Sri Lanka’s diversity of terrain affords opportunities for trekking and hiking, especially in the Central Highlands. Trekking and hiking through the paddy fields, tea plantations, spice gardens, waterfalls, streams, dense forests, hills and mountains of the tropical island of Sri Lanka brings about unique experiences. The district of Kandy offers numerous treks. The medieval Buddhist temples of Gadaladeniya, Lankathilake temples and Embakke shrine are interconnected with footpath that bring about scenic landscape.
The trek from Ihalakotte Railway station to Dodanwala Devale shrine falls through forest reserves, Alagalle Mountain, tea estates and traditional Kandyan villages. Hantane trek, Alagalla Mountain trail, Bahirawakanda hill and Udawattakelle Forest Reserve are the most popular trails.
Knuckles Mountain Range as its name suggests, is formed in a shape of a human fist. Spreading over 155 sq km and bordering the Kandy and Matale Administrative Districts, Knuckles Mountain Range that consists of about 35 mountain peaks rising over 915 m is the most popular trekking and hiking site of Sri Lanka.
There are two main areas of access to the knuckles Mountain Range. The access point from the northern flank to Knuckles Mountain Range is Riverston; in the south eastern flank are Deanston and Meemure. The most followed trails of the largely untouched and rugged terrain are Pitawala pathena trail, Ash cave trail and nitro cave. Ash cave, a pre historic cave in the forest is a lovely site to enjoy camping. Nitro cave is a large cave hidden deep inside the forest. These trails that are interconnected with the footpaths leading to cardamom gardens, kitul palm groves and tea plantations are rich in birdlife.
Hanguranketha located south of Kandy is home to the largest stretch of a rice field in Sri Lanka. The rice field cultivated in the traditional collective farming system is studded with hundreds of tree top houses manned by farmers guarding the crop from the wild Elephants. While Beli Ull Oya river makes its way through the vast paddy field to Randenigala reservoir, at one end of the paddy field is a waterfall. The field rich in birdlife affords whole day trekking opportunities.
Belihul Oya is located in a zone linking wet zone and dry zone of Sri Lanka. The unique location has resulted in Belihul Oya being the zone of highest biodiversity in Sri Lanka. The spectacular sceneries of the area afford a wide variety and trekking and hiking trails over the hills, through the jungles and paddy fields.
Still more, no less than three exhilarating treks running from Belihuloya via Bambarakanda Water Falls lead to the Horton Plains National Park situated 2,134 m above sea level. The trek winds and rises through scrub jungle and tea plantations to reach the dramatic escarpment popularly called the World’s End that drops 890 meters off the southern ridge of the Central Highlands. Horton Plains is the only national park where trekking and hiking is allowed. In all other National Parks of Sri Lanka only 4 wheel vehicle driven safari tours are allowed.
Ohiya of Central Highlands is a fine starting point for many treks. The trek to Bamarakanda Falls, the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka that takes 8 hours begin at an altitude of 2200 meters falls to 1800 meters runs through the lush green highland mountains, misty falls, and streams. At the summit of the lovely waterfall is another smaller waterfall with a large pool in a scenic background.