If you have ever visited Sri Lanka or read about Sri Lanka, you should of course know that the beauty of the central highlands of Sri Lanka is immeasurable and inexpressible. The beautiful mountains covered with clouds of mist, the railways running through the greenery of tea estates, the waterfalls, and forests… Yes, there’s much more to add to the list. However, if you are willing to experience all this delight, with some added adventure, a hike in Ella Rock is what you should go for.
Simply, the opportunity to have fun and adventure-filled hike, while enjoying the scenic beauty, has made the hill country of Sri Lanka an interesting stop for many. So, if you are planning on a hike at Ella rock, here is what you should know all about!
What is Ella Rock?
Ella Rock is located in the proximity of Ella, which is a beautiful mountain town. This town is an iconic tourist destination with green tea estates, panoramic views, waterfalls, railways, and especially the opportunity for trekking and hiking.
Ella Rock is a majestic rocky mountain surrounded by dense forest. Yet, it has stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere. At a glance, the journey might look difficult. Still, it will be a wonderful walk passing through the green valleys, tea plantations, railway lines, and water fountains, which ultimately lead you to the peak. From the top of Ella Rock, you can have a panoramic view of Ella town, Ella Gap, Little Adam’s Peak, and the surrounding forest covers.
So, if you are aiming at a hike, Ella Rock is the best place for you to take a hike in this beautiful town. That is simply because it is regarded as one of the world’s best walks.
The Hike in Ella Rock
Ella Rock hike consists mainly of two parts. The walk through the countryside from Ella town to the starting point of the hike and then the hiking journey to the top of the rock. The round trip is about 10 kilometers and it will take about 3 hours.
Let us have a look at these two parts of the journey after exploring how you can get to Ella town from various parts of the island.
How to Get to Ella Town?
Ella is a town located at an altitude of 1,041 meters, about 199 kilometers away from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. Continue reading to know how to get to Ella town from a few other tourist destinations on the island.
Colombo to Ella
The most famous and loved way to travel to Ella from Colombo is to take the train from Colombo Fort to Badulla. It is also the cheapest way to travel. Yet, it will take a little longer than traveling by bus or a private vehicle. There are trains departing at various times and the average journey will take about nine and half hours.
Traveling from Colombo to Badulla by bus will take about 5 hours. You will have to take the bus from Colombo Fort Bus station.
You can also take a taxi or drive to Ella in a private vehicle from Colombo, and it will take about three and a half hours. The distance is about 199 km.
Kandy to Ella
If you are taking a taxi or driving yourself to Ella, then it will take about two and a half hours.
Galle to Ella
The easiest way to travel from Galle to Ella will be by bus. First, you will have to take a bus from Galle bus station and reach Makumbura Multimodal Transport Centre. Then from Kottawa, you can catch the bus to Ella.
However, the cheapest way to travel from Galle to Ella will be to complete a part of the journey by bus and then take the train to Ella. You can take a bus from Galle bus station to Kadawatha. From there, you will have to go to Ragama railway station to catch the train to Ella. Although this is the cheapest way, it will take a longer time.
The most comfortable way to travel from Galle to Ella is to take a taxi or drive to Ella. It will take about 3 hours and the distance is about 202 kilometers.
The Journey from Ella Town to Ella Rock
The Ella Rock is located around 8 kilometers away from the center of Ella town, near Kaithal Ella, in Badulla. The walk from Ella town to the starting point of Ella Rock hike will take about 30 minutes. And yes, it will simply be an exciting journey.
Some find the route from Ella town to Ella rock a little complicated because there are no signs or markers on the way. Yet, if you follow the right directions, you can easily find the way.
First, you need to get to the Ella Railway Station. When you enter the railway station you can go along the platform towards the left, and at the end of the platform, you can get down and walk along the railway track. Continue walking until you find Kithal Ella Railway station. After passing the station, walk for another few minutes until you find the second left turning with a sign saying “Ella Rock”. It is marked with an arrow on a rock. It is between the two-way markers 166 ½ and 166 ¼. Continue straight along this path and you will meet a footbridge over a beautiful river. After crossing the bridge, take the left turn and continue walking.
Reaching the Top of Ella Rock
From there, you can take the path going upwards through the tea plantation and grasslands. It is a little bit of a tiring journey but you won’t regret it when you get to witness the beautiful views from the top of Ella rock. You can walk up the hill through the forest of tall Eucalyptus trees, which create wonderful scenery and a wholesome vibe. On your way, you will get a chance to catch amazing views of the valleys.
After a few more minutes of walking, you will reach the top of Ella Rock. With the amazing liveliness there, no wonder that you will be filled with a bubbly feeling which will take all your tiredness away. You will get to witness the beautiful views of green mountains and valleys. The cloud cover makes different patterns in the skies, and the mist-covered environment will be creating heaven on earth on top of the Ella Rock.
If you are lucky enough you can grab the chance to visit the place during the sunrise. A visit in the early morning will reward you with even better views of the skies, changing their colors to welcome the new day. So, why not take some awesome photos on top of the rock with these stunning views?
Do You Need a Guide to Hike Ella Rock?
You definitely don’t need a guide to reach Ella Rock if you are able to follow the correct directions. Yet, you have to make sure that you don’t get distracted by the wrong turns along the railway track. You can keep following the directions, and if you are not sure, you can always get help from a friendly local. Most of the locals are familiar with the route and will be ready to show you the directions.
Although there is no necessity of accompanying a guide if it is your choice you can hire a local guide from the area and they will offer you guidance. It is not very expensive and it will be safe for you if you are unsure that you would get lost. You can also take the help of a tourist guide. Nevertheless, you can definitely reach your destination without a guide and without any trouble, if you follow the right path.
Best Season to Hike the Ella Rock
Just like most of the travel destinations in Sri Lanka, Ella Rock is also a year-round travel destination. Yet, if we consider the best time out of it to hike Ella Rock, it will be from March to June.
There is no rain during that season and you can probably experience pleasant weather. The months from December to February are also preferable and these are known to be the colder months in Sri Lanka. So, this mountain town is surely going to be cold during those days.
Visits during the North West monsoon which lies between May and September, and the northeast monsoon which blows in October and November, are not advisable. It can be dangerous to hike in hilly areas during heavy rain.
Best Time to Start the Hike
The view of the sunrise from the peak is loved by many tourists. So, if you love to experience it, the best time to hike Ella rock is early morning. Besides, it is better to start the hike early in the morning because during the mid-day, the weather can get hotter and there is a high chance that you will get tired very soon. Although hill country is cooler than the other areas of the island, elevation during the hike can cause more effect from the hot sun. Also, your chance of having the best views from the viewpoints in Ella Rock can be blocked because of the clouds that rise up during the day.
It is also recommended to finish your journey before it is too late in the evening because it usually rains in the afternoon around the Ella area.
How to Get Ready for the Hike?
The first thing you should do is track the correct location. You can either get directions from Google maps or ask a local. Then following the right directions will leave you with an unbothered and easy journey.
It is recommended to wear appropriate shoes. The rock is steep towards the end and it will be easier to hike up with proper shoes. Also, the path can get slippery after rain.
You can wear clothes appropriate and comfortable for a hike. Also, if you need to protect yourself from sunburn you can have long sleeves on. Also, take a hat if you need to avoid the hot sun.
Moreover, take a bottle of water and snacks with you. There is plenty of space for you to relax and enjoy a snack when you reach the mountain top. You can also have some energy drinks or chocolates to boost your energy after the tiring journey. You can sometimes find vendors with bottled drinking water and snacks on your way. Still, it is always better to go prepared.
Don’t forget to take sunscreen and insect repellent. There is a chance that there will be leeches along the way in the grass and the muddy areas, so it is better to go ready.
Beware of the train while you are on the train tracks. If you see a train coming, you can get out of the railway track and stay on the sides until it passes.
Accommodation in Ella
There are many places that will offer you accommodation while on your way for the hike at Ella Rock. In fact, Ella town has got many options for accommodation ranging from luxury hotels to home stays. You can also find many budget hotels there. Most of the hotels provide accommodation with a restaurant and a bar. You can also get free private parking. Further, there are hotels and villas where you will get a swimming pool and other entertainment. So, staying a night in Ella town and then starting your hike early the next morning is recommended.
Other Significant Places to Visit while in Ella
Ella Town is a well-known tourist destination all over the world. That is simply owing to the interesting things it has to offer. It is the best place for you to get a journey full of scenic beauty, relaxation, adventure, and fun all in one.
Some of the most interesting places that you shouldn’t miss out there are:
- Nine Arches Bridge
- Ravana Falls
- Little Adam’s Peak
- Ceylon Tea Factory
- Ravana Caves
- Flying Ravana Mega Zipline
- Dhowa Rock Temple
- Ella Spice Garden
- Kithal Ella Falls
Visiting them would surely magnify the delight of your trip to Ella!
The Bottom Line
Adventure, unique weather, beautiful scenery, wildlife, picturesque landscapes, panoramic views, and a lot more – Yes, this is what a hike in Ella Rock has got for you. You will be fortunate to take an amazing hike and also spend time in one of the best viewpoints in the world if you choose to hike Ella Rock.
So, thinking of witnessing the view of a fairyland after a lovely walk? Yes! The Ella Rock Hike in this beautiful mountain town of Sri Lanka is what you should try next. Happy and safe traveling!