Hiking in Sri Lanka
For adventurers and thrill seekers, there are multiple opportunities for hiking in Sri Lanka. Most hikes commence from the Hill country region of Sri Lanka, which includes towns like Ella and Nuwara Eliya that serve as a base to set off on some breathtaking trails. Other interesting hikes are around the cultural triangle of the country. Whether you’re looking for easy trails or adventurous hikes, or simply exploring the serene cascades across the region, you can never run out of exciting things to do in Sri Lanka.
Here’s a list of some of our favourite trekking and hiking trails in Sri Lanka –
Sri Lanka calls out to all the adventure thirsty travellers, having a number of breathtaking treks to pick from.
Adams Peak (Base – Nuwara Eliya)
If you’re looking to go hiking in Sri Lanka this is by far one of the most popular treks. Adams Peak is a difficult trek that starts from Dalhousie (A short distance from Nuwara Eliya). The trek is best commenced early morning before the break of dawn, it takes upto 3-4 hours, depending on the crowd and weather conditions. Adams peak is one spot that is considered sacred by all religions, each with different reasons. The Buddhists believe it to be the left foot of Lord Buddha whereas Hindus believe it to be Lord Shivas footprint. Muslims and Christians believe it was Adams first step after being exiled from the Garden of Eden.
This hike is a steep climb that attracts pilgrims, both local and tourists. A climb up 5,200 steps to a height of over 2000 meters. Adams peak is a highly popular sunrise trek. The “high” pilgrimage season spans from December to April, January to February being the peak time. At other times the temple on the summit is unused, and between May and October clouds cover the peak most of the time.Despite the cool weather in the months of October & November, this time is best avoided due to probable precipitation. The descend is rather difficult where you climb down the murray estate route and finally make your way back to Nuwara Eliya.
A very popular and one of the toughest treks in Sri Lanka is the Adam’s Peak trail.
Horton Plains and World Ends
In order to get to Hortons Plains National Park, a plateau at an altitude of about 2.200 meters, You ought to take a 45 minute drive from Nuwara Eliya to the starting point of the trek. The scenic route along the narrow mountain paths eventually leads to the Horton Plains National Park – one of the few National Parks that can be explored on foot. The highlight of this hike is going up to the World’s End point where the plateau takes a fall of 800m with a surreal view of the valley. One unmissable sites here, is that of the baker falls. A dreamy cascade along the horton plains, bound to take your breath away.
Kirigalpoththa and Thotupala Trails are lesser known among the visitors of Horton Plains. So if you’re looking for an offbeat path, and if you’re looking to avoid the crowds at World’s End and also seeking higher chances of a clear view, these are the routes to explore.
The highlight of hiking up to the Hortons Plains National Park is reaching the World’s end point that offers breathtaking views.
Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock
The quaint town of Ella, perched in the Sri Lankan hill country region has a lot more to offer than lush green tea plantations. For all those thrill seekers, Ella is the base for two of the most famous treks on the island. If you’re looking to go hiking in Sri Lanka, these are two unmissable trails. An easy hike to the highest cliff in the village, both treks are the perfect points to experience a picturesque panoramic view of the entire region. We highly recommend that you commence the hike early morning to witness a splendid sunrise from the summit.
With Ella being the ultimate holiday destination to simply unwind, hiking may not be on your bucket list. The trek to Little Adams Peak is comparatively short.It offers a view of all of the hill country treasures including Ella Rock. Ella rock itself is a rather long trek with a mesmerizing view right from the ascend up to the summit, making this adventure worth it. Spend some time in the midst of nature while experiencing the islands beauty at its best. Little Adams Peak and Ella rock allow you to experience the best of both worlds – Adventure and peace, thrill and calm. A trek followed by some sweet time to unwind in the midst of nature.
Ella is the base for two of the most famous treks in Sri Lanka- Little Adam’s peak and Ella rock.
Often referred to as the beach country, Sri Lanka is also referred to as the Hill Country. The Knuckles Range stretches between the central highlands from Kandy to Matale. The range offers some of the best trails to explore depending on your interests and capabilities. The highest peak in the range is called Gombaniya. Knuckles range derives its name from the shape it takes, the shape of knuckles. With a wide variety of trails to offer, the knuckle range has treks to suit all kinds of travellers.
Some of the wonderful trails to experience include: Mini World’s End trail, Pitawala Pathena and Ash Cave trail. It also includes Nitre Cave and the Knuckles Summit. Exotic, challenging and untouristed, it is every trekkers paradise. Meemure, an untouristed and semi populated village, is one of the trails from Knuckles Range. It is perfect for a rather quiet, peaceful experience. Home to the world’s largest granite rock Lakegala which looms over the village protecting it and the adjacent lake. An overnight stay is recommended for this trek.
Pitawala Pathena is an unusual expanse of grassland found within the Knuckles Mountain Range. An ideal spot for an exciting hiking and camping experience. The trek leads you to the Riverstone peak, retaining its natural beauty given the absence of human wreckage. The highlight of this trek is the two serene cascades it leads you to – Sera Ella, with rock seats to relax at the summit and Bambarakiri Ella.
Hiking in Sri Lanka amidst breathtaking scenery will leave you with unforgettable memories.
For a leisure trail to keep up with your stamina, take a stroll through this natures paradise. An alternative and relaxed version of hiking in Sri Lanka. A day hike located in the faraway hamlet of Ratnapura is ideal if you’re looking for something more adventurous. With surreal view of the valleys, grasslands and dense forests, this is one experience you ought to sign up for. Especially if “trekking is not your thing”. A gorgeous region in the hill country with multiple hiking and trekking opportunities. It includes trails through the jungle, along the green fields and up the mountains, including a trek to Hortons Plains.
Belihuloya is an easy and more relaxed trek trail offering the most surreal views.
Sigiriya Rock is one of the prime tourist attractions and is definitely one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka, situated in the center of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. Pidurangala Rock, adjacent to Sigiriya Rock, is a site most people tend to skip. It is a highly recommended sunrise trek that offers an overall view of the valley. You can also see the Sigiriya Rock from the peak. To catch a splendid view of the sunrise and avoid the highly touristed Sigiriya rock, this hike is ideal for you. Despite being a short climb, it is a challenging one given the boulders along the trail. Halfway through the hike, make a stop at the Pidurangala Temple – A homage to the history of the Sigiriya Rock. For backpackers on a tight budget looking to experience Sigiriya at it’s best, this is just the right trek for you.
Pidurangala Rock trek is less touristy than the Sigiriya Rock and offers a great view of the valley.
Planning the ideal itinerary
If adventure is something you thrive on, Sri Lanka has some fantastic hikes and treks. Each catering to a different set of travellers. From easy trails to difficult climbs, from lush green plantations to gushing waterfalls, from flatlands to steep climbs, Sri Lanka has it all. Hiking in Sri Lanka may not be at the top of your “things to do” list. With the gorgeous beaches and the golden triangle brimming with history and culture. But if you’re seeking that adrenaline rush, then we highly recommend you try some of these hikes.
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