Is Sri Lanka good for trekking? In one single word, yes! Sri Lanka has rich biodiversity and historical and arcological significance, which makes it an ideal destination for trekkers. From the Rain Forest treks of Kitulgala to Adam’s peak trek, if you love trekking, Sri Lanka has much to offer you. The climate is well suited to trekkers and the natural beauty of the land is breathtaking. The forests provide a great wild and natural environment for those looking to experience a closer connection to nature.
You have the chance to witness some beautiful waterfalls, rivers and streams, in the depths of the rainforest. If you prefer trekking in a cooler climate, then the trek at World’s End is a must for when you visit Sri Lanka.
You will have the opportunity to catch some amazing sunrises and take some spectacular pictures of forests and natural landscapes. The sights and sounds that usually accompany these treks will leave you with a newfound appreciation for nature. If you are a nature lover, then you will cherish some of the treks on this list, so keeping reading word to word.
21 Best Trekking Excursions in Sri Lanka
When it comes to trekking, there are various excursions in Sri Lanka based on what you want to see and experience. Whether it’s climbing to the top of Adam’s Peak or simply facing the 1200-metre drop at World’s End, there is something for everyone on this list.
Here is the list of the 21 best trekking excursions in Sri Lanka.
1) World’s End, Nuwara Eliya
This is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Sri Lanka. World’s End offers some spectacular views, including a sheer 1200-meter drop. If you are looking for a trekking excursion in a cool climate with some amazing views off cliffs, then this should be the excursion for you.
You will find yourself battling the wind as you make yourself through the trek and witness the spectacular Baker’s fall along the way. You will also encounter some amazing wildlife, which makes it ideal for wildlife and nature photographers. The flora and fauna in the region in beautiful with a diverse variety of plant species, native to the region.
Located in Horton Plains, to get here, simply ask a tuk-tuk driver to take you to Horton Plains from Nuwara Eliya.
It is best to reach World’s End before 10 in the morning because the cloud cover makes visibility very difficult during later times of the day.
World’s End is a popular destination for many tourists who visit Sri Lanka. It is ideal for ecotourists who want to experience everything that nature has to offer.
2) Meemura, Sri Lanka
This tiny village in Sri Lanka has a population of about 400 people. This remote village has some amazing lush greenery, which makes it ideal for ecotourists from around the world. The beautiful trees and forest beings will soothe the senses and leave you feeling revitalised and rejuvenated.
You will for certain fall in love with the spectacular landscapes of mountains. Meemura also has some historical significance; it is the place where Ravana lifted Dhadu Monara (Ravana’s aircraft).
Considered the remotest village in Sri Lanka, Meemura is situated between the districts of Kandy and Matale.
If you are a nature lover, then this trek will leave you rewarded, fueling your adventurous spirit further.
There are budget accommodation facilities available, which makes the location very affordable for tourists. As for trekking equipment, you can hire them before you start your adventure into the depths of nature.
3) Sinharaja Rainforest
Awarded the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the forest reserve of Sinharaja is simply spectacular. The rich biodiversity and wildlife in this rainforest is an absolute treasure for any nature lover. At an area of 111.9 km² the forest reserve is home to many endemic species of birds, trees, mammals, amphibians, insects and reptiles.
It is the rich biodiversity of wildlife at the Sinharaja Rainforest, which makes this an ideal excursion for nature lovers. If you are looking for a trek in Sri Lanka with the most rewards of nature, then the Sinharaja Rainforest trek should be the excursion for you.
You will find yourself in the depths of the rainforest, soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of everything nature has to offer. The trekking route is safe from wild animals, however, you will enjoy much of the lush greenery, blessed upon by this rainforest.
Situated 160 km from Colombo, the best time to visit Sinharaja is December to April; August and September.
4) Adam’s Peak
A place of historical, cultural and religious significance, the summit of Adam’s Peak is a view not to be missed. In fact, a greater portion of the tourists that visit Sri Lanka make it a point to climb Adam’s Peak.
At the summit of the peak, you will find the sacred footprint of Buddha, which is an imprint painted in gold. The locals call this sacred location, Sri Pada.
The trek can be quite treacherous, requiring 5500 steps to reach the summit. However, there are so many rewards of reaching the top. Further to the fact that locals consider climbing Adam’s Peak to be a blessing, the views of the natural landscapes from the summit are breathtaking.
You start your climb at Dalhousie village, which is situated approximately 5 hours from the airport. The summit does get cold, hence you should ensure that you are wearing appropriate clothing to keep you warm.
The best time to trek Adam’s Peak is between December and January. It is best to start the trek by night and aim to climb to the summit by dawn. This time of the day is especially beautiful at the summit. It will make for some amazing pictures.
5) Kitugala Forest Reserve
Located 95 km from Colombo, Kitugala Forest Reserve is located in Kitulgala; considered the wettest place in the country. Kitulgala is blessed with monsoons twice a year, which is perfect for the amazing species of flora and fauna within the forest.
You will have an experience of a lifetime, riding down the open river on a wooden boat amidst the beautiful, lush forest.
The wildlife within the forest is diverse, especially the birdlife that thrive in the wetter setting of Kithulgala.
Along your trek, you may encounter some amazing waterfalls with crystal clear water. You’ll have a chance to bathe in the streams and waterfalls and refresh yourself, becoming more in tune with nature and the forest.
The best time to visit the forest reserve is between February to April.
6) Horton Plains National Park
Considered one of the best places for trekking in Sri Lanka, Horton National Park holds some spectacular scenic panoramas amidst rich and diverse flora and fauna.
The trekking trails at Horton Plains National Park stretches an area of 9 km². Though you can explore the park by jeep, the trekking trails offers sights and sounds which should not be missed.
You may spot some beautiful wildlife, such as wild boars and deer, trekking amidst some of the most iconic and beautiful natural sceneries in the country.
In fact, if you trek along Horton Plains National Park, you get to World’s End which is the endpoint on this trekking excursion.
Located in Ohiya, the best time to trek Horton Plains National Park is from November to March.
If you do consider partaking in this trek, it is recommended that you trek to reach World’s End for sunrise; it is simply spectacular during this time of the day.
7) The Knuckles Mountain Range
Located in the districts of Matale and Kandy, it is the pleasant climate of the region that makes this trek so appealing to so many people. There are several nature trails to choose from when you consider trekking the Knuckles Mountain Range.
Trekking the open nature trails brings about a sense of adventure, which is both thrilling and captivating. You will witness some amazing sceneries ranging from tea gardens to beautiful meadows. The trails of the Knuckles Mountain Range can’t all be covered on the same day. Hence you will find yourself trying to choose the best trail for you. This is why, we have provided you with a guide to trekking the knuckles mountain range, which you can find further down this post.
You are only permitted to trek these trails with an experienced tracker, for the top of the range can become rather confusing for people. The best time to trek the Knuckles Mountain Range is from December to February.
8) Waterfalls of Kitulgala
As mentioned prior, the forest reserve of Kithugala has made the list of the 21 best trekking excursions of Sri Lanka. However, Kitulgala has more to offer the ecotourist who is looking for some unmatched adventure activity that will make his whole trip worth the while.
When you consider an unmatched adventure activity, you have to consider waterfall trekking. Waterfall trekking is one of the most popular adventure sports amongst tourists who visit Sri Lanka. You have a chance to get closer to these amazing waterfalls which provide for some spectacular panoramic views of the waterfalls.
You will trek through the lush greenery, up rocks and boulders enjoying some exotic flora and fauna which are even rare in Sri Lanka.
Though you don’t require previous training to partake in waterfall trekking, it is recommended that you wear some well-gripped shoes that keep you grounded through the trek.
The best time to visit Kithulgala for waterfall trekking is from February to April.
9) Weligalpoththa Monastery
This immensely peaceful Buddhist monastery located in Weligalpththa offers some amazing views of nature and beautiful panoramas.
You will get to experience Buddhism on this trek, for it will allow you to get a closer glimpse at the lives of these monks. These monks dedicate themselves to meditation for weeks and months, nestled in the bosom of the forest.
Considered an easier trek in comparison to some of the other treks on this list, this trail will leave you culturally evolved, having experience the lifestyle of the local villagers and monks.
You will trek through some jungle paths and remote villages and encounter some beautiful wildlife on the way to the monastery.
You should start the trek in the early hours of the morning to ensure that you get to the monastery during the best time of the day.
10) Bambarakanda Waterfall
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the trek to Bambarakanda waterfall allows you to witness some amazing sceneries of rich valleys, breathtaking cloudy mountains and beautiful tea estates.
You will find yourself in a peaceful atmosphere surrounded by beautiful lush green hills. This blissful environment will leave you relaxed, feeling rejuvenated with every breath.
You will get a chance to wander amidst the cloud covered jungles as you trek to make your way towards the majestic Bambarakanda waterfall.
The climate is cool, which makes it ideal for trekking and you will witness some rewarding sceneries along the way. If you are a nature photographer, there are some amazing opportunities to take some spectacular pictures of natural landscapes.
11) Haputale Tea Plantation
They say that a visit to Sri Lanka is incomplete without visiting a tea plantation. Hence, we decided to add this tea plantation trek to this list, for those who are looking for something out of the ordinary.
You will have a chance to see the local tea pickers at work, as you trek through the beautiful green fields of tea leaves.
On your trail, you will see some breathtaking panoramic views of the beautiful landscape and have the chance to enjoy a nice cup of tea at the Haputale Tea Factory.
12) Ella Rock
Based in Badulla district, Ella refers to the charming small town which is a favourite spot for tourists from around the world. Ella offers peace and tranquillity to those who are trying to simply get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The natural beauty of Ella is what makes it so peaceful.
Sitting amidst beautiful plains, you can see yourself sat at a local cafe, sipping tea from the local plantations. The climate is soothing which is why it is so popular amongst trekkers.
The terrain in Ella is rocky, which takes you through tea plantations in the countryside before reaching the peak at Ella Rock.
The trek begins in Bandarawela and trails through forests and mountains to the peak of Ella Rock. You will also catch a sight of the Little Adams Peak on the trek. The scenery is breathtaking and the trek to the peak is rewarding.
If you are looking for a peak to climb that is relatively easier than Adam’s Peak, then Ella Rock would be the right trek for you.
13) Devil’s Staircase
Located in Ella itself, the Devil’s Staircase trek is iconic for it leads you to Bambarakanda waterfalls. In comparison to the Bambarakanda waterfall trek mentioned earlier on this list, the Devil’s Staircase trail offers varied panoramic views of the landscapes of the region.
You will have the chance to bathe in the natural rivers of Ella and absorb much of the natural beauty Sri Lanka has to offer. The climate as mentioned is soothing which makes it great for trekking.
The views of the Bambarakanda waterfalls on the Devil’s Staircase trek is varied to the Banbarakanda waterfall trek. You will witness the waterfall through the V-Cut cliff pass, which makes for an iconic view of the largest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
The trail is a little harder than the Bambarakanda waterfall trek and is more suited to experienced trekkers.
14) Sigiriya Rock
Known for its historical significance, this trek is ideal for the lover of archaeology. Sigiriya Rock is an ancient rock fortress with massive columns of rock nearly 200 meters high.
According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, it was on the top of this rock, King Kashyaoa built his palace.
The site is great for history lovers and showcases some of the beautiful ancient gardens and ruins of this ancient civilisation.
The trek to the peak of Sigiriya Rock is of moderate difficulty, which makes it a great alternative for those who are looking for something of historical value but are incapable of climbing Adam’s Peak.
15) Nine Arch Bridge
The Nine Arch Bridge is an iconic sight in Sri Lankan railway. Also called the Bridge in the sky, it is a great example of colonial-era railway construction.
Located in Demodara, the sight’s popularity has grown through the years due to the historical significance of the architecture, coupled with the natural beauty of the greenery that surrounds it.
The trail to the Nine Arch Bridge is of moderate difficulty, which makes it great for inexperienced trekkers. The natural beauty that accompanied the trail is blissful. You will find yourself pleasantly pleased with the trail, which leads through lush greenery and slippery slopes.
16) Thotupola Mountain
Located in Nuwara Eliya, Thotupola Mountain is the third highest peak in Sri Lanka. Located in Horton Plains National Park, you can take the trail which is two kilometres long to the top of the mountain.
The trail starts at the Pattipola entrance of the Horton National Park and covers a beautiful mountain surface in the shrub-covered cooler climate of Nuwara Eliya.
With a wide variety of fauna and flora, this is a great nature trail with some iconic views from the top of the mountain.
17) Bible Rock
Located near Aranayake in Kegalle district, Bible Rock is referred to as such for the surface of the rock resembles a book or a bible.
The trek to the peak of Bible Rock is probably one of the harder treks on the list. Hence if you decide to partake in this trek, you should be prepared to physically exert yourself.
The view from the top of the rock is spectacular, which makes the task of getting to the top worth it. If you are looking for a little bit of a challenge with all the rewards of beautiful, scenic landscapes, then the trek to the peak of Bible Rock is ideal for you.
18) Raxagala Trail
Located near Dikoya in Nuwara Eliya, this trail has a great mix of beautiful landscapes and exotic wildlife.
The trail isn’t very difficult and covers a length of 4.7 km, back and forth. You will bathe yourself in the beauty of this nature trail while absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of nature at its finest.
Situated in the cooler climate of Nuwara Eliya, the trail offers a pleasant experience for wildlife photographers, who won’t be left disappointed.
19) Galboda Falls
The falls originate from Galboda Canal, also known as the Hanguranketha river, and is located in the Nuwara Eliya district. At a height of 30 metres, it is the width of the falls between 3 and 6 metres, which makes it so beautiful.
On the trek, you may encounter a rare species of orchid and the wide variety of wildlife that calls the region home. There is unique biodiversity in the region, which makes it a secluded haven for nature lovers.
The trek is of moderate difficulty, which makes it good for almost any trekker.
20) Hanthana Mountain Range
Located in Kandy, the Hanthana Mountain Range is an environmentally protected area since February of 2010. The range contains seven peaks, with the highest peak of Uura Kanda.
This is one of the more popular excursions for trekkers, who are looking for a good nature trail with a moderate level of difficulty.
The view from the top of the peaks of this range is spectacular, which makes it great for nature photographers.
21) Lebonon Estate to KMP Hut
The last on our list is one of the harder trails which run between the Lebonon Estate and the KMP Hut. It is a 6.3 km point to point trail located in Kandy.
The terrain makes it difficult, however, the rewards are worth it. The natural beauty of the trail and the amazing wildlife encountered makes it one of the more rewarding nature trails in Sri Lanka.
The best time to trek this trail is between January and April.
A Guide to Trekking the Knuckles Mountain Range in Sri Lanka
As mentioned prior, when it comes to the Knuckles Mountain Range, there is simply too much choice with regards to the trails that you want to opt for. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts numerous spectacular trails which are both marvellous sights of nature and challenging terrain. It is considered one of the more popular sights when considering trekking in Sri Lanka, which is why we have decided to provide you with a guide to trekking this beautiful mountain range.
Here is the list of nature trails in the Knuckles Mountain Range, which provide the most rewarding sights and experience for the trekker.
Dothalugala Nature Trail
This popular trail makes its way up the Dothalugala Mountain and offers some amazing views of the south of the range. You will climb down the trail from the other side, making a full circle of the mountain.
The trail is 5.8 km and starts at the Knuckles Conservation Centre. You do need a permit to partake in this trek; the permit can be acquired at the centre.
Duwili Ella Trail
This trail has to be the best when you consider all the trails in the Knuckles Mountain Range. This is because the trail leads to a beautiful waterfall that is hidden in the depths of the forest.
There is a cave inside the waterfall which can be accessed by trekkers to this beautiful sight. To get the most out of this trail, plan for an overnight trek and camp in the forest. You can roast marshmallows by a campfire and enjoy the night sounds of the forest. It is truly an unmatched experience in comparison to the other trails.
Mini World’s End
Situated towards the south of the range, is the Mini World’s End, which is a 300-metre drop off the cliff with majestic views of the landscape.
The trail length is roughly 1.5 km and again a permit is required, which can be acquired at the Knuckles Conservation Centre.
The valleys look beautiful from the top, and if you do decide to go on this trek, make sure to carry your camera.
This is another popular trail amongst trekkers. The trail leads through the jungle to the massive Nitro Caves, which is filled with hundreds of bats.
The trail is roughly 11 km long and will take you about five hours to complete. Though the sight of so many bats may be unnerving, it may be exactly what some people are looking for. At an elevation of 1,216 metres, the peak offers some spectacular views of the mountain range.
Things to Remember
Though very appealing and rather popular amongst visitors to Sri Lanka, the Knuckles Mountain Range is considered one of the toughest trails in the country. Hence it may be best that you have some trekking experience before you consider trekking these trails of the range.
Due to the fact that the vast area makes it easy for someone to get lost, you are only permitted to trek the trails with an authorised guide.
If you do decide to trek the trails of the Knuckles Mountain Range, you will find the views spectacular, lost amidst the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of mother earth.
Easy Treks in Sri Lanka
This article would not be complete if we didn’t help even the newest to the family. If you are an inexperienced trekker and are looking for some easy trails to start with in Sri Lanka, then here is a list of the easiest treks for beginner trekkers.
- Mutukeliyawa View Point in Kandy (9.2 km)
- Sinharaja Rainforest in Galle (6.6 km)
- Diyaluma Falls, Badulla (3.1 km)
- Amba River, Badulla (2.4 km)
- Little Adam’s Peak, Badulla (2.1 km)
As you may have noticed, Sinharaja Rainforest has made both lists, which makes it the best and easiest trek to consider if you are trekking in Sri Lanka. Though not overly difficult, the trek is a little longer, however, trekking through the rainforest has its own perks to keep you going.
Is Sri Lanka Good for Trekking?
Well, the simple answer as we had mentioned at the beginning of this post is, yes! Sri Lanka is a great destination if you are looking to trek some beautiful trails and mountains.
There is so much to choose from and so much to experience and see. We hope after reading this word to word, you are convinced that there are some amazing trekking opportunities in this country, and have found the means to decide for yourself, which trail or trails work best for you.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Sri Lanka!
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