A Guide to Hiking In Sri Lanka – Balathuduwa , Gonmolliyakanda

The Central Plains of Sri Lanka, The Most Beautiful part of the island. The magnificent natural beauty it holds not that easy to witness. You have to get into the wilderness and explore. This is one of the best hiking adventures you can take in Sri Lanka. If you are Hiking Enthusiastic and looking to explore the country all by your self. This is the best place for you. Wangdigala, Balathuduwa, Gonmolliya Mountains peak is challenging, but still its worthwhile. Gonmolliya Moutain is the 13th highest mountain of Sri Lanka. The Balathuduwa Mountain is the 14th highest peak of Sri Lanka. And these three mountain peaks are in the same mountain range. If you are up for this challenge, you’ll get to pass three mountain peaks and one night at the summit of the mountain.

Keep in Mind

  • The hike to Gonmolliya, Wangedigala & Balathuduwa is a bit hard. The total length of the trip is around 20km+. So if you have an issue with mobility or health condition you may want to consider again about taking this trip.
  • The Road to the peaks is hard and rocky. Make sure to bring suitable hiking shoes.
  • Finding water in the mountain range can be challenging. In fact, in the dry season, there is no water source in the mountain range. So you need to bring all you need. 
  • In Dry season you can do camping at the mountain top 
  • In Dry season, you can camp with sleeping bags, But most of the time of year you need to bring a tent. Make sure to bring a camping tent suitable for high winds. 
  • Be prepared for leeches 
  • Finding directions can be difficult so I recommend you to get a tour guide. Please contact the Sri Lankan Vibez team for more information.
  • This hiking trail is along the montane grasslands. Be careful with the fire. Do not leave anything behind.

What is the best time of year to hike Gonmolli Mountain? 

The Best time of the year is between April and September. Rainfall is very low at this time of the year. But The Sudden weather changes are pretty common in this area.So be prepared for anything. In Other months heavy rainfall can be expected due to the monsoon seasons. The Temperature is around 25°C. Don’t forget to bring a cap and sunglasses.

How to get to the Balathuduwa Mountains? 

If you are starting from Colombo you need to take the 99-bus route and take a bus to Belihuloya. And before Belihuloya town you need to get off from the bus at the place called “Double bridge”. From the double bridge, there is a trail to the left side to enter the mountain range. The trail is small and narrow. You need to follow the trail to the mountain top. It is advisable to get a tour guide otherwise the trail will be difficult to find. 

Gonmollikanda, Balathuduwa Hike Overview

The Trail Run through montane grassland and cloud forests. As you climb up you will see cloudy forest slowly turns in to a grassland. This is due to the heavy wind of the peaks. Large tall trees can’t withstand this strong wind. So the plants on the plain have adapted to these weather conditions. This area of Sri Lanka considered super-hotspot within the endemic hotspots with global impotence. most The mountain terrain is beautiful and stunning. From the distance, you will see two waterfalls. One of them is Bambarakanda falls. The tallest waterfall of Sri Lanka. Follow this article if you want to read more.

Bambarakanda Falls From Distance – Along the way to Gonmolliyakanda

Wangedigala 

After 2-3 hours of following the trail, you will reach the first mountain peak of the hike. This Peak called Wangedigala Kanda. From there you need to keep waking up into the mountain until you reach Wangedigala. After you reached Wangedigala you will see a small open area and if you want you can camp here or keep walking toward the jungle. You will find a trail to the right side and take it up to the next peak.

Balathuduwa 

The next peak is the Balathuduwa peak and this is the best place of the trip. You can easily recognize the peak from the distance from the Sri Lankan Flag on the summit. The 360 view from the Balathuduwa peak is amazing. From your left you will see the Bambarakanda falls, Horton Plains and Worlds end. From you will also see the whole valley below. At Balathuduwa peak you will find small open area enough to set up a camp.

Bambarakanda Falls From Distance – Along the way to Gonmolliyakanda

Gonmolliyakanda 

From Balathuduwa peak you need to hike about 2 km to reach Gonmolliyakanda peak. People called it Gonmolliya because it looks like the hump of a bull. The view from the peak is amazing. From North you will see worlds end, From the northwest side, you will see bakers bend and Nanperial tea states. From North-East you will see mini worlds end. Even though the view is great, you won’t able to camp top of the peak because of the limited space and heavy winds at the summit. So I advise you to cam to Balathuduwa peak and you can just visit this peak and come back before nightfall to the Balathuduwa peak.

Camping At Balathuduwa Peak. 

The view from there is amazing and breathtaking. The only thing you will here at this place is the sound of the wind. Mostly you will feel you are above the clouds. When the dusk falls, the view of the setting sun is amazing. I can’t explain it with words. But the photographs below will explain it very well. 

You can set up a camp at Balathuduwa Peak. Be prepared for the heavy wind. And tighten the tend to the ground properly. Use counterweights if you have to. You can fire small campfire. You will be able to find some dried tree branches from the top. But Sometimes it could be wet and not suitable for a campfire due to the humidity of the area. So the best thing you can do is collect good firewood along the way. Be Extremely Careful with the fire. Because you are in montane grassland and you don’t want to accidentally fire up the whole mountain. you can spend the night here peacefully.

See If you can Spot these Flora and Fauna (Balathuduwa peak Animals and plants) 

In Sri Lanka above 1000m, the Climate and Ecosystem completely change.The lowland rain forests slowly transform into montane rain forests and grasslands. Owning their rich biodiversity and beauty, this region is considered the most important ecosystems of the world. More than 34% of endemic species present in these lands. Twisted, stunted trees covered with mosses and orchids give chill and excitement at the same time. Read More about Sri Lanka Eco-System Here. and Here

Rhinoceros-horned Lizard – “Kangamuwa Ankatussa” 

This Lizard Is Endemic to Sri Lanka and can easily identify with the striking horn. These creatures are widespread in the montane grasslands of central Sri Lanka. You will find plenty of These Slow-moving arboreal Species mostly found in Cypress trees one or two meters above the ground. These trees offer perfect cover to hunt small invertebrates on the ground. These beautiful creatures disappearing from the world due to habitat loss and urbanization.

Sri Lanka White Eye.

you can see this small bird all over the plains. I spotted one or two of them along the way. You can identify them easily with the white ring around their eye. The lores are dark and there is a dark streak below the eye. The chin, throat and upper breast are greenish-yellow as are the thighs and vent. The belly region is grayish-white. 

Blue stars – Aristea ecklonii

Native plant of southeastern Africa, South Africa, Uganda and Madagascar. Introduced to Sri Lanka and escaped from the Hakgala botanical garden and naturalized in patana lands and roadsides in only higher altitudes of Nuweraeliya district. Common around Hakgala and in patana lands of Horton plains. Flowers open early morning and close before noon.

Sri Lanka Sambar Deer 

This Large Mammal is Very Common Around the Central plains. Large males weigh up to 270–280 kg. Sambar deer lives in both lowland dry forests and mountain forests. Large herds of Sambar deer roam the Horton Plains National Park and central plains of this area, where it is the most common large mammal. We heard the calling of the Sambar deer couple of times after the dusk. We couldn’t see them. The Darkness and mist were too high. But you may get lucky to see them.

Nearby places to visit :

Horton Plains (20 km)

The Horton Plains National Park is One of Most Beautiful Views that You will get to experience on your visit to Sri Lanka. This beautiful Highland Plateau Filled with Unique Flora and Fauna that you will only see here. Also, Horton Plains is the highest plateau in Sri Lanka at 2300 meters from the sea level. The highest waterfall of Sri Lanka, Bambarakanda waterfall also located nearby to the Horton plains. As You walk through Plain, Plateau Suddenly Comes to a Stunning Escarpment that plunges 880m, Making it an excellent viewpoint. The walk to the world’s end viewpoint from the entrance of the Horton Plains is 4 Km long. The Road through the national park is an utterly spectacular route to follow.

Kirigalpotta mountain peak (35 km)

This is the 2nd highest mountain in Sri Lanka. Located near the same area of the Bambarakanda falls. If you are visiting Horton Plains, you can easily visit the Kirigalpoththa too. There is a track to Kirigalpoththa through the Horton plains park. We have a great article about Kirigalpotta here.  

Hope you will get to visit Bambarakanda Falls Some day. If you enjoy the place. Don’t forget to share and comment your thoughts.

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