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Are you planning on hiking Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons? Keep reading for routes, maps and tips to help you plan your hike.

At 886 metres, Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons National Park is the highest peak in South Wales – and one of the most popular day hikes in the UK, as well as one of the top things to do in Wales.

It’s also one of the best dog walks in the Brecon Beacons National Park so be sure to bring your pooch with you if they love long walks!

This blog post aims to equip you with the knowledge you need to have an epic Pen y Fan walk or more challenging hike. We hope you find it useful!

Please note that the tips found in this blog are aimed at novice hikers looking for a challenge.
If you’re an expert hiker, you’ll love the blogs by Becky the Traveller or Mud & Routes.

Did you know? Pen y Fan, loosely translated, means ‘Top of the Beacon’ or ‘Top of the Hill’.

The views from Pen y Fan

Epic Pen Y Fan Routes To Choose From

There are a number of Pen y Fan routes you can choose from – depending on both your ability and how much time you have to devote to your hike.

The three Pen y Fan hiking routes we’ve included below each provide you with the opportunity to summit Pen y Fan itself, as well as second and third bonus mountains during the longer hikes.

We’ve also included maps and tips on how long it will likely take you to climb Pen y Fan and complete each hike, so that you can better gauge which route best suits you.

Hiking Pen y Fan

1. Pen Y Fan Straight Hike – 2 Miles – 3 Hours

The shortest Pen y Fan hike follows the main path up from Pont ar Daf car park to the mountain’s summit at 886 metres.

Despite this being the shortest Pen y Fan walk, it’s still a rather strenuous one as it’s uphill most of the way. The path itself is well worn and fairly easy to walk on although still warrants appropriate hiking gear – particularly proper walking boots.

We like to think we are of a moderate fitness level and it took us around 2 hours to summit Pen y Fan with our dog – and with breaks along the way including a 20 minute lunch stop.

It would have then been another hour back down to the car park, however, you would likely be faster if you’re a particularly adept hiker.

Check out our Pen y Fan route map below:

Please note that these maps are intended to give you an at-a-glance view of the route – if you need more detailed directions, you should use Ordnance Survey maps.

2. Pen Y Fan & Corn Du Circular Hike – 4.5 Miles – 4 Hours

If you’re interested in hiking Pen y Fan and Corn Du in one day, then it’s entirely possible and for not that much extra effort.

At 873 metres, Corn Du is the second highest peak in South Wales and is right next to Pen y Fan. To summit both mountains, you would only need to add an extra 10-15 minutes to your walk.

But if you want to turn your hike into a circular one as opposed to walking back down the same path you came up on, then it would likely be an extra hour or so.

For this walk, you would follow the same route as the straight Pen y Fan walk, before summiting Corn Du and following a parallel path across the Brecon Beacons towards the Storey Arms car park, which is about a 5 minute walk from the Pont ar Daf car park.

Check out our Pen y Fan route map below:

Please note that these maps are intended to give you an at-a-glance view of the route – if you need more detailed directions, you should use Ordnance Survey maps.

3. Pen Y Fan, Corn Du & Cribyn Circular Hike – 6.2 Miles – 5 Hours

To upgrade your Brecon Beacons hike to include a whopping three mountains, you can follow the same route as the Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular hike mentioned above. But this time, you’ll summit Cribyn first.

At 795 metres, Cribyn might not have any accolades like the other two mountains do, but it is still a prominent peak in the Brecon Beacons National Park, offering stunning views towards Pen y Fan and of several nearby reservoirs.

It’s roughly an extra hour or so to summit Cribyn and follow the path back towards ‘Windy Pass’ and onto Pen y Fan.

Check out our Pen y Fan route map below:

Please note that these maps are intended to give you an at-a-glance view of the route – if you need more detailed directions, you should use Ordnance Survey maps.

Quick Tips For Hiking Pen Y Fan

1. Wear proper walking boots. Although the paths are well worn, the inclines are all very challenging so your feet (and ankles) need proper protection. (You’d be surprised how many people we saw trying to climb Pen y Fan in trainers or pumps!)

Check out our top picks for men below: (click on the images for more info)

… and for women: (click on the images for more info)

2. Take plenty of water and snacks. Pack more than you think you’ll need – just to be safe.

3. Pack for all weathers. While it might be warm weather on the ground, it will be very windy and chilly once you reach the top. We live by our windproof Westbeach jackets, which are light but so, so, so effective! And make sure you’ve got lots of sunscreen on during sunnier days and lip balm on at all times (due to the wind).

4. Keep your dog on the lead (especially at the top of Pen y Fan). Although the National Trust website doesn’t appear to mention any strict rules over whether your dog should be on or off lead, our advice would be to keep them on the lead (especially at the top as there are very steep drops on all sides). Also, don’t forget that not everyone likes dogs so do be sure to keep your dog under control at all times!

5. Park for FREE at the Pont ar Daf car park or the Storey Arms car park. Some people also choose to park on the grass verges either side of the road near these car parks when it’s busy, so you also have that option should you need it.

6. Buy some Welsh Cakes at the kiosks in the Pont ar Daf car park. They’re a specialty in Wales and are all kinds of sugary deliciousness. You can even buy doggie versions for your canine pal.

Corn Du

Kai hiking Pen y Fan

Kai near Corn Du

Justine and Scott hiking Pen y Fan


We hope you enjoy your hike! Which route do you think you’ll take? And have you got any other questions? Let us know in the comments section below…

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