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Trekking in the Knuckles Range in Sri Lanka

Untouched UNESCO World Heritage site is indeed a trekker's paradise

Best time: December–August

Trekking in the Knuckles Range
Trekking in the Knuckles Range
Trekking in the Knuckles Range
Trekking in the Knuckles Range
Trekking in the Knuckles Range

The Knuckles Range is one of the greatest natural treasures within the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, inscribed on the World Heritage List. The diverse terrain of mountains, grasslands, and powerful waterfalls make Knuckles range one of the best trekking sites on the island. This is a virgin zone of amazing nature and biodiversity, which offers up to 40 km of trails that can be covered in three days.

The most popular routes include World’s End, a trail from Deanston to Dothalugala, a trail to Nitro Caves or Augallena Cave, and a trail to Kalupahana.

The Knuckles Range has 34 mountain peaks ranging from 900 to 1900 meters in height. Five highest mountain peaks resemble the shape of a clenched fist, that's why the British administration named it Knuckles.

June to August is the driest period here, presenting the best opportunity for trekking. December to May have relatively low possibility of rain, so winter and spring could work too. September to November is the wettest time when hiking should be avoided due to bad weather and irritating leeches. Even during the dry period, a thick fog hangs low around the peaks.

Practical info

When is the best time to go trekking in Knuckles Range?

Trekking in Knuckles Range is best during the driest season from June to August, while the period from December to May also offers an alternative option. The wettest season is from September to November and should be avoided. Rain is possible during the December to May season but can still be a good time for trekking. Show more

Where are the most popular trails located in Knuckles Range?

The trails in Knuckles Range are well-known for their stunning views, and hikers can choose from trails, including Nitro Caves/Augallena Cave, World's End, Deanston to Dothalugala, and Kalupahana. These trails provide a total of approximately 40 km in length and run amid forests, paddy fields, and waterfalls, offering plenty of opportunities to explore the exquisite variety of flora and fauna. Show more

What is the length of each trail in Knuckles Range?

The trails in the Knuckles Range offer a total hiking distance of 40 km. Each trail varies in length from 6 to 20 km, taking a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 8 hours to complete. The total duration of the hike may also depend on personal fitness levels. Show more

Is it possible to spot wildlife during the trek?

The Knuckles Range trek is home to a range of animals, such as deer, leopards, monkeys, and birds. The chances of sighting animals depend on several environmental factors, including the time of day, weather, and season. While it is not guaranteed, it is still common to see wildlife during the trek in Knuckles Range. Show more

Are there any safety precautions to take care of while trekking in Knuckles Range?

During the trek in Knuckles Range, visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety. In particular, wearing full-length pants tucked inside socks is a good way to prevent leeches from attaching themselves. Carrying enough water to remain hydrated and wearing appropriate clothing and footwear is also highly recommended. To ensure safety and compliance with local regulations, hikers are encouraged to trek with a licensed guide. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych