Hiking in Sri Lanka

Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a number of climbing and hiking opportunities. First of all, trails in tropical rainforests of Sinharaja are great for rainforest lovers. Furthermore, Sri Pada Sanctuary (Adams Peak) offers a decent climbing experience. Similarly, cloud forests of Horton Plains National park are among the best places for a memorable hike. Also, there are several peaks above 2000m and number of mountains above 1000m which offers great climbing opportunities.

Kirigalpotta Trail
Kirigalpoththa-SriLanka-April2010Where195km from Colombo (Nuwara Eliya)
Directionsmap link
Length5.6km
DifficultyDifficult
Time7 hours (one way)StayHotels in Nuwara Eliya
Elevation at Head2139mElevation at End2392m
Kirigalpotta is the second highest mountain in Sri Lanka. Located inside Horton Plains Nations Park, trail goes through pristine cloud forests.
Thotupola Trail
Thotupola kanda 1Where195km from Colombo (Nuwara Eliya)
Directionsmap link
Length1.3km
DifficultyMedium
Time3 hours (one way)StayHotels in Nuwara Eliya
Elevation at Head2170mElevation at End2361m
Thotupola is the third highest mountain in Sri Lanka. Located inside Horton Plains Nations Park, this short trail goes through cloud forests.
Horton Plains Circular Trail
WorldsendWhere195km from Colombo (Nuwara Eliya)
Directionsmap link
Length8km
DifficultyMedium
Time5 hours (one way)StayHotels in Nuwara Eliya
Elevation GainCircular Trail starts and ends at the Horton Plains visitor center. There are small accents and descents on the trail, but no significant climbing.
Circular trail is the most popular hiking trail in Horton Plains National Park. Can be completed by anyone with average fitness. Major attractions in the national park including World's End, Mini World's End and Baker's Falls. It is advisable to start the hike early in the morning in order to reach World's End before the mist rolls in and cover the scenery.
Sri Pada (Adams Peak) - Hatton, Nallathanniya Trail
Sri Paada1Where145km from Colombo (Hatton)
Directionsmap link
Length5km
DifficultyDifficult
Time7 hours (round trip)StayHotels in Nallathanniya
Elevation at Head1252mElevation at End2230m
This is the most popular and by far the easiest trail to climb the mountain. During the official climbing season between December and May hundreds of thousands climb on this trail. There are food stalls, first aid centers all the way to the top. Most of the trail is consists of cement steps. Most stats climb in the evening to reach the top before the daylight to witness the spectacular sunrise from the peak locally named as "Irasewaya".
Sri Pada (Adams Peak) - Rathnapura Palabathgala Trail
Sri pada roadWhere113km from Colombo (Rathnapura)
Directionsmap link
Length8.5km
DifficultyDifficult
Time12 hours (one way)StayHotels in Ratnapura
Elevation at Head250mElevation at End2230m
This is a popular trail among locals. Even though the trail is longer than the Hatton trail, gradient is lower. The trail joins the Hatton Trail for the final part of the climb which is known as "Mahagiridambaya". There are not as many shops or facilities compared to the Hatton trail, but far less crowded. Most of the trail is consists of cement steps.
Sri Pada (Adams Peak) - Kuruwita Erathna Trail
Sri PadaWhere89km from Colombo (Kuruwita)
Directionsmap link
Length12km
DifficultyDifficult
Time12 hours (one way)StayHotels in Ratnapura
Elevation at Head400mElevation at End2230m
Erathna trail is more difficult compared to Hatton and Palabathgala trails. There are no cement steps for the most of the trail. Climbers feel more close to the nature. This is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Sri Pada sanctuary. There are few shops along the route but no other facilities. Trail is rocky and uneven. Hiking shoes are recommended.
Deraniyagala, Udamaliboda Trail
Mahagiri DambayaWhere90km from Colombo (Kuruwita)
Directionsmap link
Length12km
DifficultyVery Difficult
StayHotels in Avissawella
Time12 hours (one way)
Elevation at Head550mElevation at End2230m
This is by far the toughest trail to the Adams Peak. Most of the trail goes through thick rain forest until it joins the Kuruwita Erathna Trail after about 8 kilometers. There are several steams you need to cross along the trail. Public transport from Deraniyagala to Udamaliboda can be unreliable, so a three wheeler or private transport is recommended. A service of a local guide can be useful though not mandatory. Hiking shoes are recommended. This trail does not require any technical climbing skills or climbing equipments.

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Source: http://www.lakdasun.org/content/trails