Where to Go Mountain Biking in the Brecon Beacons National Park

In the Brecon Beacons, we have several biking hotspots which make the perfect base for a mountain biking break.

Image result for mountain biking brecon beacons

The towns and villages of Brecon, Crickhowell, Sennybridge, Talg

arth and Talybont-on-Usk are all mountain biking, walking and adventure activity hubs. Each has something slightly different to offer, but they all have bike shops, bike hire facilities and some great places to stay, eat and drink.

Brecon, Sennybridge and Talybont-on-Usk are all good choices for newcomers to the sport, while Crickhowell and Talgarth have access to mountain bike trails which are gnarly enough to appeal to expert riders.

MTB Brecon Beacons mountain bike route maps are available from our visitor information centres and our online shop.


The town of Brecon, just north of the Brecon Beacons, is a natural focus for the Central Beacons region.

Three routes suitable for all mountain bikers, from novice to experienced, start from this area. In Brecon, you’ll find bike shops offering kit, repairs and hire, plus good places to eat and drink, evening entertainment and accommodation.

Mountain bike routes near Brecon

1. Visitor Centre Route

Distance: 8km, 5 miles

Starting from the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre, this grade 1 / yellow route is an easy tour over open ground, suitable for beginners and families.

OS ref GR977 262
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

2. Mynydd Illtud

Distance: 24.1km, 15 miles

Brecon Blue route is quite a challenge but numerous short cuts are possible. Look out for walkers on the narrow rocky descent down to the Neuadd, Cwmcamlais.

The climb to the top of Cefn Llechid rewards you with a pleasant descent down an open hillside covered with bracken. Once you pass through Defynnog you have a pleasant jaunt through the Senni Valley following farm tracks and country lanes. You then have to climb 150m to the Sarn Helen Roman road, which takes you back to the Centre.

OS ref GR977 262
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

3. The Gap

Distance: 38km, 23.6 miles

This is one of the all time classics of the Brecon Beacons taking in the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, the Taff Trail, the Brinore Tramway and the very popular Gap Road.

The terrain is rideable in all seasons but beware in bad weather conditions. The Gap takes you up to 600m above sea level and is very open and windswept. It is essential to take food, adequate clothing and tools before you attempt this route.

Technically, the going is mostly straightforward, with a tricky ravine halfway up the Gap road and some big rock steps on beginning the descent from the Gap itself. Also worthy of note is the descent from the top of the Brinore Tramway to the valley bottom just up stream of the Talybont Reservoir. The track varies from smooth grass to start with, to gravel, rocks and ruts. Finally, at the bottom, you have to ford the river where floods have washed away the bridge. In periods of high water levels, opt for a short cut along the Taff Trail to the top end of the forest.

OS ref GR047 283
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13


Crickhowell offers visitors a welcome out of all proportion to its modest size.

The town offers a wide range of watering holes, some of which are said to be haunted.

There’s an exciting mountain bike route to explore.

Mountain bike route near Crickhowell

Crickhowell Loop

Distance: 16.1km, 10 miles

Most routes in the Brecon Beacons are hilly and this one is no exception! However, most of the climbing is done on tarmac leaving you to go downhill on the rough. Keep an eye out for horses and walkers on the off-road paths, and pause a while in Llanbedr Village before your return to Crickhowell.

OS ref GR219 183
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13


With red kites overhead, stunning scenery and uncompromisingly rugged terrain, this region will not disappoint.

Three routes from simple to fairly severe make maximum use of the biking potential.

There’s also a range of accommodation to suit all, including quality bunkhouses, bed and breakfast, and self-catering cottages.

Mountain bike routes near Sennybridge

1.Usk Reservoir

Distance: 8.9km, 5.5 miles

This route consists of a circuit of the Usk Reservoir through the forest. You’ll mostly be riding on hard packed forest roads with a lengthy section on tarmac. The start includes a couple of downhills leading you to the water’s edge, and after the dam there is a road climb to get the legs really working and the heart pumping.

OS ref SN923 288
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

*** Please note Due to tree felling operations, part of the Usk reservoir trail will be closed from Friday 14th August. The operation is located on the far west side of the reservoir and will clear the storm damaged trees as well as the larch trees in this area.  Due to the location of the operation it will mean that a circular loop will not be able to be maintained around the reservoir. The trail will be closed between SN819 275 and SN 805 280 other sections of the trail are not affected. It is expected to take around 10 weeks to complete the work ***

2.Cwm Treweryn

Distance: 14.5km, 9 miles

Taking in over 200m of off-road descending and an optional extra loop halfway around, Sennybridge Blue is a great half-day ride.

OS ref SN923 288
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

3.Sarn Helen

Distance: 33.8km, 21 miles

This sets off along farm tracks and country lanes before picking up the Sarn Helen Roman road, a classic route well known to mountain bikers and walkers alike. The return brings you down a fast tarmac descent and runs along the Senni Valley before rising up 150m again. The final stretch is along Heol Cefn Y Gaer, passing the site of one of the many hill forts in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The descent ends up very close to your starting point.

OS ref SN923 288
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13


Talgarth, northeast of Brecon, is surrounded by premium mountain biking country and first class outdoor activity centres, making this a perfect destination for a multi sports break.

The three routes in the region are a proper hardcore mix, including the Black Mountains Classic, 32 miles of extreme level riding.

Mountain bike routes near Talgarth

1.Llangorse and Bwlch

Distance: 38.6km, 24 miles

The first half of this route is almost entirely off-road. Once you have climbed to the base of Mynydd Troed you follow a bridleway (much used by horses, so it gets quite churned up in wet weather) through bracken. From Cwm Siencyn, it’s up onto the top of Cefn Moel and down, down, down to the village of Bwlch.

From Bwlch you go up to the knife edged ridge of Allt yr Esgair with its impressively sited Iron Age hill fort. Take a while to gaze at the views and imagine how life was for those Iron Age folk. Descend, now, on a narrow path to Pennorth and make your way back to Talgarth following bridleways and lanes around Llangorse Lake and surrounding area.

OS ref GR154 338
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

2. Foothills of the Black Mountains

Distance: 32.2km, 20 miles

A brief climb out of Talgarth takes you into the foothills of the Black Mountains. Y Dâs and Twmpa tower above you as you make your way along the lanes and sunken roads. After passing through Felindre Village you have a tough climb before the final off-road section. Then its back down into Talgarth for a well earned cuppa.

OS ref GR154 338
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

3. Grwyne Fawr Reservoir

Distance: 51.5 km, 32.0 miles.

The Black Mountains Classic is a genuine black route reaching heights of 700m with very open hill country.

The route takes you out of Talgarth straight up to the top of Y Dâs, a climb of about 550m, of which about 250m is a push and carry. Once at the top you have a great descent all the way past Grwyne Fawr Reservoir and down to Mynydd Du Forest.

You then make your way through the forest and along country lanes. Beware of the very steep descent past the church at Ffynon Ishow. There is an opportunity for refreshments at Llanbedr village, when the pub is open, before the climb back up to the cairn at the ridge top at Pen Trumau.

The descent is a flyer down a smooth grassy track. Watch out for horses and walkers and give way to them. The return to Talgarth takes you along lanes and tracks with one last ferocious climb to the base of Castell Dinas.

The route can be ridden in the reverse direction, but the descent of Y Dâs is very tricky and requires great expertise.

OS ref GR154 338
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13


The region around Talybont-on-Usk appeals to cyclists of all abilities as both the Taff Trail and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal towpath pass through it.

With three routes from novice level to a challenging 34km figure of eight loop, there’s riding to suit all from this charming village.

A trio of pubs and the Talybont Stores Café offer refreshments. There’s also a range of accommodation in and around the village.

Pleas use the car park at Henderson Hall, Penpentre, if you intend to leave your car all day. There is an honesty box for your contribution.

Mountain bike routes near Talybont-on-Usk

1. The Tramway

Distance: 8.9km, 5.5 miles

This is a short jaunt into the forest overlooking Talybont reservoir. It follows the Taff Trail, going out, then climbs up a forest road to return on the Brinore Tramway descending gently back to Talybont.

OS ref GR115 225
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

2. Talybont Forest

Distance: 17.7km, 11 miles

This makes use of the Taff Trail to take you away from Talybont. The Brinore Tramway takes you a short way up into the forest before you descend to the shore of Talybont Reservoir. Crossing over the dam wall you make your way to the other side of the valley and some very hilly riding in Talybont forest and its surroundings. Apart from the climbs, you are rewarded with some fine descents, ranging from fast fire roads to rocky and slippery sunken roads.

OS ref GR115 225
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13

3. Pontsticill Crossover

Distance: 33.8km, 21 miles.

This figure of eight shaped route is tougher than it looks on the map. The initial climb takes you up nearly 400m! From here on, though, it’s downhill all the way to the halfway point of Pontsticill village. The route should only be undertaken in clear weather as this section is rather featureless and navigation can be difficult.

After Pontsticill you choose between the Taff Trail forest route, or a cruise on the road alongside Pontsticill Reservoir. Now it’s time to go off-road and up again back to the crossing of the figure of eight. Then it’s d
own again all the way to the Usk Valley and a few kilometres on the road back to Talybont.

OS ref GR115 225
Explorer OL12 & Explorer OL13
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Don’t forget to visit the town of Merthyr Tydfil where Bike Park Wales is based…

BikePark Wales is the UK’s first full scale mountain bike park in the heart of the South Wales valleys, built by riders for riders. We believe in making mountain biking accessible to everyone from extreme to serene.Image result for Bike park wales

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1 Response to Where to Go Mountain Biking in the Brecon Beacons National Park

  1. Pingback: Brecon Beacons Mountain Biking Routes | Talybont-on-Usk

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