A brutally steep road to Bwlch Pen Barras in Wales

Bwlch Pen Barras is a mountain pass at an elevation of 360m (1,181ft) above the sea level, located in Denbighshire county, in Wales. It includes climbing 25% at various points.

Bwlch Pen Barras

How long is Bwlch Pen Barras?

Set high in the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in the north-eastern part of the country, the road to the summit is fully paved, but very narrow and steep. The pass is 5.6km (3.5 miles) long, running from Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd to Tafarn-y-Gelyn. The pass is also known as Bwlch Penbarras or Old Bwlch.

Is Bwlch Pen Barras steep?

It’s a pretty tough climb popular with cyclists. There are 2 routes to reach the pass. From the west side (from Llanbedr-Dyffryn-Clwyd) the road gains 260 metres (853 feet) in altitude in just 2.25km (1.4 miles), the first half of which is at a gradient approaching 25%, followed by an even-steeper hairpin bend before the gradient finally eases slightly. More than two kilometres in length, the climb is introduced softly but very quickly begins to rise steeply, reaching a fearsome crescendo as it bends left on a huge 25 per cent hairpin. The other route, the east side, has a less severe gradient, but from the summit it is dead-straight for over a mile downhill, which provides an exhilarating descent for cyclists who have struggled up the pass from Llanbedr. Its location also makes it an ideal segment to link up with other climbs in the area, including The Shelf and Horseshoe Pass.