Best Hiking Trails for Solo Women Travellers in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. While most of us know about famous places, there are many hidden gems that only the locals know about. Did you know that there are almost 400 waterfalls in Sri Lanka? I didn’t either. You can visit a few during your hikes which will enhance the overall experience significantly.
Many times, people use the words hiking and trekking interchangeably. But these are two completely different words. Hiking is a long, casual planned walk along trails for a few hours. And trekking is a vigorous hike that is vaguely planned and can last for multiple days. To be very honest, trekking is not for everyone and not fun on a solo trip either. However, everyone can enjoy a hike once in a while and refresh themselves by doing so.
Sri Lanka’s hiking experience is a special one. And you can find many articles and blogs on the internet on this topic. But in this blog, I will familiarise you with the best ones for solo women travellers as I have been there myself and experienced it first-hand. Be it the speciality, or difficulty, or the estimated time, or whatever else, I will try to explain it all. But if you have never been to Sri Lanka, it can get quite awkward in some situations. To avoid all of that, you can go through these tips.
Belihuloya is what I would call a ‘typical’ hiking trail. It is an easy hike but isn’t short on natural beauty. If you have never been on a hike, this is the perfect place to start. It is located in Ratnapura, which is around 150kms from Colombo and situated 616m above sea level. Along with a decent hiking trail, there are also many waterfalls in the area that will make your hiking experience a great one.
It is surrounded by semi-evergreen and tropical savannah forests, valleys, and grasslands. It is an excellent place for bird watching too. If you are a novice hiker or just want to know what hiking feels like, Belihuloya should be your first option. The views from these trails are not the greatest in Sri Lanka but still decent. However, what is great are the views of the waterfalls. Two of the tallest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, Bambarakanda Falls, and Diyaluma Falls, can be spotted here at 263m and 220m.
As I mentioned earlier, the hike is easy and great for novice hikers. It will take you around four hours to hike, but you can choose to spend more time if you would like to explore the place a little more. I would not recommend hiring a guide as it is not required and might take away the thrill of your first hike. Make sure that you carry all the essential items and wear hiking shoes or sport shoes.
Most people are unaware of Pidurangala due to the popularity of Sigiriya. But that should not let you take a pass on this. It is located in the neck of the woods of Sigiriya. It offers excellent views not only of Sigiriya but also the sunrise. On your way to the top, you will encounter other attractions like the Cave Temple and the Reclining Buddha Statue.
In my opinion, Pidurangala is a great hiking trail, and the views are totally worth it. It has been overshadowed by Sigiriya for all this while, and people have almost forgotten that it even exists. Due to this reason, you will not see a lot of crowds here. I would highly recommend that you not miss out on this as it is a true hidden gem of the country!
The climb to the top is slightly tricky but not impossible. However, it will only take around an hour to reach the top at moderate speed. It might seem too difficult, but it is totally worth it. You should try to hike early in the morning as it can get scorching and uncomfortable during noon.
3. Ella Rock
The town of Ella needs no introduction. It is located 200kms from Colombo and situated at an elevation of 1,041m above sea level. There is an abundance of flora and fauna, and it is covered with forests and tea plantations. Due to this, the climate is calm and soothing. The word Ella literally translates to ‘water fall’ from Sinhala.
While there is a lot of natural beauty around, these are best seen from the top of the Ella Rock. Even though there is the famous Adam’s Peak here, Ella Rock is the highest cliff in Ella. This contributes to the fantastic hiking experience, which is enhanced by the stunning views from the top. If you don’t believe me, you should try it out for yourself.
It is pretty easy to climb, and almost anyone can do it. The climb will take you around four hours to complete. Also, you can hike on your own as the trail is roughly marked, and you won’t get lost. In my opinion, a guide isn’t required. But if you want to, you can hire one.
4. Knuckles Range
If you love hiking and want to explore the best of places, then the Knuckles Mountain Range is the one for you. It is located around 160kms from Colombo in the Districts of Matale and Kandy. Why is it called The Knuckles Range, you ask? Because there are five peaks that are in the shape of knuckles. While this is great, that is not all that there is here. There are around thirty other peaks in the Knuckles Mountain Range. Yes, you read that right!
No matter where you choose to hike, you can see a lot of greenery all around. More than one-third of the endemic Sri Lankan trees, shrubs, and herbs are found here. That should give you an idea about how rich the vegetation here is. Additionally, there are waterfalls, not one, but many. There are also villages here and many hiking and trekking tours.
This place is very famous amongst hikers and trekkers as it is perfect for unwinding from a stressful life. The trails are tropical, and hiking here is not a piece of cake. However, that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a shot, as you might end up loving it.
I have to admit the hike is quite challenging here. A hike without a guide is not the best choice here. The best part is that you can spend as much or as little time as you want here. It all depends on you. Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to click some great pictures!
Meemure is a relatively isolated village located near the Knuckles Mountain Range. It has a population of around four hundred, and there are no mail delivery services here. Also, there are no cellular services in this area either, which translates to no internet connectivity. However, you won’t require that here as I doubt if you would be checking your phone at all.
While it is not the most developed place on the planet, it is definitely one of the best non-touristy places in the country. The famous Lakegala mountain is located here with a lake next to it. The weather is pleasant all year round, which makes it an excellent place for hiking.
Other than that, you can try to mingle with the residents and know about their lifestyle and how it is different from ours. You might need to hire a guide as you will not speak their language and vice versa. But a guide isn’t required for the hike, so hiring one is ultimately your choice.
The hike is straightforward and enjoyable. While you can be done hiking in a couple of hours, I would recommend that you take out at least half a day to explore the village. You will not regret this decision one bit and thoroughly enjoy your time here. Add to that the great weather; you will be missing out on a lot if you skip Meemure!
6. Sinharaja Rainforest
A rainforest or a forest reserve, you can call it whatever you want to. There is an abundance of flora and fauna here, some of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Needless to say, it is an excellent place for hiking and trekking. It is located around 140kms from Colombo and taking a car to the location is the best option.
If you are a nature lover, you are going to enjoy every minute you spend here. You can spot a wide variety of endemic species of animals, birds, plants, and reptiles. If you choose to explore its depth, you will find many animals and some waterfalls. The hiking experience is a great one, thanks to the vegetation, combined with waterfalls, animals, and streams.
There are many trails that you can choose to explore with varying lengths. If you do not have a lot of time, you can choose a shorter path. If not, you can explore the longer routes too.
The hike is moderately challenging but, all in all, very enjoyable. Like I mentioned earlier, you can spend as much time as you want to. Spending around 4-6 hours is ideal. I would recommend that you hire a guide for the best experience and for your safety. Make sure that you wear good hiking shoes and keep a raincoat in your backpack.
7. Adam’s Peak
Adam’s Peak is undoubtedly the most famous hiking trail in Sri Lanka. It holds significant importance in many religions and traditions due to the 1.8m rock formation at the top. It is a 2,243m tall mountain surrounded by forests, which is also a wildlife reserve. The climate is cool and overcast all year round, which makes it perfect for hiking. The region also receives a lot of rainfall throughout the year, but that won’t ruin your hike.
You will see many tourists at the top who visit Adam’s Peak either for the fantastic views or religious importance. During my hike, I met a few people who said that they climbed Adam’s Peak on multiple occasions, and every single time it was a unique experience. After climbing to the top, I couldn’t disagree with them. Not only are the views from the top amazing, but the hike is no less.
While the climb is fun, it is not the easiest thing in the world. It is kinda difficult, but most of us will not have a problem. Depending on your speed, it will take you 2-4 hours to get to the top. Do note that you will find many people hiking here all year round, so hiring a guide is unnecessary.
The view is always worth the climb…
Those were some of my recommendations for the best hiking trails for solo women travellers in Sri Lanka. These beautiful trails are overshadowed by the beaches and gemstones of the country. While the latter is excellent, you should definitely try out some hiking trails on your solo trip to Sri Lanka. If you have never gone on a hike earlier, this will surely be one of the best experiences ever.
Make sure that you carry all the essentials items required for hiking. Some of them include a water bottle, cap, sunscreen, camera, waterproof pouch for your phone, some snacks, and a first aid kit, among other things. You wouldn’t want to be stuck somewhere in the middle of your hike and regret not bringing these items with you. You can also invest in hiking shoes, but regular sports shoes will do a fine job.
Do note that hiking only makes up a part of your solo trip, and there is a lot more to explore in Sri Lanka than just this. And with so much to explore in a country, you might be confused about how to make a travel plan. But worry not, you can check out my ultimate solo travel guide and thank me later. Happy travelling!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.