It is a linear route which runs for 152 km / 95 miles east to west through the National Park, and passes many of the most important landmarks and mountain peaks in the mountain range. It also includes many of the towns in the park as well as popular attractions such as Carreg Cennen Castle near Llandeilo at the western end of the path.
The Beacons Way as originally conceived started in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, at the eastern end of the National Park and headed northeast to Ysgyryd Fawr. It was later changed so that it started on the B4521 road immediately south of the hill at coordinates ( though the connection with Abergavenny has since been reinstated, albeit on a slightly different route: it now starts at )Abergavenny railway station. Beyond Ysgyryd Fawr the route drops down to Llanfihangel Crucorney, passing The Skirrid Mountain Inn before joining the Offa's Dyke Path to climb Hatterrall Hill. It then runs along the Welsh–English border for a few miles before descending into the Vale of Ewyas at Llanthony beside Llanthony Priory.
From Llanthony the route climbs to the ridge below Bal Mawr, follows this south and then makes for the village of Partrishow and over the slopes of Crug Mawr before dropping into the valley of the Grwyne Fechan to the north of Llanbedr. It climbs again to the spectacular Iron Age hillfort of Crug Hywel  and then descends to the small town of Crickhowell.
Pen y Fan
From Crickhowell  the Beacons Way skirts the mass of Pen Cerrig-calch to reach Cwmdu in the Rhiangoll valley then heads up onto the southern ridge of Mynydd Llangorse which it then follows southwards to the village of Bwlch. The Way crosses the River Usk to enter Llangynidr and heads up around Tor y Foel making for the head of Glyn Collwn above Talybont Reservoir. The route then crosses the highest peaks in the central Beacons : Pen y Fan and Corn Du. In good weather, the peaks are usually crowded with visitors.
After dropping down to the Storey Arms on the A470 road, it heads northwest to the summit of Craig Cerrig-gleisiad in Fforest Fawr, and then continues southwest over Fan Dringarth and Fan Llia to cross the Afon Llia at Blaen Llia.
The Black Mountain Range
The route then follows a section of the Roman road known as Sarn Helen before cutting off west through the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu national nature reserve to Penwyllt. The Beacons Way passes by Craig-y-Nos Castle, once home to Adelina Patti, and up along Fan Hir and Fan Brycheiniog, significant eastern peaks of the Black Mountain rising above Llyn y Fan Fawr, before entering Carmarthenshire. It traverses the three main summits of the Carmarthen Fans, these being Fan Foel, Picws Du and Waun Lefrith, passing above Llyn y Fan Fach before dropping down to Llanddeusant.
A low level alternative runs beneath the Black Mountain escarpment, east of Llyn y Fan Fawr and north of Llyn y Fan Fach. In the west, the route climbs to Carreg Cennen Castle and Garn Goch. The route originally finished at the railway station at Llangadog but was later modified to stop at the village of Bethlehem (. The original finish has since been reinstated. )
Completing the walk
It is a strenuous walk with plenty of ascents and descents. Parts of the route across open moorland can be difficult to navigate in poor weather - this and the isolation of these sections can make following parts of the route hazardous. The Beacons Way can be walked in its entirety in about 8 days but could easily take twice as long as there is so much to explore and enjoy en route. There are numerous camping sites along the route, and accommodation is available in the towns and villages on the route.
Development of the route
The Beacons Way was conceived by the Brecon Beacons Park Society and local walkers, particularly the Society's Secretary John Sansom , Arwel Michael and Chris Barber and was developed as recently as 2005. The alignment has been modified on several occasions, the most recent (as of December 2016) being put in place in spring 2016. The path crosses several peat bogs, where stone pavements have been laid to protect the vegetation and assist walkers.
- Brecon Beacons Park Society route info
- Brecon Beacons visitor website guide to the route
- The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority's information on The Beacons Way
- Googlemap of a 6-day version of the Beacons Way route