Santani Journal

The 5 Best Hiking Experiences Around Kandy

As much as vacations are about relaxing and winding down, it is also about having new experiences and adventures and witnessing once-in-a-lifetime sights! What better way to do this than to go on a few hikes in a country you are visiting.

Hiking is also a great way to spend time with your travel buddies, meet other tourists and locals and uniquely learn more about the country. Hiking in Sri Lanka will provide you with a rich and diverse experience as Sri Lanka has some wonderful mountain ranges that are perfect for hikes with varying difficulty trails that would provide you with mesmerizing views once you reach the summit. However, choosing an ideal hike for you could be quite challenging. So, we have compiled our top 5 hiking experiences you could have around Kandy.

Knuckles Mountain Range

Knuckles Mountain Range – Sri Lanka
Difficulty LevelAdventurous
Distance from SantaniApprox. 30 km to hike starting points
Approximate Time requiredOne day

The Knuckles Mountain Range which spreads over 18,000 hectares, is a densely forested domain with thirty-four peaks, with the highest summit reaching 1863m. This is the sixth highest peak in Sri Lanka and is named by the British for their resemblance of the knuckles on a fist. It’s located in the districts of Kandy and Matale, to the North and West of the Mahaweli river basin. This region is considered to be one of the toughest hiking trails in the country and it’s mandatory to have a qualified guide to accompany you. However, there are various trails that you can take and even if you have done this hike before, you are assured a new experience with a new path you take. This hike is loved by trekker’s as there are many streams and waterfalls, rich biodiversity and different terrains you encounter on your journey. This mountain range is a World Heritage conservation area and is an absolute must-visit if you are a hike-lover visiting Sri Lanka. The best period to trek at Knuckles is from June to September as the possibility of rain is quite low and would result in a very enjoyable hike.

There are two hiking trails that can be organized by Santani for you, namely Corbett’s gap and the Knuckles hike. Corbett’s gap hike is along an abandoned jeep track which is home to an extraordinary range of flora and fauna and will lead to a breath-taking panoramic view. The second hike organized by Santani starts in a tea estate and soon enters high-altitude montane cloud forests providing unique and stunning views.

Riverston and Pitawala Mini World’s End

1679 Mini Worlds End Pitawala Pathana 1200x6751 1
Mini World’s End, Pitawala Pathana – Sri Lanka
Difficulty LevelMedium
Distance from Santani76 km
Approximate Time requiredHalf a day

Located within the Knuckles Mountain Range, these two trails are amazing treks if you are interested in a panoramic view of nature’s beauty. Pitawala Pathana is a grassy plain of 24 acres and ends in a sheer drop of several hundred meters high, hence the name, ‘mini world’s end’. There are two viewpoints that can be easily accessed through the designated nature trails. This region is not only beautiful but is home to endemic wildlife that you should definitely keep an eye out for. Kirthisinghe’s rock frog is a species that is endemic to this region and is unfortunately prone to extinction. The drive to this trek is picturesque as you will witness the Knuckles ridges standing tall and pass three natural water streams on the way. But do not fear, right by the ticket counter there is a large area for parking so you will not be inconvenienced. The Riverston peak is one of the well-loved adventures but is a lesser-known spot among tourists. This has an elevation of 1,424 m above sea levels and there are two popular trails to reach the summit. One of the routes is quite narrow while the other which leads to a broadcasting signal post is a windgap. So make sure you check the weather forecast before you hike Riverston as during the rainy season the mist will cover the whole area and the wind is really strong, not only making it quite cold but also making it really difficult to hike.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Pidurangala

top 5 hiking trails in sri lanka
Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Pidurangala – Sri Lanka
Difficulty LevelMedium
Distance from Santani108 km
Approximate Time requiredOne day

Fondly referred to as the ‘palace in the clouds’ the Sigiriya Rock or the Lion Rock Fortress is a UNESCO world heritage and a valuable historical and cultural monument of Sri Lanka. It was also declared as the 8th wonder of the world making it a site you have to witness in person! This 200 m sheer rock was a volcanic plug and an ancient fortress for a king and reveals the agricultural development, technical skills, artistry and architectural ability to all those who visit this rock. Very close to this hotspot is the Pidurangala Mountain. This mountain will give you the best view of Sigiriya rock and is also a less explored site allowing for a peaceful climb if you want to stay away from crowds. As these hikes are quite close to each other, for anyone tight on time, it is possible to do both hikes in one morning. But make sure that you time your climb so that you reach the peak for either sunrise or during the evening and we guarantee you that the view would be absolutely divine.

Rathna Ella in Hasalaka

the 5 best hiking experiences around kandy
Rathna Ella – Sri Lanka
Difficulty LevelAdventurous
Distance from SantaniApprox. 60 km to hike starting points
Approximate Time requiredHalf a day

Rathna Ella is an amazing waterfall situated in Hasalaka in the Kandy District. Standing at a height of 111 meters, it is the highest waterfall in the Kandy area and the 9th tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka. Also called the ‘Navarathne Ella’, this majestic fall originates from the Knuckles Mountain Range. The area surrounding the waterfall is extremely rich in vegetation as the main occupation of the villages nearby is paddy cultivation. This natural beauty supplies water to the irrigation works of paddy cultivates from ancient times. It is said to supply enough water to assist 200 farmers to earn a living. To arrive at the waterfall you need to go through the village and then walk on a pathway along a stream reaching the waterfall. This visit would not only provide you with a wonderful nature experience but also allow you to experience a part of Sri Lankan culture that would otherwise not be witnessed. Although it is further away from Kandy city than the rest, this double summit fold mountain will definitely be worth it.

Taylor’s seat in Deltota

Taylor’s seat – Deltota, Sri Lanka
Difficulty LevelEasy
Distance from Santani62 km
Approximate Time requiredHalf a day

Taylor’s seat is situated in Loolecondera Estate in the Kandy district of Sri Lanka. This rock seat is named after James Taylor who was the person that started tea cultivation in Sri Lanka back in 1867. This beautiful estate is a must-visit and Taylor’s seat will provide you with an awe-striking view of the surrounding mountain ranges and the estate below. The 19 acres of tea estate is a wonderful place to take a leisurely stroll in. This destination can only be reached via a TukTuk as the road to Taylor’s seat is quite narrow and rugged. However, we would always strongly encourage that you take the scenic route up to Taylor’s seat, which of course is by foot, and assure you the panoramic view you will witness at the top is definitely worth the climb.

Hiking in Sri Lanka is best around the town of Kandy and fortunately for you, Santani is one of the best hotels in Kandy, Sri Lanka and will be exactly what you yearn for after a long day of hiking.

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