Horton Plains National Park

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Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Best Time: January to March Read More

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"Stand At The Edge of The World's End!"

Horton Plains National Park Tourism

Horton Plains National Park, located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its unique biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and iconic attractions. Spanning over 31 square kilometers, the park is characterized by rolling grasslands, misty forests, and breathtaking viewpoints that offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

One of the most iconic features of Horton Plains is World's End, a sheer cliff that drops 880 meters (2,890 feet) into the valley below, offering visitors a dizzying view of the plains and distant mountains. The viewpoint is especially popular at sunrise when the mist lifts to reveal the stunning scenery below. During the hike, a popular stop is the multi-tiered, 20-metre-tall Baker’s Waterfall, where you can swim during monsoon.

Horton Plains is also home to a variety of wildlife, including sambar deer, purple-faced langurs, wild boar, and many species of birds. Birdwatchers flock to Horton Plains to spot elusive species such as the Sri Lanka whistling thrush, yellow-eared bulbul, and Sri Lanka wood pigeon amidst the park's diverse habitats.

Horton Plains National Park offers several hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels and interests. The most popular trail is the circular route that takes visitors past World's End, Baker's Falls, and through scenic grasslands and forests. Due to its high elevation, Horton Plains National Park experiences cooler temperatures compared to the surrounding lowlands, and mist and fog are common, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

You are required to obtain a permit from the park entrance before entering, and guided tours are available. Overall, Horton Plains National Park offers a truly immersive and unforgettable experience for nature lovers, hikers, and wildlife enthusiasts, showcasing the stunning beauty and biodiversity of Sri Lanka's central highlands.

Things to do in Horton Plains National Park

1. World's End

World's End
With a drop of more than 800 metres, World's End is an escarpment within the Horton Plains National Park. A popular vantage point among locals and tourists alike, the vistas of the surrounding misty h (Read More)ills, tea plantations and the buildings at World's End are nothing short of jaw-dropping.

2. Gommolli Kanda

Gommolli Kanda
Gommoli Kanda Mountain, meaning Hump of the Bull in Sinhalese due to its peak resembling it, stands at a height of 2,034 meters such that is counted to be the 13th highest mountain in Sri Lanka.

3. Ohiya

In the Uva Province, Ohiya is a village in the Badulla District. Some of the main attractions in Ohiya are The Devil's Staircase, Horton Plains National Park, Ohiya Gap/Dondra Watch, Bambarakanda Fall (Read More)s, the Dondra Head Lighthouse, Ohiya Forest and Rahangala Mountain. The Ohiya Railway Station is the third highest in the country at a height of 5820 ft above the sea level.

4. Bambarakanda Falls

Bambarakanda Falls
Bambarakanda Falls, an hour away from the Horton Plains National Park, has the enviable distinction of being the tallest waterfall in the country, and certainly one of the most spectacular in the mons (Read More)oon.

5. Belihuloya

Famous for its waterfalls such as Bambarakanda Ella, Brampton Falls, Hirikatuwa Oya, Pahanthuda Ella, Surathalee Ella and Papulagala Ella, the village of Belihuloya is 150 km away from Colombo.

6. Baker's Falls

Baker's Falls
Baker's Fall is a famous waterfall named after Sir Samuel Baker, who was a renowned explorer. It is in Horton Plains National Park (2000 metres above sea level), Sri Lanka. The Fall is about 66 feet h (Read More)igh and is on a tributary of the BelihulOya. After one's hike to Big World's End (a cliff in the national park which offers expansive views over a plateau that drops almost 880 meters vertically down) and Little World's End (300-meter landscape drop), the sound of gushing water acts as an invitation to the hikers.

Must Know Before You Travel to Horton Plains National Park

Timings: 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Entry gates close after 4:00 PM

Entrance Fees: 
  • Foreign Nationals: INR 1150 per person for a day, INR 2090 for overnight visit
  • Sri Lanka Nationals: INR 30 per person for a day, INR 60 for overnight visit
  • Vehicle Parking: INR 500
Itinerary Planning:
  • If coming from Ella or Nuwara Eliya, leave early morning before sunrise. Tuk-tuks and taxis are easily available
  • It is a 10km hiking loop. After 5mins of walking into the park entrance, you can either walk towards Mini World's End or towards Baker's Falls. The first part has little shade and is very open. The second part is through a forest. World's End is halfway across the loop. Read more about hiking trails and how to choose
  • Reach World's End before or around 10 AM to enjoy the best view.
  • The only washroom available is at the entrance. There is a small fees, so carry change
Things to Carry:
  • An umbrella, raincoat or jumper
  • Good walking or hiking shoes
  • Sunglasses and cap
Accommodation: There are only 2 lodges and 3 camping sites inside the park. These must be booked beforehand.
Horton Plains is a no-plastic, no-open-flames zone. Do not carry polyethylene bags, matchboxes, or cigarette lighters. The luggage is checked at the park entrance

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Hiking Trails at Horton Plains

  • World's End Trail: This popular trail leads to the iconic World's End viewpoint, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding plains and mountains. The trail is relatively easy and suitable for all fitness levels, with a round-trip distance of approximately 9 kilometers.
  • Baker's Falls Trail: This trail takes you through lush montane forests to Baker's Falls, a picturesque waterfall cascading over rocky ledges. The hike is moderate in difficulty, with a round-trip distance of about 7 kilometers.
  • Kirigalpoththa Trail: For more adventurous hikers, the Kirigalpoththa Trail leads to the summit of Kirigalpoththa, the second-highest peak in Sri Lanka. The trail is challenging and requires a full-day hike, but the panoramic views from the summit are well worth the effort.

Geography of the Horton Plains

Horton Plains National Park is in the Central province of Sri Lanka. Located on the southern plateau of Central Highlands which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and comprises of three main parts, those are, the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. At an elevation of 2,100–2,300 metres, the Horton Plains receive a right amount of rainfall, and the annual temperature varies. During the daytime, the temperature can reach as high as 27 degrees Celsius to dropping low at 5 or even 1 degree Celsius. Due to the covering of the cloud forests, the misty clouds often hide the sun rays to the plants and with the soil type of the red-yellow podsolic group, this combination gives rise to some endemic species on the plains. The Archaean age rocks found in the national park are made up of Khondalites, Charnockites, and granitic gneisses and are existent from the Precambrian Era. Hence, the physical feature of the plains makes the place even more alluring and significant.

Flora at the Horton Plains National Park

The flora at the Horton Plains National Park is rich and diverse. The vegetation of the park is divided into two groups. The montane grasslands cover around 2,000 hectares of land, while the subtropical montane evergreen forests surround 1,160 hectares of the area. Several wild endemic species occupy the forest - herbaceous flora and tropical species such as the Ipsea species (an endemic daffodil orchid) are also present near the plains. The herbaceous plants such as Viola, Fragaria, and Plantago etc. are most commonly found in the National Park.

Fauna at the Horton Plains National Park

The fauna in the Horton Plains is quite amusing and lavish. With 24 species of mammals including purple-faced langurs, rusty-spotted cat, Sri Lankan leopards, and wild boars etc., the most common species spotted is the ‘Sambar Deers’. With a population of around 87 species of birds, nine species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians, Horton Plains is home to a variety of mixed species. It was also known for the Sri Lankan Elephants; however, the species became non-existent after the 1940s. Sri Lanka also has a great diversity of 21 bird species which include Sri Lanka blue magpie, dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, and Sri Lanka wood pigeon, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka junglefowl, yellow-fronted barbet, and orange-billed babbler are some of the magnificent birds seen only in Sri Lanka.

History of Horton Plains

Horton Plains National Park was named after the British Governor of Ceylon, Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton, when he travelled towards the region to meet the Ratemahatmaya of Sabaragamuwa in 1836.

The original name of the plateau was Maha Eliya Thenna which supposedly means ‘the hugely lightened ground’. This name has a back story to it. Sri Lanka is quite famous for its connected folk tales, which are quite often associated with the Hindu ‘Epic’ Ramayana. It is said that King Ravana kidnapped Sita, the wife of Rama, as revenge for cutting his sister, Suparnika’s nose. This act enraged Rama, and he led an army consisting of monkey-human like creatures. The army’s leader Hanuman then set fire to the Plains, also known as the ‘Lanka’ of Ravana, which lasted for a considerable period. This story explains the Plains’ original name and its meaning.

It is believed that still, an upper layer of soil remains of a greyish black colour. Stone tools dating back to the Balangoda culture have also been discovered in the area. According to the recommendation given by Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker that the British Government left the montane forest, which is elevated above 5000ft. This advice was immediately implemented, and Horton Plains was sanctioned as a wildlife sanctuary on 5 December 1969, and later in the year 1988 was promoted to a National Park. Horton Plains is quite dear to the local population with its deep-rooted biodiversity and vibrant culture

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Horton Plains National Park Photos

Horton Plains National Park
Horton Plains National Worlds End, Horton Plains National Park
A water body at Horton Plains

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FAQs on Horton Plains National Park

What is the best time to visit Horton plains national park?

Horton Plains is a protected area and thus requires one to reach before the assigned timings for a magnificent view of the park and its lavish attractions. The climate is humid, and rainfall is almost throughout the year. However, the months from January to March is considered a favoured time to visit the place as those are the drier months within the region.

It is also essential that one should reach and visit the site early morning for two significant reasons. One is to dodge the crowds and enjoy a majestic view of the plains and second being that clouds cover the forests of Horton Plains, especially during the rainy season.

Thus, it is apt to visit the place during the drier months of the year. The annual temperature during the day is usually 20 degree Celsius with regards to its high elevation, which can drop even further during the night.

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What are the places near Horton plains national park?

The top places near to Horton plains national park are Nuwara eliya which is 16 km from Horton plains national park, Kandy which is located 57 km from Horton plains national park, Galle which is located 105 km from Horton plains national park, Colombo which is located 105 km from Horton plains national park, Anuradhapura which is located 173 km from Horton plains national park

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