14 Top-Rated Waterfalls in Wales
Author Anietra Hamper and photographer Ian Henderson visited countless waterfalls on an extended trip through Wales in the summer of 2022.
Since Wales is a country teeming with jaw-dropping natural beauty and a wide diversity of attractions, it is no surprise that its waterfalls are just as magnificent. If you enjoy finding and photographing stunning waterfalls, then a drive around Wales to find some of the best will not disappoint.
The top waterfalls in Wales that we profile each have something special, from the tallest waterfalls in the country to the hidden gems, and falls with intriguing folklore. Some of the most impressive are located near Snowdonia National Park, northern Wales, or near the Brecon Beacons.
The best time of year to experience them is in the spring, when frequent rain and snowmelt add to the dramatic effect of the rushing water, especially in places like Swallow Falls or Devil's Bridge Falls, which already have impressive cascades. In the fall, you can enjoy the burst of colors from the forest trees and in the winter, cascades of ice.
Some of these waterfalls are located just a short walk off the roadways, while others require steep or long hikes to find. Some of the more popular waterfalls have signage, and most have designated parking, even if they require a hike. Since many of the falls require a nominal entrance fee it is best to keep a bag of change handy in your car.
Plan your route for unforgettable views with our list of the best waterfalls in Wales.
1. Swallow Falls
One of the most notable waterfalls in Wales is also one of the most convenient in terms of spending a full day visiting it. Swallow Falls is a wide and long series of cascading tiers of waterfalls flowing down into a gorge, with a rushing crescendo of water spilling over large boulders.
There is a nice walking path around the waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. Here, you can feel the spray coming from the water, which is refreshing, especially in the summer. This is a great waterfall for families to visit, as the walk is not far, so it is ideal for children.
Where to go: For the most natural and scenic walk to the falls, go in and to the left of the entrance. It leads to a flat walking surface to the falls, with nice shade, and sitting benches offering great vantage points for photographs. You can continue along the walkway and down the stairs to the falls while stopping at the different viewing locations for multiple perspectives.
Locals say it is called Swallow Falls because when the water is low, the boulders of the falls resemble the tail of a swallow and that possibly at one time swallows were prevalent in the area.
Parking: There is a pull-off car park just above the trailhead, and a small entrance fee is required for access to the walkway to the falls.
Nearby Town: One of the best waterfalls in North Wales, Swallow Falls is located near the outdoorsy town of Betws-y-Coed. After you visit Swallow Falls, you can walk into Betws-y-Coed for lunch at one of the many cafés.
2. Pistyll Rhaeadr
The Pistyll Rhaedr waterfall is the highest single-drop waterfall in Britain and offers a variety of ways to experience it from different trails. At 80 meters (240 feet) high, the waterfall is tucked into the Berwyn Mountains with stunning scenery of steep hills, roaming sheep, and many shades of green in every direction.
How to get there: The waterfall is located near the small village of Penybontfawr in northern Wales. You can get here by following the B4396 road out of Llanwddyn about seven miles on country lanes. That leads you to a one-lane track to the paid car park through an old village.
The route to the Pistyll Rhaedr car park is tougher than getting to the waterfall itself, as it is only a one-minute walk from the lower trail once you arrive. For more of a hike to the falls, you will want to take the upper trail, which is a 25-minute walk.
Be sure to wear sturdy shoes or boots, as there are lots of slick and wet rocks around the waterfall.
3. Devil's Bridge Falls
A fun waterfall to visit is the Devil's Bridge Falls near Aberystwyth, which has folklore associated with it that is as interesting as the falls themselves. The 91-meter (300-foot) waterfalls are deep in the Cambrian Mountains, and there's so much to see at the location that you should plan to spend several hours or a half-day for the visit.
In addition to the famous waterfalls there is a nature trail and three bridges to experience. Two separate walks can take you to everything in the area. The main loop for the waterfalls is also called the "long walk." It is a full loop that takes about 45 minutes and passes the main waterfalls and the three bridges.
The actual name of the falls is Mynach Waterfalls, but it is known as Devil's Bridge Falls from the three bridges that were built by monks in the 11th century. Over time, locals in the area believed the bridge was built by the devil to inspire tourism, thus, its more famous name. Ironically, today it is one of the best places for tourists to visit in Wales especially those enthusiastic about seeing spectacular waterfalls with additional scenery.
Accessing the falls: There is a designated car park, and fees to access both walks. It is best to observe the falls and the many segments of it from the longer walk because the falls change perspective with each section. Be advised that the path is steep with many steps, but you can access scenic outlooks and benches to rest on your way down through the forest.
Be sure to take water and snacks with you, and wear sturdy shoes for the uneven ground. One great way to make a full day out of your visit to Devil's Bridge Falls is by taking a trip from Aberyswyth on the Vale of Rheidol Railway.
4. Four Waterfalls Walk
The Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons in South Wales is a beautiful stroll through what's called Waterfall Country. It is only about an hour away from Cardiff, making it a great outdoors day trip from the city.
As you might guess from its name, the series of four waterfalls is accessed by a loop that takes you to see the four falls of Sgwd-yr-Eira, Sgwd y Pannwr, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, and Sgwd Clun-Gwyn that are along the River Mellte.
To do the full Four Waterfalls Walk plan about 3.5 hours (5.5 miles), depending on your pace and ability. Though it is a circular walk, it can be challenging. There is a variety of terrain that includes steep, muddy paths and uneven ground, so wearing boots is advised.
5. Aber Falls
The spectacular Aber Falls is located just south of Conwy near the village of Abergwyngregyn and is one of the best waterfalls in North Wales. This is a popular waterfall to visit in Snowdonia National Park in the Cowdydd Aber National Nature Reserve.
Aber Falls, also called Rhaeadr Fawr, drains into the Carneddau mountains plateau. There is a unique geological history here to explore, with walks through the surrounding woods that lead to the falls.
Be prepared: Some of the pathways are on flat surfaces, while others are quite steep, so you will want to wear hiking boots, take walking sticks, and plenty of water. Plan on spending the better part of a day visiting the falls and the surrounding area or at least a few hours just getting to and from the waterfalls.
There are several suggested routes to get to the waterfalls with varying degrees of difficulty, but all will take you through the native woodlands made up of ash, oak, and alder trees. A car park is available at the base of the trailhead.
6. Dyserth Waterfall
The Dyserth Waterfall near Rhyl in northern Wales is one of the best waterfalls in terms of size, spectacle, and accessibility because you do not have to go far to see it. This is an especially nice waterfall for families to visit with ease.
The 21-meter (70-foot) drop of rushing water makes for spectacular photos of the Dyserth Waterfall. The small, paved path leading to the falls goes through gardens and water features. If you walk to the top of the hill above the falls, there are sitting benches and a panoramic view over the Rhyl city center and surrounding countryside.
Round out your waterfall visit with an ice-cream cone or a local "cuppa" of coffee from the Waterfall Shop Café just at the base of the walk. A small admission is required to access the path to the falls.
7. Cenarth Falls
The charming waterfall of Cenarth Falls in the village of Cenarth in midwest Wales is prized, in part, because of the scenery around it, making for a peaceful and beautiful spot. The falls are quite small, but the surrounding large boulders are perfect for sitting quietly by the water. The car park right by the waterfall makes it easily accessible.
This waterfall has small cascades that spill over the boulders and jagged rocks. This is a popular spot for anglers, especially in the fall, when migratory salmon are seen jumping over the waterfalls as they head upstream.
You can also take a walk along the nearby boardwalk on a circular loop through the forested area and round out your visit with a bite to eat at a nearby café in the village.
8. Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls in northern Wales in Denbighshire is such a delightful place to visit because the wide park and trails surrounding it make for a fun day out by the water.
The falls itself, as its name suggests, is in the shape of a horseshoe. The large shade trees surrounding the falls and hillside give visitors plenty of places to toss out a blanket for an afternoon nap or picnic.
There are several walking trails if you want to extend your visit. Look closely at the signposts to follow the Taith Farddoniaeth picturesque Landscape Poetry Trail that uses QR codes on signposts through the wooded landscape.
There are even white water rafting options available to go over the falls offered from local outfitters.
The waterfalls and park are easily accessible from a paid car park.
9. Dolgoch Falls
The beautiful Dolgoch Falls in Aberdovey near Snowdonia National Park is about a quarter-mile walk on the Dolgoch Station footpath from the car park. The waterfall flows in a rushing narrow cascade over boulders, providing the force for a series of smaller rapids that run all the way down the stream.
The walk to the falls is on easy terrain next to a shaded ravine. As you walk back to the waterfalls, pay attention to the cliffs beside you to see many smaller waterfalls coming down the sides of the rocks between the ferns and trickling into small pools below.
Enjoy the tearoom next to the car park, where you can grab a cup of coffee after your visit to the waterfalls.
10. Henrhyd Falls
Henrhyd Falls is the highest waterfall in South Wales at 27 meters (90-feet), tucked within the Brecon Beacons National Park near the village of Coelbren. There is a beautiful mystique about this waterfall, which is likely why it was selected as a filming location for the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.
The gorge surrounding the waterfall in the Nant Llech Valley was formed during the Ice Age, leaving behind the steep cliffs, waterfalls, and whirlpools in the water.
While the paths to the falls are easy to follow, the landscape itself is steep and can be slippery, so you want to wear sturdy hiking boots.
If you are planning a trip to see Henrhyd Falls it is worth spending some additional time hiking in the Brecon Beacons on the Waterfalls Trail to see several other falls.
11. Melincourt Falls
Melincourt Falls, or Sgwd Rhyd Yr Hesg in Welsh, is a beautiful waterfall in South Wales that is sometimes overlooked by visitors, but for photographers or waterfall enthusiasts, this should be on your list.
The waterfall plunges 24 meters (80 feet) and sits within the Melincwrt Waterfalls Nature Reserve. It runs off a tributary of the Neath River near the village of Resolven.
Getting to this waterfall is easy by following the footpath with a short walk from the carpark, approximately one-mile round trip.
The woodlands and environment around the falls are preserved, making for lush trees, plants, and wildflowers that thrive off the water coming from the falls and the Melincourt Brook gorge. More than 20 species of ferns have been recorded in the valley near the falls.
As you walk the trails, keep an eye out for remnants of an 18th-century ironworks factory that once used this land.
12. Conwy Falls
Some of the most impressive rushing water in Wales comes from Conwy Falls in Betws-y-Coed. The falls is located inside Conwy Falls Forest Park and requires a small fee to enter.
The walk to the falls takes about 15 minutes, and there are several path options, each giving you a unique perspective of the wide and massive falls that cascade around bends through the gorge.
How to get there: The easiest walk to take is the loop trail that leads directly from the parking lot to the falls and back out. You know you are heading in the right direction through the park when you can hear the rushing water of the falls before you reach it, especially after a mountain rain.
Be mindful of the uneven ground and slick rocks that are around despite the designated paths. Sturdy shoes are a must.
13. Hafod Estate Waterfalls
The waterfalls on the Hafod Estate in Cwymstwyth (near Aberystwyth) in Mid Wales are collectively some of the most stunning in the country.
The estate, now run by the National Trust, was designed in the late 1700s to capture the wild and natural side of Wales and created to be a picturesque landscape defined by flowers, moss, woodlands, and pristine waterfalls.
There are several waterfalls on the estate and five designated walks that you can do on your own, which vary in length and path terrain. The trailheads are easy to pick up from the car park, with ample signage.
Besides seeing some of the estate's impressive waterfalls like Mossy Seat Falls, the walks take you past other sights on the property like the Hafod Church, small streams, and parkland.
14. Clydach Gorge
The flowing waterfalls at Clydach Gorge are just a small piece of the area in the Brecon Beacons National Park that were once surrounded by ironworks.
Some of these waterfalls are tucked into steep areas and are not very accessible for up-close viewing, so they are best enjoyed from the footpaths. If you do venture closer, be sure you are wearing sturdy shoes to navigate the steep, rocky, and slick areas.
The gorge, created by the River Clydach, is surrounded by lots of Welsh history, and local wildlife and can be seen from some multiple hiking trails through the area.
This natural and serene setting was once the site of industrialization of mines, furnaces, quarries, and eventually steam trains that were popular in South Wales in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the trees in the gorge are over 350 years old. They survived the industrial period and are now thriving again, so you will see impressive growth of beech, oak, and other trees.