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Sri Lanka is a very special hiking destination. There are trails for all sorts of experience, from easy walks to more intense treks. Sri Lanka also has over 400 waterfalls, a visit to which is included in plenty of hikes. Here are some of the best hiking and trekking trails in Sri Lanka.
Ella Rock is a day hike from Ella town in the highlands, about 1000 meters above sea level. It’s best to leave your hotel or guesthouse early in the morning so as to avoid the crowds and the rain that usually comes in the afternoons. You might have a neighborhood dog following you up to the top!
Little Adam’s Peak is another hike in the mountain town of Ella. An easy day (preferably morning) hike, the views from Little Adam’s Peak is of rolling hills and tea plantations (although it’s sometimes covered in mist).
Horton Plains National Park is an area in the Sri Lankan Highlands at around 2000 meters above sea level. It consists of a rich plateau with thick forests, breezy grasslands, misty lakes and fresh waterfalls. There are a few options for hikers on Horton Plains, from short one hour trails to longer ones that span the entire plateau. On one edge of Horton Plains is World’s Edge, a sudden and steep 800 meter fall overlooking the countryside. On a clear day, even the ocean can be seen.
The Knuckles Range is located in the Central Highlands, between the regions of Kandy and Matale. The mountains are called ‘knuckles’ because of their shape from certain vantage points. The Knuckles Range has plenty of options for all types of hiker. One option is to take a day hike to one of the lowest peaks, have lunch at the top and come down a different way. Another is to take a three-day, two-night expedition to Meemure. Apart from those classic routes, there are some other trails that can be explored with Rapid Adventures. One of the most special things about the Knuckles Range is that hikers can experience all types of ecosystem, including sudden changes in weather and temperature.
Meemure is the most isolated village in Sri Lanka. An expedition to Meemure is an unforgettable experience, but isn’t best for day trippers. Hikes of more than two days are easier for experienced hikers. To get to Meemure, go to the Knuckles Range and take a trail from there. During a one-day hike or three-day expedition, the main attraction is the pointy mountain looming over the village.
Pidurangala is a large rock in the Sigiriya region. Hiking Pidurangala will give hikers a great view of the Sigiriya Fortress and 360 degree views of the valley around. A favorite way of trekking Pidurangala is at dawn, to watch the sunrise, and then after lunch going up Sigiriya for the sunset. A breakfast picnic atop Piduragangala is also a great way to start the day.
The hike to Adam’s Peak is more like a pilgrimage than a hike. People from all four of Sri Lanka’s religions have their reasons to climb up the 5200 steps to a height of over 2000 meters. It’s most popular to climb up for the sunrise, but in reality there are people going up and coming down throughout the day and night. November to May tend to be too rainy and it can be hard to climb, so it’s best to climb Adam’s Peak at other times of year.