Horton Plains National Park Journey to World’s End
Horton Plains National Park is the destination of today’s trip for our early morning hike to World’s End. Once the hunting grounds for the elite, these plains are now a national park perched over 2,100m above sea level. Hiking to World’s End takes us across grassland plateau and through jungle to the breathtaking precipice dropping 1,200m to the valley below. The view extends to tiny towns surrounded by tea plantations. On clear days, you can see Sri Lanka’s south coast from here. Heading back, we pause at the beautiful Bakers Falls before descending to the town of Haputale and riding the . Once in Ella, if you’re feeling energetic you can hike Mini Adam’s Peak or Ella Rock. If you feel like relaxing, grab a book and watch the day go by in this relaxing little village.
Essential Tour Day Facts and Figures
- Major Destination: Horton Plains National Park, Ella, Haputale
- Overall distance travelled: 85km (car, train, tuk-tuk)
- Overnight accommodation: 98 Acres Resort, Ella
- Activity level: Moderate (9.5km walk on uneven ground)
We depart for Horton Plains National Park to visit World’s End well before dawn this morning. It’s essential we leave early, because by 10am each day, a white out of clouds often covers World’s End. The hotel staff have prepared breakfast packs for us to enjoy on our dawn journey to the National Park. As we leave Nuwara Eliya, fog clings to farmlands, breaking sporadically to reveal a beautiful sunrise. We drive the narrow, windy road up to the entrance of Horton Plains National Park, 1,500ft above sea level. Because of the fog that usually envelops us here, it seems as if we are climbing into the clouds. On arrival at the highest plain in Sri Lanka, there’s often a brisk breeze by the time we present to the gatehouse to collect our passes for entry into the National Park.
Continuing our drive for the last few kilometres, sambar deer and other animals often approach our car in search of a free feed. Before commencing the 9.5km round-trip walk to famous World’s End Sri Lanka, all our bags are inspected for any plastics. The local rangers protect Horton Plains National Park from anything that may be accidentally left in the park. Everything we bring in must also be removed when we leave. Once cleared for entry, we begin our walk towards World’s End. The path is well signposted and a steady stream of visitors keep everyone heading in the right direction. If you want a more personal experience, our guide can let you trek the walk alone.
Our walk alternates from windswept plains of natural grasses to dense jungle that provides a tunnel over our path. Walking quietly and keeping talking to a minimum gives us the best chance to spot wildlife and native birds close to the trail. Seemingly appearing from out of nowhere in the jungle, Mini World’s End is our first major attraction today. Although named ‘mini’, this end of the world provides us with a big wow factor as the ledge drops 1,000ft to the valley floor. Giving any vertigo the time to subside, we sit and take in the view before continuing our journey to the main event.
Excitement builds as we approach World’s End, one of Sri Lanka’s key attractions. As travellers are still talking about the smaller site we just visited, the real World’s End comes into view. The main cliff features a mind-boggling 4,000ft vertical drop to the valley below. On a clear day, we can see the Indian Ocean 80km away in the distance. The valley below looks like a miniature model of villages, farms and reflections from lakes and rivers. Sitting on the edge of the platform takes some nerve, with most visitors experiencing some vertigo as they pose for that perfect picture. Later in the day, clouds often fill the valley, so the early morning wake-up call becomes worthwhile as we enjoy the endless view.
Our walk continues across open plains, following a small stream to the last stop on our tour of Horton Plains National Park: Bakers Falls. Although only 20 high, these falls and crystal clear mountain waters are a beautiful stop on our return from World’s End. The edges of the falls are surrounded by ferns and rhododendrons, providing a snap of colour into the landscape. For those needing a bathroom stop, open-air toilets are provided with possibly the best view from any bathroom around. Continuing our walk, tired but filled with excitement about the amazing views we experienced, we return to the start of the loop.
After a lovely morning in Horton Plains National Park, we drive back down from the high plains to Haputale via the tiny town of Ohiya. Situated on a thin ledge of the hillside, the town of Haputale clings to the railway line that passes here. Perched above Haputale is Lipton’s Seat. A bronze statue of Sir Thomas Lipton marks the place this Scotsman surveyed the countryside to establish the tea plantations that now cover the hillsides. As the road narrows, we transfer to a tuk-tuk to crossof the Dambatenne tea plantation, observing as tea pluckers weigh their morning leaves. We for some free time to explore the narrow city and get a bite of lunch.
We end our day with a short train journey from Haputale to the relaxing township of Ella. Sitting in our reserved seat or enjoying the thrill of the ride from an open doorway, we are surrounded by other tourists on their way to one of the most laid-back towns in Sri Lanka This section of rail descends from the higher altitudes and is surrounded by lush jungle and many small villages. On arrival in Ella, our guide meets us and transfers us to our relaxing hotel. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore this laid-back city that’s popular with younger backpackers.
Daily Tour Inclusions at Horton Plains National Park
- Our tour director will escort the group during all group experiences
- Entry to Horton Plains National Park
- Tuk Tuk tour of Lipton’s Seat
- Rail journey from Haputale to Ella
- Overnight accommodation in Ella as per tour program
Departure dates to tour Horton Plains National Park
- This tour departs on selected Saturdays in 2017.
- For full program schedule: Discover Sri Lanka