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Horton Plains National Park

A 6 - 7 hour journey up in the hill country from Colombo will lead you to 31.6 square kilometers of lush green montane grasslands, along with vast cloud forests, collectively known as the Horton Plains National Park. Being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, Horton Plains National Park is one of the most notable and famous national parks in Sri Lanka that is home to an abundance of endemic flora and fauna, along with some awe inspiring landscapes.

Best Known For

  • The national park is best known for the nature trail adorned with a variety of flora and fauna that take you through some jaw dropping geological formations and landscapes, such as Baker’s Falls and World’s End.
  • Home to two of the most daunting mountains staggering at over 2300 meters above sea level, the Kirigalpoththa Mountain (K1 Mountain) and Thotupola Kanda (mountain), it is a mountaineer’s paradise to engage in trekking.

Interesting Facts

  • Wildlife has been a thriving element with nearly 750 species of plants and almost 130 species of animals inhabiting the vast plains, becoming a hotspot of biodiversity in Sri Lanka.
  • The original name of the national park was ‘Maha Eliya Thenna’, translated as the Great Open Plain.
  • It was when the Governor of Sri Lanka (‘Ceylon’ as it was known back then) from 1831 - 1837, Sir Robert Wilmot - Horton, travelled to the plains to meet a local chief in Sabaragamuwa.
  • It was in 1873, that the area was declared as an indispensable resource, when Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker proclaimed that there shall be no logging here.
  • Ever since then, the area has been under serious protection laws imposed by the government, which has resulted in the national park being declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010, since it is part of the ‘Common heritage of mankind’.
  • The Horton Plains National Park serves as the important headwaters that nourish three major rivers, namely, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe Rivers. This in turn results in the nourishment of the ecosystems of the Southern parts of Sri Lanka.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Horton Plains National Park can be visited throughout the year, however, is best experienced in the months from March up until May, when the weather is ideal and the flowers are blooming.
  • Being home to cloud forests, weather can change quite unexpectedly though, so make sure you check the weather before your journey.
  • The park is opened from 6.00am - 6.00pm, and is best experienced when entering the park in the morning hours, since an entire day will be needed to explore the wonders of the park.
  • The best ways of travelling to the national park is by train, getting from either Pattipola or Ohiya station. Either way you get the same experience.
  • It is important to be properly equipped with necessary hiking gear and other essentials like snacks and water in a backpack.
  • Keep in mind that you cannot take any polythene on the nature trails as they will be confiscated. They will provide you brown paper bags in exchange, however, it is best to bring your own.
  • It is highly advised to partake in a guided tour when attempting to trek the two mountains in the national park as the trails are quite remote and lonely.
  • Ticket prices to enter will cost USD 15, however, it will increase if entering in a vehicle.
  • Please adhere to the rules and regulations set for the by the park authority.

Many consider the Horton Plains National Park to be a distant cousin of the Serengeti in Africa. It is certainly something you would not expect in South Asia, so why not embark on that memorable rustic adventure?

Title image by: Jehan Gamalathge The information displayed is provided by Horton Plains National Park

Season

March - May

Tickets

Entrance
LKR 2,332
From USD15

Type

Social and Relaxation

Nature and Outdoors

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