Devil's Elbow Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

1.1 mi
628 ft
10.6 %



One of the most epic climbs in Wales with fantastic views and a double figure average grade. 

Visit our UK Top 10 Epic Hill Climbs and our Top 10 Epic Welsh Hill Climbs pages for photos, summaries and statistics for their respective top epic hill climbs. 

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bike parked along wire fence in grass along roadside, pastureland

Cycling Devil’s Elbow, Wales

Ride 1.1 miles gaining 630’ at 10.7% average grade.

This is a very scenic, albeit brief, climb in Southern Wales in Brecon Beacons National Park, one of three national parks in Wales.  When we asked Simon Warren to provide us his opinion of the most epic bike climbs in Wales, he listed Devil’s Elbow as #5, after Stwlan Dam (#1), Bwlch Y Groes (#2), The Cowlyd (#3), and Black Mountain (#4).

aerial drone views show sprawling pastureland in valley and hillsides below; street sign warning of sharp turns in road

Amazing views toward the top of the valley below.

PJAMM Cyclist sits on bike in one-lane roadway; pink foxgloves in pastureland along road side

Climb begins by riding up Sarn Helen Road from the Y.

The Devil’s Elbow is far out in the heartland of Wales, although most of Wales has a very “heartland” sort of feel to it. As we drove the narrow country roads to the base of the climb we encountered a massive herd of sheep that a local farmer was moving to another field. We put the car in park and took in the sight with awe. Don’t plan on a quick trip en route to the climb, the roads are narrow and technical to drive, but well worth the trip.

herd of sheep filling roadway as farmer moves them from one field to another

Traffic jam in Twyn Llanan.

photo collage shows pastureland, old stone buildings, along the climb

From the start point of the climb, this steep and very tough climb rises up from the farmlands and cuts across the steep hillside. There are two steep switchbacks to contend with, then you’ll be at the summit and enjoying endless views of the Welsh countryside - if you're lucky enough to have a clear day out here. It rains more often than not in this part of the world.

photo collage shows various stone walls along farmland

One of the things we love so much about riding in the UK are the amazing stone walls.

bike parked against guardrail overlooking pasturelands below

photo collage shows sheep grazing in pastures

There are an estimated 10,000,000 sheep in Wales, which equals about one-third of the total number in all of Britain.  However, the population of Britain is 67.22 million while Wales’ population is 3.1, meaning Wales has less than a twentieth of the human population of Britain.  That’s a lot of sheep!

PJAMM Cyclist rides along one-lane roadway to top of Devil's Elbow climb

Tayler finishing up the Devil’s Elbow near the top of the climb.

various views (street view and aerial drone view) of the Devil's Elbow switchback turn toward the top of the climb

Devil’s Elbow is near the finish of the climb.

The half-mile segment leading up and just past the second elbow averages 13%.

PJAMM Cyclists stand on trail at climb finish waving to drone; drone view of the Devil's Elbow switchback

Climb Finish

On the left side just past our summit point, there is a 4,000-year-old stone placed by early humans. The exact meaning of the rock has - of course - been lost in the years, but it is breathtaking nonetheless. Some locals told us that legend has it, the Stone moves towards a nearby creek on the summer solstice.  By chance, it was summer solstice on the day that we rode the Devil’s Elbow in 2022…no movement observed though.

bike parked against huge, 4,000-year-old stone just passed climb finish, placed by early humans; Maen Llia

Maen Llia, three-tenths of a mile past the finish.

The Maen Llia is a 4,000 year old stone (megalith) sitting on the moorland in Brecon Beacons National Park.  The stone measures 12’ high by 9’ wide and 2’ thick.

bike parked next to a monument with information about Maen Llia stone; actual stone can be seen in background

Monument near Maen Llia.