Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka (Hiking Guide + Tips)

horton plains national park

There is no doubting the fact that Hiking in the Horton Plains is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka and attracts tourists from various parts of the world. This is due to the rare hiking opportunities that it tends to offer. With the help of a local guide, you could start exploring some fascinating trails around the park. Since 1988, it has been offering tourists unforgettable experiences. 

If you are still wondering how, ensure to read this post from beginning to the end. It is aimed at revealing everything about the various Horton plains trails. The goal is to help you make the right choice whenever you decide to explore this national park. 

World’s End

World's End Sri Lanka
World’s End Sri Lanka

“World’s End” or “End of The World” as it can also be popularly called happens to be one of the most famous hiking paths that you can take in Horton Plains, Sri Lanka. Imagine your trail coming to an end where you can see the entire world stretching out to eternity. By visiting this place in the afternoon, you will see a white wall. Therefore, never allow the clouds to roll in before you visit. In other words, the best time is usually between 6am and 10:30am. It is the perfect spot to see towns, villages, tree plantations and many more. 

One of the reasons why this hike is worth it is that apart from the extremely beautiful scene, there are lots of different animals you will come across. There is one problem many people worry about when World’s End is being mentioned. This is the fear of getting lost. There is no need thinking too much about this since the tracks are signposted. Be prepared because you will come across red rocks and trees of different kinds. 

Horton Plains to Dayagama

This is another great hiking path that is worth exploring. To most hikers who have trailed this distance before, it is a strange, silent, and beautiful world. This trail is known for its easy nature. Please note that currently, it is only possible to drive up to Dayagama Estate’s HP boarder.

After that, you will then walk about 5.6km from that point to Horton plain’s visitors center. As you are walking, there is the thick Montane Forest which is on both sides of the road. Also, remember to carry water along since the intensity will increase significantly as you are walking and ascending. It is true that the road goes through very thick forest. 

However, this is another perfect opportunity for sightseeing. While taking some rest in the concrete bridge, also enjoy the beautiful and natural surroundings before moving ahead. One thing to always remember is that there is no need trying to carry too much water. The stream you will come across has water that is safe to drink. 

Kirigalpoththa Mountain

It is so amazing to know that many tourists don’t know much about Kirigalpoththa mountain. It is where one of the hiking trails will lead you to in Horton Plains. At approximately 7,838ft, you can easily tell that this mountain is one of the highest in Sri Lanka.

The highest remains Pidurutalagala which has been measured to be around 8,281ft. It is a one-way trail which usually takes more than 5hours to reach. 

It is worth all the hassles due to the mountaineering challenges and other activities that you will take part in. If you have always loved adventure, this is one mountain that offers the best of such. You will be passing through the cloud forest, bog, grassy plains, and many more.

There are even some wild animals that you will stumble upon. Sometimes, you may even come across endemic bird species. Hiking towards Kirigalpoththa Mountain is like daring the “almost impossible”. 

Thotupola Kanda

Thotupola Kanda is another famous hiking path you can explore today in Horton Plains. Although you are going to pass through dense forests, it is much easier than Kirigalpoththa mountain explained above.

If you have got kids, this is the best hiking path to take advantage of due to its “not-too-complicated” nature. It is naturally beautiful. Apart from that, you will enjoy a perfect view from the mountain’s top. 

At the top, you will get the chance to see numerous mountains. You will also get the rare chance of discovering why people have linked it to the era of King Rawana. Although you will find the forest trail enjoyable at any time of the day, avoid going in the afternoon. This will ensure you get a perfect view of Thotupola Kanda since the whole place won’t be misty. 

Horton Plains to Udaweriya

This is another hiking path that is worth checking out and exploring. From Horton Plains to Udaweriya will take almost 4hours. Be rest assured that the hiking is enjoyable too. You will find the famous devil’ staircase on your way.

Also, there are valleys you will come across before reaching Udaweriya mountain. The views you will enjoy are quite breathtaking. Please note that you won’t find too many people while hiking towards this direction.  

Horton Plains Sri Lanka
Horton Plains Sri Lanka

Important Travel Tips for These Hikes 

Now that you have known some of the most popular hiking paths in Horton Plains, Sri Lanka, there is no doubting the fact that you can’t wait to start exploring them.

Although this is a great idea, you still need to know how to get the best from every hiking activity. Below are some tips that can help to ensure your hiking is fun in Horton Plains. 

Tip #1 – Don’t Take Your Children Along

It is true we said there are some hiking paths that are easier as such, taking your kids along is possible. However, such is only advised when your kids are older than 10years of age. Therefore, carrying toddlers and infants is not advised. The reason is simple to understand – although these are trekkable distances, your kids could become stressed out. 

Sometimes the going may get tough and if there are kids with you, returning may be the only viable option. To be on a safer side, it is advised that you don’t carry kids along while attempting to explore any of these hiking paths. 

Tip #2 – The Perfect Timing

Whenever you are planning to explore any of the different hiking paths, such should be done very early in the morning. It will likely be misty once you go there during mid-day. 6-7am is the perfect time to reach there and get all the clear views. For best results, it is better you find the best time for any hiking path. 

Tip #3 – Wearing the Right Outfits

Many people prefer wearing shorts during hiking. Well, this isn’t the case if you are planning to walk any of the paths explained above. This is because the grass can be much taller than you have imagined. Some will reach your waist or even prove to be taller. This can lead to either mild or severe itching. 

To avoid any form of skin irritation, don’t wear shorts. The best option is trousers that are long and thick. Although this can make you feel uncomfortable sometimes, you won’t experience any bruise or skin rash. 

Tip #4 – Carrying Enough Water

In case you don’t know, there are trails where you won’t have access to adequate water supply. For health reasons, it is not even a good idea to depend on such water since they could be contaminated. This can make you vulnerable to some abnormal conditions and diseases. The best way to remain safe is carrying your own water. 

Tip #5 – Unfavorable Weather Conditions 

It is important to note that sometimes the weather conditions may become unfavorable. For instance, it can be very chilly or windy on the plains. To avoid feeling too cold, it is recommended to go with a sweater. This will prove very useful at some point. 

Tip #6 – Carrying Necessary Items

Sometimes, you get tempted into carrying too many items while trying to explore hiking paths in Horton Plains. This isn’t a smart idea as they can make you not to enjoy such hiking. Some important items you carry along are: 

  • Digital camera
  • Sweater 
  • Hiking shoes
  • Water 
  • Food
  • Navigation tools
  • Backpack

Tip #7 – Starting from The Easiest Trails

Just as said above, some of the hiking paths explained are more difficult to explore than others. For instance, hiking towards Kirigalpoththa Mountain is more difficult than when you choose Thotupola Kanda. It is better to start from the easier trails. These will help you build confidence for those that more difficult. 

How to Get To Horton Plains?  

When it comes to going to Horton Plains, there are numerous options to explore. These could be air, road or even train. For instance, it is possible to fly from any part of the world to Bandaranaike International Airport. If you are going by road, hire a taxi.

The perfect meeting point is Nuwara Eliya. Getting to Horton Plains from here with a taxi will only take around 2hours. Please avoid traveling alone since the cost will likely be high. Instead, look for other travelers to share the cost of hiring a taxi. 

Finally, you can decide to go by train. There are train stations in places like Ohiya village, and Pattipola. You can also reach Horton Plains via train services in Nanu Oya, Ella and Haputale. 

If you are looking for more interesting hiking opportunities in Sri Lanka, check out how to climb Ella Rock in the famous tea planting highlands. 

Explored by Phil from JOURNICATION Travel Blog 

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