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Discover Immersive Nature Experiences in Sri Lanka

If the mesmerizing sights and beauty of the natural world hold a special place in your heart, there’s plenty to discover and experience in Sri Lanka. From hikes to forest trails to camping sites, this island paradise has much to offer the nature enthusiast.

Equip yourself with good walking shoes, a large bottle of water, comfortable clothes and anti-leech socks, and you’re ready to set off on your nature adventure!

The Pekoe Trail

The first long-distance hiking trail in Sri Lanka, the Pekoe Trail is carefully curated over 300 kilometres as a walking trail through the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.

Made up of 22 stages that can be completed in sections or experienced over multiple days, this trail was created with the intention of providing a more immersive and sustainable method of exploring the best of Sri Lanka’s hill country sights. From quaint little towns and remote villages to massive tea plantations, sanctuaries and forests – the Pekoe Trail offers a wonderful combination of nature, culture and history.

Beginning from Kandy and ending in Nuwara Eliya, this one-of-a-kind trail is one for the memory books if you want to explore the extensive biodiversity of Sri Lanka while supporting rural communities.

Ella Rock and Mini Adam’s Peak

Located in the mountain village Ella, which is also famous for the iconic Nine Arches bridge, Ella Rock takes prominence for ardent hikers to walk from one side of the steep hill to the other. On the way, you can stop at the Ella gap, which is the space between the two points of Ella Rock, and feast your eyes on a glorious view that is perfect for photographs. Make sure to take plenty of water, as there are no spots to stop and find refreshments until the end of the hike.

While you’re in Ella, you cannot miss hiking up Mini Adam’s Peak. Named after the resemblance of this hill to its taller counterpart, Adam’s Peak, it’s a fairly easy climb to the top of this peak – compared to the more tiring journey up Ella Rock. You can spot stunning views of thickly covered jungles, cliff drops and tea bushes at the peak, a delightful sight especially at sunrise or sunset.

Knuckles Mountain Range

This UNESCO-protected site located in Kandy was named by the British, as the mountain range resembled the knuckles of a closed fist from a distance. A greater number of Sri Lanka’s endemic birds live here, along with other animals such as monkeys and leopards – often the subjects of many nature photography enthusiasts. Capture amazing vistas as you trek along the five peaks making up the Knuckles Mountain Range, where there are many waterfalls, streams, flora and fauna to discover.

Generally covered by heavy mist due to its unpredictable and regularly changing climate, Knuckles Mountain Range is popular among hikers and campers, with many places offering stays for travellers.

Lover’s Leap Waterfall

This gushing waterfall is named after a tragic tale of love, and is located near a tea estate in Nuwara Eliya. Lover’s Leap originates from Pidurutalagala, which is the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka, and flows through granite ledges into a tank that stores the water for drinking purposes. The hike to the waterfall can be a little tricky due to a few large rocks to climb over and no clear trail in some sections, but the effort is worth it as the hike itself brings some pretty views of the surroundings.

Ravana Ella (Waterfall)

This shimmering cascade of water is well known for being one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. Named after one of the kings who ruled Sri Lanka in the past, King Ravana, the legend states that he had kidnapped a princess and kept her hidden in a cave near the falls, now known as Ravana Ella Cave.

The cool waters of Ravana Ella are ideal for a refreshing swim, and you can also make your way carefully up the rocks to view amazing sights of both the waterfall, as well as the surrounding mountain sceneries. Ravana Ella Cave also beckons with its alluring history of ancient civilizations dating back several thousand years.

Dunhinda Ella (Waterfall)

One of the most beautiful waterfalls found in Sri Lanka, Dunhinda Ella gets its name from the smoke-like effect of the spray of the water hitting the bottom of the fall. A few kilometres from the Badulla town, this waterfall can be reached by a rather narrow trail that needs extra care in some places. You can find friendly vendors along the way, but beware of the monkeys who may suddenly appear around you. During the monsoons, the waterfall’s beauty shines the best, due to the heavy spray causing a visibly thick, white mist.

Doovili Ella (Waterfall)

This waterfall is named after the Sinhalese term for ‘dust’, as the water splashes around in a dust-like manner at the bottom of the fall. Making its way through a greenery-filled path and ending in a beautiful shallow water basin, this place is absolutely perfect for a cool swim that will re-energize you. This waterfall is located in close proximity to Balangoda. Explore the many species of birds, animals and insects in the vicinity of this waterfall, for a more immersive nature experience.

Alagalla Mountain Range

Situated along the boundary of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, the Alagalla Mountain Range is renowned for its strategic location that made it ideal in the past for the defence of the country against foreign invasions. Starting with a walk through a tea estate, a small footpath will lead you to the route you have to follow to climb up the mountain. On reaching the summit, you will be able to see many other prominent mountainous icons located in different provinces of the country.

Horton Plains – World’s End and Baker’s Falls

Covered by grasslands and sections of thick woodland, rocks, stunning waterfalls and lakes, Horton Plains is home to a diverse range of wildlife, especially birds, deer and many endemic plants. Trek along lush greenery to reach World’s End, where the mountain ends suddenly at a sharp incline of about 900 metres and offers magnificent views of the surrounding tea estates, villages and other mountains. Take a detour and head to the majestic Baker’s Falls, which is encircled by ferns, imposing trees and montane shrubs and named after a famous British explorer. The climate in Horton Plains is quite unpredictable – with sudden shifts between cold and sunny – so make sure to have some extra clothes for warmth. Horton Plains can be accessed from Nuwara Eliya.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

This is the largest rainforest in Sri Lanka – declared a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO – housing a majority of endemic trees, mammals, birds, butterflies, insects, reptiles and rare amphibians. Hike through the jungle to glimpse some of the most unique and spectacular biodiversity found in the country from purple-faced langurs and Sri Lankan blue magpies to the red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lankan Birdwing Butterfly and leopards. If you fancy spending a night or two in this natural haven, take your time to explore as much as you can of the rich wildlife in Sinharaja, there are plenty of local spots that offer camping and other comfortable stays.

Kanneliya Forest Reserve

The Kanneliya Forest Reserve was selected as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2004. Located in close proximity to the city of Galle, this amazing wilderness is home to many flora and fauna that is endemic to the country, with two rivers flowing from within the forest.

Inside the rainforest, there are many waterfalls to discover – such as the attractive Anagimale Ella close to the entrance. A short walk from this waterfall will bring you to the wondrous giant creeper almost as tall as a human. Moving deeper into the forest will take you to more waterfalls, one of which is Narangas Ella, and will require a bit of balance along slippery trails and rope bridges. Take a short detour from this waterfall and you will spot a huge Nevada tree with an observation platform built partway up the truck for visitors to enjoy the beauty of Kanneliya Forest Reserve.


Kithulgala is mostly famous for its wide range of adventure activities such as white water rafting and canoeing, but it is also home to a forest reserve, a prehistoric cave and is considered a bird-watching paradise.

Kithulgala Forest Reserve offers one-day treks and camping tours for fans of the outdoors, conducted by guides. Detours into various sections of Kithugala will allow you to explore more forest reserves filled with flora and fauna, stunning, little-known waterfalls and even tea estates and rubber plantations. For dedicated birdwatchers, you can spot many locally endemic bird species such raptors, falcons, eagles, owls, coucals and thrushes – due to Kithulgala’s close proximity to mountains.