Hiking in Sri Lanka - Ella Rock: A Photo Journey
After we’d climbed Little Adam’s Peak on our first day in Ella, it gave us an appetite for more hiking in Sri Lanka around this magnificent highland landscape. We wanted more of a challenge. Little Adam’s Peak was amazing but it was just too easy to get to the top. We were surprised by the incredible rewarding views after such minimal effort! So what to do next. We’d heard about Ella Rock. Another hiking in Sri Lanka highlight that would take a few hours longer to reach the peak. Perfect!
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What we enjoy about hiking in Sri Lanka is not all the hikes are epic all day or multi day hikes. Ella Rock is a 5 hour round trip so does require an early rise to beat that daily rainy season storm that rolls in at lunchtime. Though still enough time for those Sri Lankan breakfasts we love so much. So after more string hoppers, omelettes, fruit and coconut pancakes we left our Green Lantern Guesthouse at 8:30am.
Walking Along the Train Tracks
The first part of the walk requires about an hour following the train tracks from Ella town. We were quite excited by this as we had previously enjoyed our train journey from Kandy to Ella where we caught glimpses of local life on and around the tracks.
On our track walk to Ella Rock we passed smiling families on their way to town, farmers on route to work and a friendly postman. The postman told us how he walks 15Km of track everyday to deliver mail. He has done so for 30 years. No gym membership needed for him then!
It’s wonderful to see locals using the track in their daily lives but there’s also great scenery to be seen. The track cuts through lush jungle high up on the mountainside. When the trees break you can see views across the valley and spot the many peaks in the area.
Finding the Path up the Mountain
Some tourists take a guide when climbing Ella Rock and we now know why. The pathway is harder to navigate and even more difficult to find from the train tracks since there are no signs. We knew this before setting off for the hike but we wanted to give it a go ourselves. Maybe join some other travellers on the way or ask a local when we get close.
Our guide book instructed that the opening of the path is once you cross a bridge. To the left of the tracks after a small Buddhist shrine. Well we walked over the bridge an hour into the walk, came across the shrine but there was no clear path. Only a very narrow trail into the jungle which we couldn’t be sure was the correct direction. The last thing we wanted was to get lost in the jungle. That’s definitely not what we had in mind while hiking in Sri Lanka.
So as planned, we asked a local man who happened to be passing as there were no other travellers in sight. Well actually, we’re sure he was waiting for clueless travellers like us as he ended up taking us all the way to the top for a bit of cash.
The Climb up the Mountain
It was worth the 1000 rupees (£5) as he took us on a much easier path. We bypassed a large and very steep section which everyone else seemed to be taking. We came back down that way which was difficult enough so going up in the Sri Lankan heat would have been exhausting. Judging by everyone else’s heavy panting and sweat soaked clothes at the top, it was!
We followed our new guide up a longer path but at a gradual incline. Again like Little Adam’s Peak it required no strenuous effort. Yes we were looking for a challenge but at least we saved some energy for the rest of the day. The trail first cut through a local village aside farmland where farmers were working hard in small fields. For the rest of the hike we were dwarfed by tall woodland. Some of which was black from a recent forest fire.
The Views from the Top of Ella Rock
The views from the top of Ella Rock were equally rewarding as those atop of Little Adam’s Peak. You could see far and wide across the valley with infinite shades of green rolling into the distance. The were plenty of people there but everyone was silent, in awe of the mountainous scenery. We stayed for at least an hour in the you could hear a pin drop quietness, enjoying the view. It would be our last hiking in Sri Lanka experience but first on our list of things to do in Ella.
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