Hiking Places in Sri Lanka : 10 Trails with the Most Scenic Views

by Lalantha Wijerathne
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Hanthana_Mountain_Range

The beauty of Sri Lanka, surrounded by beautiful beaches, foggy central hills, historic ruins,
forests and lush green fields, has been likened to a paradise many times. Unlike admiring the
landscape passively from a car’s window, the world utterly changes and comes to life when you
explore it on foot. This is especially true for Sri Lanka. Only you and a small community of fellow
hikers will be able to see the true sharpe of this mysterious land and views beyond common
tourist routes.

Even though the country sees a large number of tourists each year, the vast majority of these
visitors will stay on the paved roads near their vehicles and only visit the most popular
destinations. Hikers, however, have the opportunity to discover all of the hidden destinations
and to enjoy the ultimate calmness and silence of Sri Lankan essence that is unparalleled by
any other part of the world.

In this article, we’ve drafted the top 10 best hikings in Sri Lanka to give you an overview of what
options you have for trekking in Sri Lanka. Ultimately, the trails you end up choosing will be
based on personal preferences more than anything else. The hiking trails vary in terms of
difficulty, duration, cultural elements and remoteness. Depending upon these factors and your
financial status, you can make an informed decision as to which trek would be fitting for you.
So, here’s our list of top 10 best trails in Sri Lanka.

1. Knuckles Mountain Range, Kandy

The Knuckles Mountain range includes sections of Kandy and Matale with the Mahaweli Valley
separating it from the Central Hills on the South and East while the Matale valley does the same
on the West. It was named Knuckles because the mountain range looks like a clenched fist. Its
importance lies in its clear water, cloud forests and unique flora and fauna. The Knuckles
mountain range (175 km2) was the 2nd largest cloudy rainforest in Sri Lanka.

The Knuckles range includes the Dothalugala (5164 ft), Kobbaneegala (5098 ft), Knuckles (6112 ft),
Gombaniya (6248 ft) mountain ranges and several other major mountains including Lakegala,
Kalupahana, Wamarapuragala in the central hills of Sri Lanka. Knuckles has become a popular
destination among mountain climbers in recent years. Although there are several routes for
climbing Knuckles, the easiest way is to travel from Colombo to Kandy to Wattegama to
Bambarella or Gomeraya and reach the footer of the hill.

2. Kirigalpotta Mountain, Horton Plains

Kirigalpoththa mountain is the second highest mountain in Sri Lanka with a 2,388m(7,835 ft)
height above the sea level. The peak is situated near the city of Nuwara Eliya and it’s part of the
world famous Horton Plains National Park. Kirigalpotta consist several beauties and high
amount of endemic varieties. Especially endemic plants, flowers, mammals, snakes, birds and
insects can be found at the mountain. Kirigalpotta Mountain Is considered as the highest point in
Sri Lanka open to the mountain climbers (Piduruthalagala mountain, the highest mountain in Sri
Lanka, is used for military purposes and entry is limited).
Travel to this peak is somewhat difficult. At the entrance to Horton Plains National Park, you will
able to see Mount Kirigalpotta. The easiest way to get to the foot of the mountain is to walk
along the road near the Horton Plains Museum. The four-hour trek will take you to the beautiful
valleys filled with flowers and streams, as well as swarms of Sambur and other beautiful
animals.

3. Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock, Badulla

Hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful train rides, the train to Ella is top of most travelers’ lists
when they travel to Sri Lanka. Ella in Sri Lanka is a beautiful paradise that offers stunning mountain
hikes, and lovely waterfalls. There are many stunning places to see in Ella including Demodara Nine
Arch Bridge, Diyaluma Fall, Ravana Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat and also Little Adam’s Peak and Ella
Rock. Climbing up the Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock is one of the favorite activities among the
tourists and also localists who traveling to Ella for their holiday.
Little Adam’s Peak whether considering the word ‘Little’ it is named after the sacred Adams Peak
(Sri Pada –where the footprint of Buddha is preserved) regarding the similarity between the two

mountains. Therefore the mountain was called Little Adams Peak. “Punchi Sri Pada” is another
name for this peak. It’s 1141m in height above sea level. Looking over the valley, the hike takes
about 45 minutes from Ella Town to the foothills of Little Adam’s Peak.
Ella Rock Sri Lanka is another famous cliff located high above Ella’s village and 1041m (3415ft)
above sea level. The stunning viewpoint rewards you with the most breathtaking look out across the
hills that filled with green. The hike takes about 2 hours to reach atop the hill and it’s better to start
the hike in the early morning.

4. Narangala the golden peak, Badulla

Narangala Mountain is situated in Badulla district in Uva province, Sri Lanka. It’s the second
highest peak (1527m) in the Uva province and which is only second to the Namunukula
Mountain. The shade of light golden colour that can be seen from Narangala peak is the reason
why it owns the name the golden peak. If you could reach the Narangala Mountain in the early
morning you will be able to see the wonderful sunrise Poonagala area, Madolsima area on one
side and the Idalgashinna and Haputale, Namunukula mountain range and also Horton Plains
on the other side.

If you are coming to climb the Narangala Mountain you have to come to Hali Ela town. From
Hali Ela Town you have to travel through Kandegedara Road till you reach the Kinakale small
town. Then you need to park your Vehicles near the old tea factory and then you will be able to
start hiking. There are footpaths and steps where you can use to reach the Narangala the
golden peak.

5. Paraviyangala Mountain (Adara Kanda), Belihuloya

Paraviyangala mountain also called as Adara Kanda due to the cultural practices of
Sabaragamuwa University students. Its height is close to 1500 m. There are several other
stunning mountain ranges around this Paraviyangala mountain. Hawagala, Gommolli,
Nasdaduhina and Nonperial mountains are just a few of them. If you reach the top of the
mountain, you will be able to see Samanala, Uma lakes, World’s End and Walawe River Valley.
When you go to the Paraviyangala mountain, the first thing to do is to reach the Sabaragamuwa
University near Belihuloya. Paraviyangala also known as Adamakanda is near the University of

Sabaragamuwa. From there, there is a clear foot path to the top of the mountain. On this
mountain climb you will have the experience of a European mountain and a breathtaking
experience. If you choose June to August for mountain climbing, it is imperative to be careful of
the heavy wind.

6. Wangedigala Mountain, Kalupahana, Badulle

If you are a mountaineer, Wangadigala mountain is a must-visit. You can reach the top of the
hill via a high up just a little beyond the Kalupahana junction near the Colombo Badulla main
road in the Sabaragamuwa district. Along there are several alternate routes, which can be reach
the top of the hill. After about two hours of climbing, one can see the hill top of the Wangedigala
mountain in the shape of a mortar. The Wangedigala and Wangedigala mountain ranges are
clearly different places. The location described above is Wangadigala (1400 m), and the
spectacular mountain range in which it is situated is the Wangadigala mountain range. The
highest point in this mountain range is Gommolli mountain which is 2034m above sea level. It is
the 13th highest mountain in Sri Lanka. Balathuduwa is another peak near Mount Gommolli.
When you reach the top of Wangedigala, the first sight that comes to mind is the beautiful
Bambarakanda Falls. If you look a little further, you can also see the top of the Lanka Falls and
Devil’s Staircase from the top of Wangadigala. Also, on a clear day, you can see the
south-western extremity of the Wangadigala boundary separating the coastal plain and
mountainous region. It should be noted here that the scenery is of striking beauty.

7. Hawagala Mountain, Belihuloya

Haagala or Hawagala is a spectacular mountain range in the catchment area of Belihuloya in
Rathnapura district. Its name derives from the fact that the Hawagala Mountain is home to a
large number of rabbits. With a 360 degree panorama, this mountain offers you beautiful views
after a difficult climb. From the Hawagala mountain top, you will able to see several provinces of
Sri Lanka can be seen at one time and the sunrise from rising in the east of the morning is a
must-see in life. The mountain is surrounded by Nonpareil, Horton Plains Range, Paraviyangala
Mountain and the Samanala Lake. It is home to a large number of rabbits. Therefore, it is very
difficult to spend the night here because of the leopards that seek prey at night.

From the Belihuloya Rest House, there is a clear and easy way to reach this hill from Uda
Galagama Road. You can also reach Hawagala Mountain from Balangoda through an unknown
route. From there, you can reach the famous beautiful Pahanthudawa Ella waterfall. The
journey can be completed within a maximum of 2 hours from the point of start of the journey.
During the rainy season, there are water sources on this hill. However, the water is not suitable
for drinking.

8. Kehelpothdoruwegala Mountain (Little Everest in Sri Lanka) and Yahangala,
Ududumbara

Kehelpothdoruwegala is one of the highest mountains in Knuckles Mountain Range with height of
1530m above sea level. And also it’s the longest name of a Mountain in Sri Lanka. The
Kehelpetdorawegala sub mountain range consists of four main hills and two small hills that form the
shape of a banana leaves which surrounds the village of Kalugala at the Ududumbara area. It is
1460m in height above sea level. On one side of this mountain range, the Yahangala peak is located
which is very popular among mountain climbers. There is evidence that there were meditating
monks in ancient eras.
When you reach the top of this hill, you will see the beautiful Welangala Patana of the Knuckles
Forest Reserve. You will also be able to see a number of beautiful mountain ranges such as Lake
Gala, Hunnasgiriya and Knuckles and also areas of Ududumbara, Mahiyanganaya, Theldeniya. It is
not difficult to climb the Kehelpaduruwagala. But it is very difficult to cross the Yahangala and you
will definitely need the help of an experienced mountain guide. The way to reach the
Kehelpadoruwagala mountain range, travel to Ududumbara from Kandy and reach the village of
Kalugala. The village is famous for Jaggery toddy (local kithul), Jaggery treacle and Jaggery
jaggery. From this beautiful village you can reach the mountain footer about 2 km away. The trek
through the orange estates and the beautiful valley will be a stunning experience.

9. Alagalla Mountain Range, Polaththapitiya

At the end of this list are the two mountain ranges, Alagalla and Hanthana. Because both of
which are suitable for inexperienced climbers and mountains are near to cities and easy to
reach.
Alagalla is a mountain that any climber must climb. It is also a safe place for a beginner to climb,
You can get there by train in about two hours from Colombo. You can see the top of the Alagalla

mountain as you board the train and get off at Ihala Kotte railway station. If you are traveling by
bus from Kandy, direct bus services are available from Kandy to Pottapitiya (Route No. 649).
Poththapitiya is a well developed town. So you can provide most of the requirements without
any hassle.
From here you can see many famous hills such as Uthuwankanda and Bathalegala. Mawanella,
Kegalle and Kadugannawa towns also provide stunning views to the hill. At the other end of the
Alagalla mountain is a buddhist temple called the Pabbatharamaya. Also this mountain range
includes the Delkanda Ella waterfall, which are about 20 feet high.

10. Hanthana Mountain Range, Kandy

The Hanthana Mountain Range lies in central Sri Lanka, south-west of the city of Kandy. The
maximum height of the range is 1158m. The mountain range consists of seven peaks. The
highest one being the Uura Kanda.The range is a favourite destination among the newest
mountain hikers.
There are many access roads to the reach Hanthana mountain range. The most commonly
used roads are the Hanthana Udabowala road, the road through the Wijerama Temple, the road
through Amaya Hills Hotel and the road through Sarasaviigama. One of the best of these is the
road till the Hanthana 4 post, which comes from the Kandy town along the Hanthana road (the
road leading to the hospital). There is a clear path from the footer of the mountain to the
communication towers at the mountain top. These towers are located near the top of the hill. As
you pass the first ridge, you will see a magnificent view of 280. This spectacular view includes
districts and cities of Kandy, Mathale and Kegalle, and also mountain ranges such as Knuckles,
Raxawa, Alagalle and Piduruthalagala.
Local songwriters have lyricised the scenic beauty and tranquility of these mountains in many
times. The University of Peradeniya is situated adjacent to the Hanthana mountain range.
The lush green mountains around Sri Lanka, is perfect. Take a hike. The variety and beauty of
landscapes in this tropical island will never leave you bored!

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