3 ½ hours and one scary winding up hill road later we reached Horton plains, one of the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka. Many tourist both local and foreign come to Horton plains because of its world famous natural beauty, rich biodiversity and to see the world’s end cliff (no not literally 😛 ).
Even the road leading to Horton plains has so much to offer in terms of wildlife and scenic views. Bit scary but worth it.. especially scary when you’re on a bus that can hardly fit in to a bend 😛 and at one point a deer decided to cross the road in front of us, way to give a heart attack!!
Horton plains is located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and the vegetation in this area is of wet patana grassland and cloud forest. The plains are rich in biodiversity with many species of endemic and non-endemic flora and fauna such as the Sri Lankan Sambar deer and Rhododendron arboretum.
At the entrance the guards check your bags to make sure you don’t take any polythene, cigarettes, lighters or match boxes inside.
Sounds weird but the entrance to the plain feels like the door to “Narnia”. It’s like two worlds are separated by one gate!! Also the deer hanging around like it’s no body’s business reminds me of Mr. Tumnus from Narnia! He even lets you pet him!!
The trail starting from the main entrance goes through a grassland and will lead you up to a “Y” junction where you can ether take the trail leading to your right or left. Either way you go you will come back to the same place since the trail is an 8 Km long loop. The trail goes through a few points of interest such as the world’s end cliff, baker’s fall and chimney fall. It is advisable to start from the left side trails so that you will reach the world’s end cliff first. If you go late you will not get a clear view from the world’s end view point because the mist starts setting in as the evening progresses.
After about 20-30 min of walking along a trail through a cloud forest and weird looking rock formations you will reach the Small World’s End cliff which has a drop of 274 m. Then after another small hike you will reach the Big World’s End which has a drop of 884 m. During some seasons the Big World’s End is closed for safety reasons. The view you get to see from both cliffs are exceptional !!. On a clear day you can see the Udawalawe national park and also till the Indian Ocean which is 81 km away.
Once you’re done absorbing the amazing view from the cliff head on out through the plains to Baker’s falls.
To reach the falls you will have to climb up and through the cloud forest on a slightly tricky foot trail. This 20 m high waterfall is considered as one of the most beautiful water falls in Sri Lanka and is located on a tributary of the Belihul oya. There is a 12m plunge pool that looks tempting but please note that it is pretty dangerous and have already claimed many lives in the past years.
Once you come back on the main trail you will come across the Chimney Falls, a man made fall somewhere between Baker’s falls and the “Y” junction.
The camping grounds are located close to the “Y”junction on the right side trail.
You can get to Horton plains by either train or road. If you’re coming by train get down at Pattipola or Ohiya station and proceed to the national park by pre-arranged transportation (I’m not sure if there are tuk tuks or any other vehicle you can get without arranging – but I might be wrong) or go ahead and use them strong legs. If you’re coming by road you can get to the national park through Ohiya or Pattipola.
- January to march is the best time to go if your heart is set on getting a clear view from the world’s end point.
- It is best to go a bit early (8-10 am) so that the fog won’t cover the view.
- If you’re planning to trek in the morning be sure to take warm cloths (sweater) because during the morning time it’s a bit cold, but also take a cap and sun screen because as the day progresses the plains warm up.
- Take plenty of water since there are no shops inside the plains (Stating the obvious ! ). Refreshments are available near the entrance.
- There are two more trekking routes that are not frequently used, so if you are feeling a bit adventurous go for it. You can get the necessary information from the information counter at the entrance.
If you’re heading to Sri Lanka do try to visit Horton plains, where else will you get to pet a freaking wild deer!!
Hope you enjoyed reading this post and feel free to use the comment section below to talk about anything under the sun 🙂