Best Places for Hiking in Sri Lanka

Hiking in Sri Lanka is one of the most favorite activities that is popular among our guests and locals alike. Sri Lanka boasts of so many rainforests and mountains, so how can one find out the best places for hiking in Sri Lanka? Below are some of the top ranking destinations recommended by the tour guides of Safari in Sri Lanka Ltd., to experience the best hiking in Sri Lanka.

Hiking & Trekking in Sri Lanka

Climbing Adam's Peak

Distance & Duration: 7 km, 2.5-4 hours
Best time to Visit: December to May

You may call this the spiritual hike in Sri Lanka since Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims alike believe that their religious leader placed his sacred footprint on this place known as Adam’s Peak. Some call it Sri Pada or Samanala Kanda (Butterfly Mountain) as well. It is a awe-inspiring 2,243 meter high mountain which is also the tallest point in the area.

Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) is located in the central highland of Southern Sri Lanka. Our tour guides at Safari in Sri Lanka take our guests via the Hatton route, which is the main gateway to the location.

The Sinhala Buddhists plan for their annual hike to Adams Peak during December and May. This is their pilgrimage season which ends with the Vesak Poya day in May.
Avoid the weekends and holidays of Sri Lanka to visit Adam’s Peak and you will be able to avoid too much crowd. Start the hike at least by 2 am or previous night so you will reach the top before dawn. This is the most awe-inspiring moment of the morning sun illuminating the entire area. You need to experience this as it cannot be described through words. This is a sight you must never miss if you plan to do hiking in Sri Lanka. Prepare to allocate at least 2 days if you join us on this magnificent hiking trail in Sri Lanka.

sunrise, nature, the sky travel in sri lanka
View from Adam's Peak Sri Lanka

Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock hiking in Sri Lanka

Distance & Duration: 4.5 km to 10 km half day-hike

This is an enchanting hike through the eucalyptus trees and forests up to the dizzying hills which present you the gorgeous views of the valley. Many of our guests found this the most beautiful hike in Sri Lanka.

Ella town gets the most traffic in the Hill country of Sri Lanka. It is located at an altitude of 1,041 meters. Once you reach the Ella town, you need to travel further 8 kms to arrive at the Ella Rock. The hike may require 2- 3 hours but it may take more time when people stopover at many places to take photographs.

On your way up, there is plenty of entertainment with the resident monkeys which are hopefully waiting for a treat.

Little Adam’s Peak is found approximately 4.5 km from Ella Rock. Most people go this extra distance to experience the view from Little Adam’s Peak too. You will not regret going this extra few kilometers as it offers beautiful views from the top.
It will require about 2 hours and it is a much shorter trail than Ella Rock. Once you are at the top you will forget about your tired limbs when you see the impressive 360-degree view overlooking the entire valley which stretches all the way up to the Udawalawe National Park.

There are many other attractions one can see in Ella, including the Nine Arches Bridge, Diyaluma Waterfalls, Halpewatte Tea Factory, the Lipton Seat, Ravana’s Cave, Flying Ravana Mega Zipline, Dhowa Rock Temple, Ella Spice Garden and many more.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve hiking trail

Distance & Duration: 2 – 3 hours

Best times to visit: January to March and August to September

This is an easy hike which is ideal for the bird lovers. Sinharaja Forest Reserve is the largest rainforest in Sri Lanka which is framed by rivers and forests. It boasts of rare mammals and nearly 160 bird species including 30 endemic species found only in Sri Lanka. It is a biodiversity hotspot with endemic fauna and flora, reptiles, birds and amphibians. Located in the country’s wet zone, Sinharaja rainforest receives heavy rainfall from May to July and November to January. Therefore we recommend you do this trek during the driest months. 

As we always recommend, you need to start the journey very early to spot the rarest bird species including the frogmouth. 

The main trail is about 2500 meters and be sure to have a tour guide accompanying you when you enter Sinharaja forest for safety reasons. 

Sigiriya to Pidurangala Rock Climbing

Distance and duration: 1 to 3 km, half day to one day

Crowned by the ruins of King Kasyapa’s palace, Sigiriya is one of the most popular locations for hiking in Sri Lanka. It is not hard to climb Sigiriya as it has steps. There are about 1,200 steps to climb for you to reach the summit. This will take around 45 minutes, however it depends on your fitness level. Return trip is even easier as it is only climbing down the steps. Once you reach the top you will see the ruins of Sky Palace and the 360 degree sweeping countryside view in all directions. On your way to the top you will see the frescoes of the ancient ladies (King Kasyapa’s harem), the Mirror Wall and the Lion Staircase. 

 

Sigiriya rock climb
Sigiriya Rock Sri Lanka

Pidurangala is a massive rock formation located close to Sigiriya. It is a much more tedious climb up to Pidurangala than Sigiriya however if you are young and fit, it is a truly rewarding climb. It will take approximately 2 hours to climb Pidurangala rock. If you are up to it, you may walk a further 1 km and visit the Pidurangala monastic complex towards the north of Sigiriya.

Horton Plains & World’s End Walk

Distance & duration: 9.5 km, three hours

World’s End is the name given to the drop-off at the edge of Horton Plains. Horton Plains National Park is a beautiful place in Nuwara Eliya which leads you to World’s End which is a 4000 foot high precipice. It is home to a huge array of wildlife, fauna  and flora. The road is very steep and winding. There are ample places to stop by and take photographs, although this may lengthen your journey. 

It is a truly magnificent view once you are at the summit, however you must get there before the clouds cover the spectacular view.  This trail includes waterfalls, misty lakes, grasslands and thick forest patches swarmed with the rarest bird species. Be sure to bring your binoculars if you are interested in bird watching. 

Our guides can arrange the drop off and pick up from Nuwara Eliya and Ohiya. Best time to start your hike is early morning and you will have an entertaining time amidst the chirping of birds throughout your hike.

Hike to Lipton’s Seat in Haputale

Distance & duration: 8 km, 2 hrs

If you are a tea enthusiast, this is the ideal hike for you. Located in the cool city of Haputale, Lipton’s Seat is found within the Dambatenne Tea Estate which was founded by Thomas Lipton in 1890. You are also able to visit the tea factory once you complete the hike and watch the process of tea making. Most tourists and visitors take this tour around the tea factory at the end of their hike. As with most other places for hiking in Sri Lanka, the best time to visit this amazing place is early morning. The view is breathtakingly beautiful at sunrise. 

The tour guides at Safari in Sri Lanka Ltd., will be happy to plan your trip enabling you to see many attractions in Haputale along with the hike to Lipton’s Seat.

Hiking & Trekking in the The Knuckles Range

Duration: 1 – 2 days

Best time to visit: February to September

If you are on a city tour in Kandy, you may add an extra 2 days to cover this magnificent trail to the Knuckles Range which is a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a rugged trail as well as a strenuous walk, therefore consider this if you are physically fit. Due to the vastness of the area tourists tend to get lost. Therefore it is best to be accompanied by a reliable and qualified tour guide

The Knuckles Range is a major eco-tourism spot with many hiking trails, streams, waterfalls as well as birds, amphibians, mammals, reptiles and stunning vegetation. 

During your hike you will encounter monkeys, buffaloes and with a bit of luck leopards and elephants. 

The name Knuckles was derived from the mountain range which resembles a closed fist from a distance. Since it takes 2 days to cover this trail most people plan on camping and continuing on the 2nd day. This is a quite interesting hiking trail since you will be passing through terraced paddy fields before reaching the higher levels.

Contact Us to embark on your journey to the best hiking places in Sri Lanka

The tour guides at Safari in Sri Lanka Ltd., will be happy to plan and arrange your hiking trip to any of the above best hiking places in Sri Lanka

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