdgrech Falls
Tucked away on a single track road just north of Pen y Fan is this beautiful waterfall. Ffrwdgrech is a pretty little fall on the Nant Cym Llwch river. There is just one small lay-by next to the bridge that overlooks the river, so access to this special place is very limited.
This could be combined with a hike to the summit of the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons, Pen y Fan.
12. Swallow Falls
Swallow falls consists of two massive cascades along the Afon Llugwy in Snowdonia National Park. The easiest way to see Swallow Falls is via an entrance gate on the A5 which costs £2. There are several purpose built viewing platforms where you can observe both tiers of the waterfall.
However, the more interesting way to experience this beautiful cascade is via a walking trail on the north bank. The out and back trail begins in Betws-y-Coed and follows the Afon Llugwy for 3km, culminating in a view of this epic Welsh waterfall.
13. Rhaeadr Nantcol
Nantcol waterfalls are located near Llanbedr in North Wales and are accessed from Nantcol Waterfalls Campsite. Parking fees are paid to the campsite at their cafe.
The riverside walk instantly provides a beautiful view the gorge pictured below. Continuing upstream the walk ends at a large cascade which is prefect for cooling off in on a warm Summer’s day.
14. Rhaeadr Dolgoch
The waterfall walk at Dolgoch is one of the finest on offer in Wales. This atmospheric gorge walk is located Southern Snowdonia and is an ideal low level walk to recover from a day spent hiking nearby Cadair Idris.
From the car park the riverside walk gradually ascends for 1km to a picnic site overlooking the uppermost cascade. Along the way there are two large two-tiered waterfalls along with multiple pretty cascades.
If you love waterfalls this Welsh waterfall walk is a must!
15. Cavern Cascade
Since this cascade is viewed from inside a cave, this is probably the most unique waterfall in Wales. Cavern Cascade is found on the Hafod Estate in Ceredigion.
The Hafod Estate provides multiple walking routes through it’s wooded landscapes, with fine views of multiple cascades. The best of which is arguably Cavern Cascade. Parking is free but trail maps can be purchased by making a small donation.
Note: Rocks to the cave entrance have become unstable and entry is now not recommended until it is made safe. The waterfall can still be viewed by walking around the side of the cave.
Essential Items For A Welsh Waterfall Walk
- Waterproofs – many of these waterfalls are found in mountainous regions where the weather can change fast, so don’t forget to pack a rain jacket.
- Good hiking shoes/boots – trails to waterfall are often wet and slippery so sturdy footwear with a good grip are essential.
- Water to stay hydrated – bottles with filters are very handy for safely refilling in streams and rivers. Discover which filtered water bottle is the best for hiking 2020 in this comprehensive review.
- For longer, more adventurous walks make sure you have the relevant OS map.
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