Waterfalls in Wales: A Complete Guide to the Best Locations

There are hundreds of dramatic, soppy quotes about waterfalls. But I don’t think it takes a quote to spark appreciation of them; waterfalls are beautiful natural attractions and Wales has a stunning collection of them.

Wales is the perfect country to chase waterfalls, which are often set in remote locations. The country’s expanse of the countryside means you’ll have many waterfalls to yourself, although there are some busier spots if you want other visitors for safety as a solo traveller. Wales really gives you the best of both worlds.

I’ve curated a complete guide to waterfalls in Wales. From the best in North Wales to the best for swimming, solo travellers, families, and accessibility – there should be a section for every waterfall chaser. Happy travelling!

What are the best waterfalls in North Wales?

 A waterfall crashing past trees.
Waterfall via Unsplash.

Looking for waterfalls to visit in North Wales? These are my three top recommendations.

Aber Falls

If you are staying near Snowdonia, Aber Falls is a great waterfall to visit.

To reach Aber Falls, you park in Abergwyngregn and hike 2.25 miles to the waterfall base. Aber Falls is renowned for its height and cuts a dramatic image – falling 37 metres from the Carneddau mountain range into a pool and river below. You can swim at Aber Falls, just be mindful of slippery sections and remember you have the 2.25-mile walk back to the car park! A towel and dry clothes are a must if swimming.

Aber Falls is a popular waterfall to visit in Wales, so you can expect other visitors to enjoy the falls with you. Aim to visit out of peak hours if you want a quieter atmosphere.

Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd (or Conwy Falls)

Conwy Falls is actually nowhere near the town of Conwy. Confusing, I know!

Conwy Falls is a narrow gorge and waterfall surrounded by forest paths and multiple viewing platforms. For only £1.50 per adult, you can access the trails and embark on a 20-minute walk to Conwy Falls itself. The waterfall is a 15-metre cascade that drops prettily into a pool below. While no swimming is permitted for safety reasons, you’ll enjoy staying warm and feasting your eyes on Conwy Falls.

Of course, the Conwy Falls Forest Park is also known for its salmon jumping phenomenon. Every August, salmon travel upstream (jumping waterfalls and rocks in their path) to lay their eggs. Needless to say, the Conwy Falls Forest Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is massively protected as a reserve for resident wildlife.

Devil’s Appendix

Another Snowdonian waterfall, the Devil’s Appendix is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Wales.

The tall, narrow waterfall cascades 93 metres from the Clogwyn y Geifr cliffs into a stream below. Passing clouds often cover the top of the waterfall, and the Devil’s Appendix has a remote, wild atmosphere. You can catch a great view of the Devil’s Appendix from the shores of Llyn Idwal – a glacial lake. To reach the views at Llyn Idwal, park in Pont Pen-y-benglog and embark on a 2-3 hour circular hike.  

Be aware that the waterfall changes drastically depending on rainfall, season, and temperature. In wetter months, you can expect a strong flow, while in freezing temperatures, you can even find the Devil’s Appendix frozen. Regardless, its title alone means you should give it a visit.

What are the best waterfalls in South Wales?

A dropping waterfall.
A waterfall via Unsplash.

Sgwd Gwladys

Is Sgwd Gwladys the biggest waterfall in Wales? No. But it is stunning and only half an hour’s walk from Pontneddfechan.

Sgwd Gwladys falls 7 metres into an amphitheatre-shaped pool suitable for swimmers. So, if you want a pretty and practical waterfall enough to warrant a dip, Sgwd Gwladys is the perfect option. You can walk behind the falls themselves too, which is always an exhilarating experience!

For families, I’d recommend visiting Sgwd Gwladys and packing a picnic. Its laidback, unproblematic atmosphere makes it one of the best waterfalls in South Wales.

Four Waterfalls

There is no denying that the name Four Waterfalls has a ring to it. The famous four include Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, and Sgwd yr Eira – the last of which is the largest of them all. 

The Four Waterfalls are linked by a 5.5 miles long trail, accessible from the Cwm Porth Car Park. The route is mostly a pebbled woodland trail, although there are sections of muddy steps and slippery areas with natural obstacles. While it is not suitable for prams or wheelchairs, families with older children could tackle the walk as a fun family challenge as only a mild to moderate fitness level is required.

Make sure to pack your swimmers, too, as Sgwd y Pannwr is popular with swimmers who want to brave the icy pool. 

Henrhyd Falls

The Devil’s Appendix might take the title of the highest in Wales, but Henrhyd Falls is a runner-up and is titled the highest in South Wales.

The 27-metre waterfall is accessible by a 3.5-mile woodland trail with picturesque wooden bridges and riverside trails. You should also keep an eye for a disused mill en route, which provides a chance to appreciate remote and traditional Welsh lifestyles. Here is a detailed route guide.

What are the best waterfalls near Cardiff? 

A waterfall and plunge pool.
Waterfall via Unsplash.

Wanting an amazing waterfall to visit? Well, you can add waterfalls to a long list of things to do in Cardiff.

Most of the best waterfalls near Cardiff require a car and take between 1 and 2 hours to drive to. However, I’ll cover public transport options if driving isn’t possible.

Penpych Waterfall

Penpych Waterfall has a 21 metre drop and is impressively located near the summit of a flat-top mountain.

This waterfall is situated on the outskirts of the Brecon Beacons and top of the Penpych mountain. To reach a viewpoint of Penpych Waterfall, you embark on a 1.5-mile hike up the mountain, where there are seating areas to enjoy the view and picnic.

Penpych Waterfall is accessible from Blaenrhondda village, which is an hour and ten-minute drive from Cardiff. On public transport, reaching Penpych Waterfall is extremely challenging, involving multiple trains and buses and then a 20-40 minute walk depending on your route choice. While the whole journey only takes 2 hours, I’d suggest hiring a car for ease.

Sgwd Gwladys

As covered above, Sgwd Gwladys is a waterfall with a 7-metre drop into a pool popular for wild swimming.

Sgwd Gwladys is easily accessed from Pontneddfechan, which is only a 50-minute drive from Cardiff.

However, you can also reach the waterfalls by public transport if necessary. You’ll need to catch a train from Cardiff Central to Aberdare, then a bus (usually the number 8) to Glynneath. From Glynneath, it is a 20-minute walk along Pontneathvaughan Road to reach Sgwd Gwladys. The total journey time should be just less than 3 hours – which is an ambitious task if you aren’t staying overnight. Some people do it by public transport but opt for the best option for you.

Blaen-y-Glyn Falls

Blaen-y-Glyn Falls is a collection of smaller woodland waterfalls. If you want a gentle walk and the experience of spotting multiple waterfalls, Blaen-y-Glyn Falls is a perfect half-day trip from Cardiff.

The Blaen-y-Glyn Falls Walk is a leisurely 1.2-mile stroll on a forest path. You pass a number of different waterfalls along the Caerfanell River, including the largest, Caerfanell Falls, which is approximately 9 metres tall.

Blaen-y-Glyn Falls are only accessible by car from Cardiff, and it takes exactly an hour to reach the Blaen-y-Glyn car park.  

What are the best waterfalls for swimming in Wales?

A man at the bottom of a waterfall.
A swimmer by a waterfall via Unsplash.

Ffynone Waterfall

Ffynone Waterfall is just out of Newchapel in Pembrokeshire.

To be honest, it is more of a swimming pool than a waterfall. The waterfall itself is hidden in a gorge-like drop behind moss-covered boulders. If fairies were going to pick a waterfall home, it would definitely be this one! Ffynone has a sedate, quite magical atmosphere.

It is an easy, fairly accessible 20-minute walk to the waterfall. The woodland track is nice enough to warrant a trip in itself.

Sgwd Y Pannwr

Sgwd Y Pannwr is one of the Brecon Beacon’s Four Waterfalls. The penultimate waterfall on the trail is the most famous as a dramatic swimming spot.

The pool is relatively deep (especially after periods of heavy rain), and it is usually fairly busy, so it is a safe spot for solo swimmers and families. You can even climb behind the falls for an exhilarating waterfall experience up close.

Note that some people jump off the cliff into the water. While this is often fun, it is a high-risk activity that I would recommend treating cautiously.

Watkin Path waterfalls

If you plan to climb Mount Snowdon, I suggest combining it with a swim in the Watkin Path Waterfalls.

You can hop along with the waterfall pools in the river alongside the track – picking whichever takes your fancy. Most of them have fantastic views over the valley below, so maybe plan a swim on the way down Snowdon as a scenic celebration.

Admittedly, the Watkin Path is my least favourite track up Snowdon, and I found it the most technically challenging (apart from Crib Goch, of course). You can read more about routes to climb Snowdon in my complete guide here.

What is the tallest waterfall in Wales?

The Devil’s Appendix is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Wales. You can reach a viewpoint via the Llyn Idwal circular route.

What are the most accessible waterfalls in Wales?

A blonde woman in a wheelchair on a forest trail.
A woman in a wheelchair on a forest trail via Unsplash.

Coed y Brenin Forest Park: Forest Garden Trail

The Forest Garden Trail in Coed y Brenin Forest Park is designed for visitors with limited mobility. The tracks are well-surfaced, and the trail starts from a sole-use disabled car park – meaning your visit should be as easy as possible.

To reach the waterfall viewpoint, head along the 0.25-mile track, which has regularly designated rest stops if required. The trail is very scenic and is surrounded by woodland, and I’d suggest bringing a picnic to enjoy en route.

Dinas Rock: Sychryd Trail

The Sychryd Trail is a slightly longer route with more challenging (but manageable) terrain.

The track is 0.5 miles and suitable for ‘robust’ wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and prams. The trail is a beautiful option if you don’t mind the challenge. The highlight is the Sgydau Sychryd Cascades – a dramatic waterfall at the end of the route.

Hafren Forest: Cascades Walk

The Cascades Walk at Hafren Forest is an ideal option if you’d prefer a wooden boardwalk over potentially muddy terrain. The Cascades Walk is a great choice when planning a trip in wet months.

The trail is 0.5 miles and follows the river, providing an atmospheric and decidedly pretty experience of Welsh woodland. At the end of the boardwalk, you reach a viewpoint over the Cascades. Here, you can enjoy a picnic or just take in the ambiance before heading back.

There are some incredible waterfalls in Wales! For those staying in Snowdonia, you may wish to view these special waterfalls located within the National Park. Make sure to leave space in your itinerary to visit at least one and, in summer especially, aim to challenge yourself to go wild swimming. 

If you have any recommendations of waterfalls I haven’t mentioned, feel free to drop them in the comments below. 

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