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Kirigalpoththa

Considered to be one of the many lesser known attractions in the Horton Plains National Park, Kirigalpoththa, the second tallest mountain in Sri Lanka is certainly an ‘off the beaten path’ attraction, as its nature trail takes you through the iconic grassy plains and some dense montane forests of the park teeming with wildlife, offering some of the most exquisite sceneries of the Sri Lankan hill country. Many who have traversed the trail up to the summit claim the view to be even more picturesque than the more popular World’s End, therefore making a climb up to the summit all the more enticing.

Best Known For

  • The colossal mountain is famed for its rustic nature trail that takes you through the marshy grassy plains and through to some dense montane forests that are quite challenging, even for the fit mountain climber. However, the murmurs of the streams running across the trail, along with the chirping of little birds and Sri Lankan Sambur crossing the pathway, really makes anyone forget the difficulties of the trail and be one with nature.
  • Another highlight of the second tallest mountain in Sri Lanka is the breathtaking views of the countryside from the summit. Being able to witness some parts of the mountain town of Nuwara Eliya, along with the iconic windmills of the New Zealand Farm and the lush green forests draping the mountain ranges, many mountain climbing veterans claim it to be much better than the more popular World’s End.

Interesting Facts

  • Kirigalpoththa is officially dubbed the second highest mountain in Sri Lanka, towering at 2388-metres, just around 200-metres short of the Piduruthalagala, which is the highest mountain in Sri Lanka.
  • Although dwarfed by the Piduruthalagala, the Kirigalpoththa is the highest accessible summit to the public, due to its Piduruthalagala counterpart being controlled by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
  • The trail to the mountain is around 6-kilometres in length and takes around 6 hours to complete a round trip from the bottom to the peak and back again, depending on how many breaks you take.
  • Another intriguing feature is the hidden nature of the mountain trail, as it starts at the same point that leads to the World’s End, however, branches off after around 300-metres.
  • The trail will initially lead you through a series of serene streams and eventually leads you to marshy grassy plains.
  • It is at the grassy plains that it is possible to witness the endemic Sri Lankan Sambur roaming about the area.
  • After the plains, lies the dense montane forests in which the trail gets quite treacherous due to the muddy ground.
  • However, the abundance of unique flora and fauna would make anyone forget all these difficulties.
  • The trail, when close to the summit, is one of the most scenic. However, it is also quite narrow and leads to a large drop on either side, making it all the more daring (Please do be careful though!).
  • The summit boasts of some serene views of the evergreen Sri Lankan hill country, it is even possible to see a glimpse of the mountain town of Nuwara Eliya and the windmills of the New Zealand Farm. Thus making the climb all the more rewarding for anyone.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Since the colossal mountain is inside the Horton Plains National Park, the trail is open from 6.00am to 6.00pm. However, due to the trail being quite lengthy and difficult to traverse, it is highly advised that you begin your hike in the wee hours of the morn.
  • The summit can be reached throughout the year, however, the best time to conquer the summit of the mountain is during the dry season that begins from February to April and July to September. This is because the wet season can be quite dangerous, as the trail can get quite slippery and dangerous, especially near the summit.
  • If going for the first time, it is best to go with an experienced tour guide, since there is high possibility that you could get lost, as the trail can sometimes be difficult to follow.
  • Whatever you do, do not attempt to do a solo climb here!
  • The trail is marred with a series of obstacles that can result in many mishaps, since the underfoot conditions change rapidly from easy hard ground to swampy ground that can swallow an entire shoe, if careless.
  • Therefore, it is imperative that you come prepared with proper hiking gear and clothes, along with necessary supplies such as food and water.
  • Polythene bags are not allowed inside the trail, so please use more environmental friendly methods of packing your essentials.
  • The park rangers do check your bags in the start of the trail. If they do find polythene bags, they will replace it with environmental friendly brown paper bags.
  • Please adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the authorities.
  • It would be quite a pity if you forget your camera.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the road less travelled or looking to go on an epic adventure with rewarding benefits in the Paradise Island, the Kirigalpoththa Mountain in the Horton Plains National Park is the perfect attraction, as the summit is well hidden in the natural splendour of Sri Lanka, teeming with endemic wildlife, offering surreal views of the verdant valleys of the Sri Lankan hill country.

Title image by: Haaziq Reza

Season

February - April

July - September

Tickets

Entrance Fee
LKR 2,332

Tickets At

Type

Nature and Outdoors

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