TREKKING IN SRI LANKA
Soak in the beauty of sweeping views of lush green from elevated heights, walk through the alluring wilderness, stunning slopes, delightful flora and fauna, and be awestruck by the natural features of uninterrupted picturesque views. These are just some of the beauty that awaits those who are not worried about getting their hiking boots dirty in Sri Lanka.
So, how does waking up before sunrise, walking through dense forests, evergreen valleys, charming villages, and enjoying panoramic views of nature lighting up with bursts of golden sunshine falling through fluffy white clouds from the top of a majestic mountain or a ravishing waterfall sound to the thrill-seeker in you? Sounds straight out of a storybook, isn’t it? Well, you can live this story and so much more in Sri Lanka. All you gotta do is pack your backpack and embark on one or all of the below trails.
Ella: Little Adams Peak & Ella Rock
Wish to be pampered by misty green hills, tea plantations, and narrow roads running through the laid-back little towns? A paradise for both locals and tourists, the charming town of Ella is also a heaven for those looking for a good dose of adventure. Even if you have not tried your footing at hiking, Ella is a great place to start with its most popular short hike enjoyed by everyone, “Little Adams Peak”. This short hike will take less than 30min to the peak, and most of the hike has carved steps with a fairly large area at the top to walk around and enjoy the view of the surrounding green hills. The view from Little Adams peak is an example of “never judge a book by its cover"!
If you are looking for a little more adventurous hike in Ella, then a sunrise hike to Ella Rock is for you. With an approximate 10-kilometer round trip, this hike would take about 3 -5 hours, depending on how much time you stay at the summit. Beginning at the Ella railway station, the trail to the peak is not a clear pathway that one could follow without a guide. However, the sunrise view from the summit is an experience that is more than rewarding, a one that every hiker should experience!
A hike in a lush green forest region with trees covered in moss, breathtaking views of waterfalls, vibrant wildflowers on beautiful green terrains, the sun shining through the gloominess of the dense jungle in absolute quietness of the wild is a snippet from the treat you are in for in Knuckles. Surrounded by 34 mountain peaks spanning 234 square kilometers, Knuckles is home to about 34 diverse and challenging trails of unpredictable weather, high leech population, and hugely dense forest regions, making it an adventurous off-the-beaten hike.
Horton Plains: The World’s End
A trail with wild grassy plains, a cloud forest, misty water streams, the first ray of sunlight kissing the green valleys, Bakers falls, and the breathtaking view from the viewpoint of the world’s end, Horton plains is the definition of “a sweet escape”.
On a clear day, at the world’s end viewpoint of a 1,200-meter terrain drop, you will experience a few floating clouds beneath you with the ethereal beauty of green valleys, charming villages, and water streams. And standing there with the cold breeze hugging you will leave you awestruck. The full loop of 10 Kilometers takes about 3 -5 hours to complete depending on the climate and how much time you would spend admiring the beauty of the world’s end viewpoint and Bakers falls.
Sigiriya and Pidurangala
Sigiriya known as the 8th wonder of the world is a hike through history. Climb to the ruins of "King Kasyapa’s" palace on the peak of the Sigiriya rock takes about nearly 1,200 steps and a walk through a gigantic Lion’s mouth carved on the rock. Sigiriya is one of the most preserved places in Sri Lanka and you will be marveled at ancient Sri Lanka’s architectural planning with its carved caves, beautiful gardens, exquisite waterworks, peaceful monasteries, and the ruins of the palace at the crest of the rock. Sigiriya is a masterpiece!
Standing in silence, about a kilometer away from Sigiriya is the Pidurangala rock. A peaceful climb through a rock monastic complex will take you to the crown of Pidurangala. The spectacular view of glorious Sigiriya beaming with pride illuminated by the golden rays of the sunrise amidst dense green forests at the summit is a view worth hiking. If you are the one to enjoy a little peace and quiet in the morning, the sacred summit of Pidurangala will surely leave a mark on your heart.
With an elevation of 2243 meters and a whopping 5500 paved steps, it is approximately a 4-hour hike to the summit, where the resembling of the sacred footprint lies and is worshiped by pilgrims with different beliefs. Regardless of your religious beliefs, waking up in the middle of the night to hike Adams peak under the quietness of a moonlit sky, through a mountainside illuminated by the lights of small tea shops, enriched with peaceful sights of local visitors engaging in various cultural and religious rituals, and surroundings cloaked with mesmerizing views of cloud forests is truly an incredible experience.
All of these adventurous hikes and more makes Sri Lanka not only a place to enjoy the sea, sun, and sand but also a trekkers paradise!