The Taff Trail – Cycle Brecon to Cardiff

If you’re looking to explore South Wales by bike, the Taff Trail is a 55-mile trail (88km) that takes you south from Brecon to the waterfront of Cardiff Bay.

Featuring a mix of urban and rural pathways, the trail passes through towns and villages that still display relics of their industrial heritage.

The Taff Trail - Cycle Brecon to Cardiff
Brecan in Wales

Who is the Taff Trail suitable for?

The trail is suitable for most levels of fitness, although it’s long so if you’re thinking of completing it in a single day, pack adequate snacks and water, a basic repair kit should your bike get damaged, wet weather gear if the Welsh weather takes a turn for the worse, and in case of emergency a mobile phone, some cash, and a credit or debit card.

The route of old tramways, railway lines, canals and towpaths mostly consists of off-road sections, but does feature short on-road sections, fire roads, and gravel and forest paths meaning you’ll need tyres with at least a little grip. Slicks won’t really do here especially if the trail areas are wet. As the Taff Trail is shared by walkers, cyclists and the occasional horse rider, a bell will also come in handy for making your presence known.

The Taff Trail route

The trail is well signposted for most of distance, but occasionally mischievous locals get their kicks by tampering with them, with hopes to send trail users in the wrong direction. If you’re in any doubt, this route guide has been produced by the charity Sustrans who also help to maintain sections of the trail and make it safer for cyclists. You can also buy the Taff Trail Guide: Fully illustrated and detailed route planner which includes a map – buy on Amazon.

The trail leaves Brecon, passing through Llanfrynach and Pencelli, then through The Brecon Beacons, Talybont reservoir, Torpantau, and Garwnant. This stretch is amongst some of the nicest scenery allowing you to take in the green and natural beauty of The Brecon Beacons. From Garwnant, it goes past Ponstsicill reservoir, Pontsarn, and the Cefn Coed viaduct before reaching Merthyr Tydfil. 

With the occasional pub, café and shop along the route, there are opportunities to stop, rest and grab a bite to eat. 

Leaving Merthyr Tydfil, the route passes Abercanaid and Pentrebach followed by Aberfan and Pontygwaith before reaching Quakers Yard, Abercynon, and Pontypridd. At this point the end is not too far away, but if you don’t feel like cycling the last stretch, train services run fairly frequently from Pontypridd, Trefforest and other stations along the line. Most trains will allow you to board along with your bike, but check for restrictions on certain days especially where there are events happening in Cardiff. At Pontypridd, make way to Penrhos and then to Taffs Well and Tongynlais where, if you’re feeling energetic, you may want to challenge yourself and cycle up the hill to the fairytale castle of Castell Coch nestled on the hillside. 

If you don’t fancy the hill ride, carry on toward Radyr and Cardiff making sure to look back along the way to catch a glimpse of Castell Coch. As you near Cardiff Bay, you’ll pass through Bute Park and view Cardiff castle and the Millennium Stadium before following the last stretches of the Taff River to the end of the trail where you’ll have a well-deserved rest. 

How long does it take to cycle the Taff Trail?

How long it takes you to cycle the Taff trail depends on how often you stop and your fitness level. The full 55-mile (88km) trail is easily accomplished in a day for someone of average fitness. Keep cyclists could probably do it in under four hours.

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Inca Jungle Trail To Machu Picchu – The Less Traveled Hike

The Inca Jungle Trail is a remote and ancient footpath in the same region of the Inca trail, but less traveled with more spectacular views.

A magnificent wilderness alternative for those who wish to escape the more congested trekking routes or those who are looking for alternative if the traditional hiking Inca Trail has no spaces available.

Book the Inca Jungle Trail with Viator.

Hiking the Inca Jungle Trail To Machu Picchu
Hiking the Inca Jungle Trail To Machu Picchu

Hiking the Inca Jungle Trail To Machu Picchu

Here’s the itinerary for hiking the Inca Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.

Day 01: Cusco Santa Maria

Have a coffee and leave in the morning — The journey begins leaving Cusco with a panoramic view of the city, and then way Chinchero / Ollantaytambo. There you will take the track on the right bank to rise to a height of 4350 meters above sea level, you will encounter with the Open Malaga. Point too mystical, where payment is made to land very often.

Finally, after about 2 hours approximately biking, you will reach the 1430 meters high Santa Maria. That’s your first day of rest in a lodge. You are in the middle of a humid forest and the magnificent for its fauna and flora.

Day 02: Santa Maria Santa Teresa

You will begin the day’s trekking, but first have an energy packed breakfast. This second day is really impressive! Here begins your journey of approximately seven to eight hours between up and down. But the interesting thing in this trek for the second day is not only part of Inca roads crossed perfectly designed, but also an adventure through the Inca jungle trail.

There you will be surrounded by green nature filled with fruit trees, rivers and exotic animals of the region. That will make you feel full of satisfaction. Among the fauna such as the parrots you will find countless varieties of flora like Coca, Coffee. Combine that with some wonderful hot springs where you can relax after a wonderful walk.

It’s a combination of Inca trail and forest roads. A great day! Then you will arrive to your final destination of the second day at Santa Teresa (1900 m).

Day 3: Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes

Nature, adventure and adrenaline on the third day hike to Machu Picchu. Enjoy the convenience of trekking in the pleasant climate that ranges from 20-30 ° C. Here in this third day of walking you will be six hours of walking. But full of energetic adrenaline. Cross not only landscapes but also other Inca trails that are also called path of nobility. You will have the privilege to enjoy a view from the highest point and it is the best gift of nature to which one can admire the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in the distance. Arrive at Aguas Calientes, where you will establish in your accommodation.

Day 4: Machu Picchu

On your special day, you get up very early (4:00 am) and you will head on foot to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in order to spot the cloud forest and other natural wonders of the dawn. Practically most of the day you will want to visit the archaeological complex, that will make this last day imperishable in the memory. Enjoy as well the mountain of Huayna Picchu (only 400 persons allowed per day). Then return to the town of Aguas Calientes where you could board the train or bus to transport you back to Cusco.

You could also stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes, which would allow you to visit Machu Pichu one more time.

Book the Inca Jungle Trail with Viator.

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A Guide to Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru is the most famous of South America’s trekking routes.

The 26 mile trek includes a mix of Inca ruins, mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest and subtropical jungle, leading to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu.

Though the terrain is not extremely difficult to hike, the high altitude will make it hard for an unprepared hiker. Hikers will need to spend several days in Cusco before the hike to adjust to the altitude. Drinking lots of water will help to acclimatize to the altitude.

There are only 500 Inca trail permits available per day, including support staff such as cooks, porters, and guides. So, we recommend booking your Inca trail tour at least 3 months in advance. During the peak summer months, however, you may want to book even further in advance.

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru

The best time for hiking the Inca Trail

The dry season, which is the best time of year to go, lasts from May to October or November and the rainy season is from December to April. The Inca trail is closed in February due to heavy rains. Day time temperatures can range anywhere from 50-82ºF, with night time temperatures from around 32-50ºF.

What to Pack for the Inca Trail

The tour operator you choose will help determine exactly what you need to bring on the trek. Usually they supply the appropriate duffel for you to pack and for the porters to carry, which can weight up to 17.6 lbs. You will carry only a light day pack. Usually they also provide all camping equipment, except for sleeping bags, which are available to rent. We highly recommend layering with water soluble clothing, or fabric the doesn’t retain moisture, and advise against wearing cotton, which absorbs water quickly and is slow to dry which can make for an uncomfortable trek.

We recommend you bring the following:

  • A small day pack that holds your sunglasses, hat, sun screen, insect repellent, a camera, a reusable water bottle, a wind jacket and rain gear.
  • One complete change of clothing per day.
  • Sweater and jacket for cool days or nights, gloves and winter hat recommended.
  • A down jacket is recommended for evenings, as it can get very cold at night.
  • Warm sweat pants for evening around camp and in tent.
  • Comfortable high top and water proof hiking boots.
  • Comfortable wool socks.
  • A pair of sneakers to wear around camp and a pair of flip flops for showering.
  • Passport.
  • A flashlight and batteries.
  • Personal toiletries and medications.
  • Medium sized towel.
  • Peruvian currency (soles) for tips and small purchases along the way.
  • Sleeping bag (if you choose not to rent one).

Check out our hiking gear guide.

What documents do you need to hike the Inca Trail?

You will need a passport that is valid at least six months after your date of arrival. Citizens from the US, UK, Canada and Australia visiting as tourist do not need a visa. Tourist may stay a maximum of 90 days, should you be staying longer you will need to request an extension from the Peruvian immigration authorities. All visitors must fill out a copy of a tourist card which will be provided on your flight to Peru; keep this in your passport and present it to authorities when departing the country.

Tipping on the Inca Trail

We recommend tipping your porters $10 per day and tipping your guide $15-20 a day.

Machu Picchu

Your journey will begin in Lima, where you will spend the night and depart the next day for Cusco. On most treks you will hike an average of 4-7.5 miles per day. Once you reach Machu Picchu you will spend the night and return to Cusco by train the next day. If you do not want to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you can also get there by train.

Hiking the Inca Trail with GAdventures

GAdventures was named the Best Inca Trail Tour Operator by the Regional Direction of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Cusco (RDFTTC) in Peru. By joining this tour, you will be helping to support over 569 local guides, porters, cooks, drivers and staff.

Their four-day Inca Trail trek combines the cultural highlights of the Sacred Valley with hiking through the region’s ruins, mountainscapes, and cloud forests.

Check out the tour here.

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