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Horton Plains National Park

Sri Lanka; a hike to World's End and back

Horton Plains National Park is situated on the southern edge of Sri Lanka’s highlands region and forms part of the eponymously named UNESCO World Heritage-listing Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.

Horton Plains
Moorland or heath in the valleys

The Park’s altitude is between 2,100 and 2,300m with vegetation consisting of a mixture of montane forest, gallery forests and heath/grassland. Flora is correspondingly varied and includes several endemic bird species.

Sri Lanka. Sambur stag at Horton Plains.
Very obliging Sambur stag just chilling out beside the trail

Horton Plains’ best-known geographical feature is the aptly named World’s End where the heathland and forest suddenly meet a near sheer escarpment dropping off some 1000m to the coastal plains below. Naturally, views are stupendous and on a clear day, even the Indian Ocean – 80 kms distant – is visible.

A hike in Horton Plains National Park is included in our Sri Lanka Family Tour as well as our small group Sri Lanka tour, Island of Serendipity. Our circular route takes us through forest to the southern limit of the park and the World’s End viewpoint before turning north across moorland to Baker’s Falls. From here a trail leads back to the main entrance, car park and, most importantly, the tea shop and cafe.

The famous World's End viewpoint
The famous World’s End viewpoint

The full route weighs in at a distance of some 9kms and usually takes between 3 to 3 1/2 hours although various shortcuts are available. Paths are generally well-marked, well-maintained and relatively easy going. The cool highland temperatures are very appreciable as well. Guides will tailor precise routes according to weather conditions and energy levels.

Horton Plains
Rainforest on the southern edge of the escarpment

As with all our hikes, the idea is not to get from A to B as quickly as possible but to enable hikers to discover the flora and fauna, as well as views and landscapes; along the way.

One of the Park's more colourful residents
One of the Park’s more colourful residents