Best Hikes in Sri Lanka: Adam's Peak in the Low Season
Before attempting the climb to Adam's Peak I heard a lot of mixed reviews on whether or not the hike is worth it during the rainy season. My opinion? Absolutely! Hiking to the summit of Adam's Peak has been one of the highlights of my trip to Sri Lanka. Read on find out everything you need to know about hiking during the rainy season!
Name: Adam's Peak (Sri Pada)
Location: Central Sri Lanka (Nallathanniya)
Popular Route: Hatton-Nallathanni
Height: 2,243 meters
Difficulty Level: Medium-Hard
Duration: ~ 5 hours
Where to Stay
The easiest way to access the trail to Adam's Peak is through a town called Dalhousie (Nallathannyia). While there is not much to see in this area it provides an excellent starting point for the hike as the hotels are all walking distance. It is important, however, that you do NOT stay in Hatton. Many hotels in this area advertise close proximity to the hike, however you will need to drive 1.5 hours before starting your climb. We stayed at the Grand Adam's Peak. With rooms starting at 18 USD/night it is basic while still providing everything that you need for your hike. The views are absolutely incredible! You will be able to reach the start of the climb within 10 minutes on foot. If you are traveling during the low season then you can often bargain with the hotels for cheaper rates.
What to Pack
It is important that you pack all of the essentials when attempting this hike. We were extremely lucky as we had very good weather, however since Sri Lanka's low season is often accompanied by a lot of rain it is important you pack properly. This means making sure to pack raincoats, waterproof pants (if possible), and some sort of waterproof bag (a plastic baggie in my case) in order to keep your electronics safe. It is also important that you pack a warm jacket as the summit gets extremely cold. Although many hikers arrived to the top in tank tops and t-shirts, they quickly added heavy layers, some even putting on winter hats and gloves.
- Proper walking shoes (hiking boots are not necessary but helpful)
- Raincoat/poncho, waterproof pants, waterproof bag
- Warm jacket
- Snacks (most guesthouses will pack you breakfast on request)
- Money (for donations and/or tea or coffee)
- Flashlight (you will be starting in the middle of the night)
- Camera (the views are just incredible)
What to Expect
Reaching the summit of Adam's Peak is definitely a challenging hike, however it is more than worth it for the views! Most hikers start their ascent at 2:00am in order to reach the summit by sunrise. If you are staying in Nallathanniya then you will be taking the Hatton Road (make sure to take the same trail back down). The average climb takes approximately 3 hours, with faster hikers reaching it in 2 hours and those going at a slower pace requiring closer to 4 hours. The path starts out rather flat and becomes increasingly steeper as you go on. There are quite a few steps (276 flights according to an app on my phone) so be prepared for a proper butt workout haha! There are some stops along the way, however if you are traveling during the off season you will find that most of these shops are closed. Approximately 30 minutes from the top, and right before the steepest part of the climb, you will come across a small shop selling snacks, water, coffee, and tea.
While hiking during the rainy season does mean that rain is more likely, it also means that you will find far fewer hikers on the trail. Unfortunately it also means that the temple on the top will not be open, however the incredible sunrise views more than make up for it. For the most part the trail is well marked, as you follow along one path, however you will come to a fork in the road early on in the trail. When you come to the fork make sure to take the left path.