7 Best Sri Lanka Trekking Sites

horton plains national park

7 Best Sri Lanka Trekking Sites

What are the most popular Sri Lanka trekking sites? Where can go for a trekking in Sri Lanka? When can we do a trek in Sri Lanka? They are some of the popular questions raised by my readers. The number of these question going up every year and it is a clear sign of travellers are now very enthusiastic about adventure experience while they travelling in Sri Lanka. Unlike earlier Sri Lanka is not only a leisure holiday destination anymore and a large number of travellers visiting the island are looking for adventure activities such as trekking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, waterfall abseiling etc.

Sri Lanka is a tropical country that offers the year-round possibility to have holidays. Sri Lanka attracts nearly two million tourists a year and adventure holiday is one important product of the tourism industry. Sri Lanka has mountains, escapement, waterfalls, rainforests, rivers and lakes, caves and many other places that could be used for adventure activities.  Rugged terrains in various parts of the country can be easily used for trekking.

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As the demand for trekking activities increases the places for trekking are also increases with the finding of new tracks-mostly untouched and located in remote places, where adventure becomes synonymous with the name of the locality. Sri Lanka trekking does not require a lengthy introduction since it is one of the popular activity among many travellers in the country. A Large number of foreign as well as local travellers are gathering to popular Sri Lanka trekking sites every day, regardless of time. Sri Lanka is a tiny island with unique geographical features, which helps the island to attract more adventure lovers.

From the southern tip of the island to the northernmost city of Jaffna, every inch of the island possesses some of the great altitudes that can be quite handy for a trek if you are really interested in it and have willpower. The altitude of Sri Lanka trekking sites varied from 0 to 2800 meters from sea level. These treks can be conquered at any time of the year due to the monsoon climate of the island. The trekkers should be a bit cautious in the high-altitude areas during the rainy season, due to the sudden landslides. Sri Lanka trekking is a very enjoyable activity and it is a great opportunity to enjoy the natural wealth of the country.

Sinharaja rainforest, Adam’s peak, knuckles mountain range, Nuwara Eliya and Kitulgala etc are the major Sri Lanka trekking ranges, in some cases with more than many dozens of trekking points within them. All the trekking points with a unique experience, plenty of surprises waiting at each turn and curve.

Boulder filled treks, patches of forests, tee gardens, the continuous steeps, cascading waterfalls, terraced paddy fields, greenery on the meadows, rocky structures, high passes, narrow gorges and mesmerizing green-capped mountains making these trails are unique in many ways. Especially the high altitude Sri Lanka trekking sites are the host for trekkers are promised to keep the adventure enthusiasts happy and rewarded with gorgeous sunrise or sunset view along with breathtaking scenery of the greenish surrounding will co-operate with high-rise mountains.

When we talk about high altitude areas, Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela, Horton Plains and Haputale in the central mountain range are very popular, since there are dozens of Sri Lanka trekking sites are available at these ranges. From the popular Horton plains national to Lipton seat of Bandarawela, every trekking site in the mountains is a full-time exiting package. Simultaneously, the western slope of the mountain range, there are patches of rainforests and plantations at Kitulgala.

Towards the southern slope of the central mountain range, there are many trekking paths in the form of nature trails. In the central province of Sri Lanka, there are many interesting trekking sites in the form of historical sites, ruins, patches of forests and much more.

After having read this article now you are convinced that there is no status saying Sri Lanka is out options for trekking. Check for the perfect Sri Lanka trekking for your activity and get addicted to the marvellous soft adventure activity that is trekking in Sri Lanka. So, it is time to pack your essential gearhead out for an unforgettable adventure.

What are the best Sri Lanka trekking sites?

Lipton seat trek

Lipton Seat is a popular stimulating high altitude Sri Lanka trekking site and it is one of the best treks to do in the mountains. The trekkers achieve the maximum height of 1950 meters towards the end of the trek. It is one of the highest points of the country and enables the trekkers to have a bird’s eye view up to the eastern coastal town of Trincomalee. Lipton seat lies 18 off Haputale city centre. Trekkers need to travel on about 10 km on Haputale-Dambetanne main road before reaching Dambetenna tea factory, where the trekking starts. The average time taken to conquer this trek is around 3 hours. A person on this Sri Lankan trekking site is advisable to start the journey with the sunrise, due to the clear sky in the early hours.

Best time to trek: November to April
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Kitulgala trek

For a unique Sri Lanka trekking experience, opt for Kitulgala trek. Kitulgala provides the easy gateway to many adventure activities such as mountain climbing, rock climbing etc and part of many road trips of Sri Lanka. For Lush green rainforests to sparkling perennial waterways, this interesting Sri Lanka trekking site unravel the marvel of nature. The trek lasts around 3 hours for energetic experienced trekkers and takes you through the much beautiful countryside in the area.

The journey starts at Kitulgala town and immediately follows a canoe ride to cross the mighty river of Kelaniya; from here you march into the deep jungle area with a hilly outcrop. Revel in evergreen rainforests, cascading waterfalls, sparkling streams, and boulder-laden gardens while on the expedition. If you are a photographer this is a perfect opportunity to capture some of your best nature sceneries.

Best time to trek: November to April
Difficulty Level: Moderate 

6 Best Sri Lanka Trekking Sites

About Knuckles mountain range trek

The knuckles mountain trek is one of the most interesting journeys that you can find in the mountains of Sri Lanka. This Sri Lanka trekking path lies amidst the lush green vegetation of knuckles forests and rewards the trekkers with beauty and serenity of untamed wilderness. The major part of this Sri Lank trekking site is hidden under the canopy of knuckles forest. During the journey, the trekkers come across varied landscapes, barren rocky outcrop, verdant hills and flat grasslands with the bushy type of vegetation. This Sri Lanka trekking site goes through the paddy fields, plantations at the beginning and later enters the thickly forested area. The trekkers are required to be very cautious during the journey on this trek as there is a possibility of going out of the way in the jungle.

Best time to trek: November to April
Difficulty Level: Difficult

jungle trek kitulgala

About Sinharaja trek

This Sri Lanka trekking site is one of the most popular among the bird lovers; where people are able to explore lush green vegetation and fauna and flora of one of the oldest rainforests in the world while having a trek with moderate difficulty. This is one of the treks suitable for individuals with any expertise level and for all interests. Sounds exciting, isn’t it? There are several routes within the forest that trekkers can choose from. The duration of the treks varied in a great deal and even there is a big difference with regards to the sights that trekkers encounter on different routes. There are six major trails in the forest and they are:

Kudawa – Sinhagala trail – This it is the trail that demands good physical fitness and mental condition. The trail is bit exhilarating but has a very picturesque surrounding length of the trek in 8 km.

Kudawa – Mulawella – the difficulty of this trekking site is very low and it spreads in the north-western part of the forest. The length of the trek is 3 km and part of the trek lies in the managed lands.

Pitadeniya – Patha Oya trek- this Sri Lankan trekking route is 10 km long and trekkers can explore a couple of beautiful waterfalls as well as a virgin rainforest.

Neluwa – Kosmulla trail – this is another 10 km long trek that lies in the Sinharaja rainforest. The trekkers encounter several beautiful waterfalls on the way and one of them is Duvili Ella, which is one of the most popular waterfalls in the country. Spotting sambar deer and buffaloes are very common on this route.

Pitadeniya – Kekuna Ella trail – Kekuna Ella is a waterfall, which is the endpoint of the trek. The trail is very short and quite easy, it provides a good opportunity to explore a part of the virgin rainforest.

Morning side- Duvili Ella trail – This is a short and enthralling route. The trail leading to the Duvili Ella goes through the sub-montane forested area and grassland.

5 Great Sri Lanka Adventures
Adam’s peak trek

Adam’s peak trek

The endpoint of this Sri Lanka trekking site lies at the altitude of 2300 meters above sea level. Adam’s peak is the 3rd highest mountain in the island. This Sri Lanka trekking site attracts travellers from all around the globe. This is one of the most popular treks and many thousands of people take the arduous upward journey every year and the majority of them are local travellers, who wish to worship the footprint of Buddha.

The trekking season starts November and lasts until April parallel to North-east monsoon, which is the Sri Lanka weather, Sri Lanka rain season. This Sri Lanka trekking site is largely abandoned during the rest of the year due to the torrential rain of south-west monsoon. The trekking on this route is very dangerous during the rainy season and there is a high possibility of encountering wild animals on the way.

This 5-hour long trek is difficult and demand good physical and mental fitness of the trekkers, yet it is one of the most enthralling journeys in the island that take you through the opulent beauty, scenic marvels of Adam’s peak and peak wilderness. Exploring this route is one of the best ways to get a clear idea of the natural beauty of the peak wilderness, which is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in the country.

As you make the upward journey you will encounter hundreds of local people, it is the best chance to learn about the indigenous culture. This is the only Sri Lanka trekking site, where you encounter hundreds of thousands of local people. At the end of the journey, you can have a fully satisfied heart filled with beautiful scenery of Adams’s peak and peak wilderness.

There are 2 major routes to the pinnacle of Adam’s peak, they are; Ratnapura route and Hatton route. All devotees start their journey either in Ratnapura or Hatton meeting at the pinnacle of Adam’s peak. There are several stopovers along both routes and many eateries and resting places are also available. As the trekkers reach the summit of Adam’s peak they are rewarded with mesmerizing views of surrounding areas. Replete with tributaries of 5 major rivers, dense mountain evergreen forests and a fleeting interaction with local people, Adam’s peak trekking can be best enjoyed parallel to the North-east monsoon (November to April) and a place among the top-notch tourist attractions in the island.

Best time to trek: November to April
Difficulty Level: Difficult

trekking in kitulgala

Habarana lake trek

This is a quite unpopular Sri Lanka trekking site with exposure to the beautiful countryside. The trekking route lies bordering the Habarana lake providing a perfect picture of the blue water lake and surrounding area. This is one of the best-kept secrets in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. As you continue on this trek, you are going through the beautiful trails crossing the patches of forests, paddy fields, farmlands, and many streams. This is a trek very popular among the people who based in Habarana during their tour to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka.

The journey goes through the village of Habarana and trekkers have the valuable opportunity to drop-into the village school, and the village temple. The temple harbours a lot of significant architectural brilliance painted on the walls. The trekkers encounter farmlands, paddy fields and Habarana Lake along the way. The trek is a perfect opportunity to learn the village life and it lasts around 3 hours. This is a quite easy trek and no major hikes along the way.

The lake of Habarana harbours a large number of bird species, especially the resident birds of Sri Lanka, therefore the surrounding area of Habarana Lake is a favourite tourist attraction in the region, especially among the bird lovers. If you are in the mood for some outdoor activities and like those memories to be etched forever, then you should seriously think of Habarana Lake as your destination.

Best time to trek: April to November
Difficulty Level: Easy

Trekking in Maligatenna

A well-known trek that starts in Maligatenna is situated near Colombo and it is just a few hour drives from the city. Even though it is located near Colombo, the surrounding area is full of lush green vegetation. The trek is located in very beautiful countryside. This trek is considered to be one of the best places for trekking in Sri Lanka.

Maligatenna is a historically important city for the Buddhist in the island. The sacred tooth relic was safeguarded in the Maligatenna Buddhist temple in the 12th century and again in the 16th century. Due to this fact, the temple is considered to be one of the most important religious sites in the country. The temple is picturesquely located on a mountain and one needs to trek about 45 minutes to reach the temple. The narrow path runs between two giant rocks. You can have a fascinating view of the surrounding area, upon reaching the summit of the mountain. The surrounding area is full of trees, bushes and savannah type vegetation. Small mountains and rocks enhance the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

Maligatenna temple is the starting point of the 10 km trek. You find another important Buddhist temple (Pilikuttuwa Raja Maha Vihara) along the way to the Hawariwela Ambalama, where the trek ends. The trek goes parallel to the main road and provides easy access to the main road at any time during the trek. You will come across the beautiful paddy fields, patches of lush green forests, rubber states, coconut plantations, vegetable gardens and pineapple farms. You come across several different terrains during the trek such as muddy areas, drylands, patches of forests and water clogged areas. It will be a challenging task to keep your boots and feet dry. The average duration of the trek is around 5-6 hours. This trek can be done as a one-day excursion and it can be recommended for novices as well as experienced adventure lovers.

It would be an ideal break for people, who stuck in routine jobs in Colombo or suburb. The countryside along the trek is very beautiful and it will rejuvenate your body and mind.  Due to the proximity to Colombo, it can be conveniently accessed via Yakkala and Kirindiwela.  Roads are in very good condition and reduce the time considerably during the journey to Maligatenna from Colombo. Apart from the aforementioned temples, there are several other important Buddhist temples in the area. Varana Raja Maha Viharaya, Koskandawala Maha Viharaya and Petta-gam Gala Aranya Senasanaya or Dikkanda caves are the other important places to visit in the area.

Best time to trek: November to April
Difficulty Level: Moderate