50 Mountains to Climb in Sri lanka

It is hard to imagine a small country like Sri Lanka packs such a vast geological diversity. A few hours travel can make such a difference in climate and scenery.

Out of hundreds of peaks in this small island, I’ve put together a list of mountains and rocks that are allowed to climb.

Before diving into the list I’m going to lay out some background information about mountains in Sri Lanka. If you want, you can jump to the list right away.
hiking manigala mountain in knuckles reserve
On the way to Manigala, Knuckles forest reserve

FYI Some of the mountains are restricted to the public due to security and environmental protection. Let’s get to know them first.

Restricted Mountains

hakgala mountain nuwara eliya
Hakgala mountain, with its three distinctive peaks – Photo Credit: Holiday Trail Ceylon

The highest peak of the island, Mt. Piduruthalagala (2,524m) is restricted for hiking purposes. But the summit can be reached by a vehicle after obtaining permission.

By the way, the highest peak that can be climbed is Mt. Kirigalpoththa (2,388m). It is located within Horton Plains NP and can be climbed without much trouble.

Hakgala (2,170m) is another restricted peak. It is situated within a strict nature reserve hence not accessible to the public. The Hakgala botanical garden is located at the base of this giant.

Ritigala (768m) is another mysterious mountain that is not allowed for hiking due to the sensitive environment. It can, however, be explored for research purposes after obtaining permission from DWC.

In case you’re wondering, there are no Volcanoes in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has 03 major massifs (Group of mountains)

hanthana mountain range kandy
Hanthana mountain range – A popular hiking trail among Sri Lankan university students
  • Central Highlands – The hill country packs the highest peaks and covers an area spanning 20% of the entire island. Central hills area serves as the major catchment area for almost all the rivers. It is also a UNESCO world heritage.
  • Knuckles Massif – Knuckles forest reserve is unique for its rich biodiversity. This serene forest cover is adorned by some 30 summits and many waterfalls.
  • Rakwana-Deniyaya Massif – The smallest massif of the island is located in the southwestern region of Sri Lanka. These are smaller and lesser explored peaks so If you wanna try discovering things, here is the area.

In addition to these, there are standalone hills (Erosion remnants) and rocks strewn across the northern and eastern plains.

Sigiriya, Ritigala, Athugala to the north and Thoppigala, Dhanigala, Dimbulagala to the east are some example of such lone giants.

pidurutalagala mountain and mandaram nuwara
Piduruthalagala Range (Right) – Seen at Mandaram Nuwara – Photo Credit: Viranga Perera

Let’s get into the list of peaks that can be reached. After all, that’s why you’re here.

I have categorized these peaks under 04 difficulty levels. Mind you these are not internationally standardized levels, just meant to compare mountains within Sri Lanka only. Also, the levels can be subjective since I base this information on hiking reports of someone else.

Difficulty Levels: Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Strenuous

Difficulty classifications are based on various factors such as

  • The grade of the peak (slope) – There are vertical rock walls and hills that are nearly flat which your grandma could climb.
  • The time it takes to complete the hike – Climbing Sri Lankan peaks may take max 2-3 days or just 01 hour. Portaledges are unheard in these parts.
  • The need for technical climbing skills – Some peaks may require the knowledge of technical skills such as rock climbing, free climbing.
  • Usage of ropes and harnesses – Free climbing can be deadly on some peaks.
  • Weather conditions – Severe weather conditions such as wind, mist, and rain (No snow here, luckily) can make climbing difficult.
  • Whether a guide is required – Popular Mountains like Adam’s Peak have well laid out paths but not so with the peaks surrounded by thick woods. You’ll need to hire a reliable local in such cases.
  • Wildlife – Poisonous snakes, Wasps, Sloth Bears and Leopards can be found in some trails. But most of the time, only the leeches are there to annoy you.
You’ll notice I’ve omitted Adam’s Peak (Sri Padaya) from this list. The reason is there are 06 paths, with varying degree of difficulty, to reach the sacred summit.I’ve mentioned all those paths in my guide to Adam’s peak trails. Please check that out as well.

So without further ado, here is the list of mountains that can be hiked.

Just Click on the respective column header to sort the table as you want.

Peak Height (m) Difficulty Nearest Town District Location
Bible Rock 798 Moderate Mawanella Kandy Google Maps
Narangala 1,527 Easy Hali-ela Badulla Google Maps
Idalgashinna Mt 1,890 Easy Idalgashinna Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Beragala Mt 1,780 Moderate Beragala Badulla Google Maps
Namunukula 2,036 Moderate Namunukula Badulla Google Maps
Seven Virgins 1,569 Difficult Norton’s Bridge Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Hanthana Range 1,300 Moderate Kandy Kandy Google Maps
Wangedikanda 1,360 Moderate Kalupahana Badulla Google Maps
Gommolikanda 2,034 Difficult Kalupahana Badulla Google Maps
Great Western 2,212 Difficult Talawakelle Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Kirigalpoththa 2,388 Moderate Pattipola Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Thotupala Mt 2,357 Easy Pattipola Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Yahangala 1,220 Difficult Ududumbara Matale Google Maps
Kondagala 1,620 Easy Delthota Kandy Google Maps
Kehelpathdoruwegala 1,529 Moderate Ududumbara Matale Google Maps
Thunhisgala 1,627 Moderate Bambarella Matale Google Maps
Gongala 1,357 Moderate Boraluwageayina Ratnapura Google Maps
Gombaniya 1,906 Difficult Huluganga Matale Google Maps
Knuckles Range 1,862 Moderate Bambarella Matale Google Maps
Lakegala 1,314 Strenuous Meemure Matale Google Maps
Alagalla 1,140 Moderate Poththapitiya Kandy Google Maps
Peacock Hills 1,518 Easy Pussellawa Kandy Google Maps
Kabaragala 1,506 Moderate Gampola Kandy Google Maps
Dhanigala 280 Easy Kandegama Polonnaruwa Google Maps
Kellebokke 1,380 Easy Madulkelle Kandy Google Maps
Single Tree Hill 2,100 Easy Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Kikiliyamana 2,143 Easy Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Bana Samanala 1,800 Strenuous Palabaddala Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Hunnasgiriya 1,514 Moderate Panwila Matale Google Maps
Bopaththalawa (Green Mt) 1,900 Moderate Bogawanthalawa Nuwara Eliya Google Maps
Adarakanda 1,500 Moderate Pambahinna Ratnapura Google Maps
Kurullangala 1,100 Difficult Ella Badulla Google Maps
Ella Rock 1,041 Easy Ella Badulla Google Maps
Little Adams Peak 1,141 Easy Ella Badulla Google Maps
Dimbulagala 534 Moderate Polonnaruwa Polonnaruwa Google Maps
Waulagala 900 Easy Amanawala Kegalle Google Maps
Yakdessagala 430 Moderate Gonagama Kurunegala Google Maps
Uthuwankanda 431 Easy Uthuwankanda Kegalle Google Maps
Bisogala 823 Moderate Mawathagama Kurunegala Google Maps
Dolukanda 600 Moderate Hunupola Kurunegala Google Maps
Yakkuragala 600 Moderate Kandalama Matale Google Maps
Arangala 792 Easy Naula Matale Google Maps
Manigala 1,080 Easy Ilukkumbura Matale Google Maps
Riverston Peak 1,420 Easy Rattota Matale Google Maps
Kabbale Mt 440 Moderate Udugama Galle Google Maps
Wiltshire 1,200 Easy Matale Matale Google Maps
Brandy Rock 1,130 Easy Matale Matale Google Maps
Hawagala 1,400 Moderate Belihuloya Ratnapura Google Maps
Manikdena 865 Moderate Dambulla Matale Google Maps
Govinda hela 558 Moderate Siyambalanduwa Monaragala Google Maps
Pettigala 1,500 Difficult Balangoda Ratnapura Google Maps
Friar’s Hood 430 Strenous Maha Oya Ampara Google Maps

 

Important!

  • The peaks marked “Strenuous” are fatal and do not attempt without a knowledgeable guide and proper tools (ropes, harnesses). It’s recommended to notify police or a legal authority before starting the hike/climb.
  • Wherever you go, please be a responsible traveler and avoid/minimize the use of polythene. Bring back bring any such non-bio-degradable material with you and dispose of them properly.

It’s your move now, go explore the lofty hills of this blissful Island. Find new routes and new peaks. There are many more peaks/rocks to be climbed and those will be added in due course. I’m going to post more detailed guides on climbing above peaks soon so subscribe to our newsletters and stay in touch.

Happy Climbing!!

References

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