Hike Ella Rock for its Incredible Views of the Hill Country
Ella Rock is the second most famous hike in Ella (right after its easier brother Little Adam’s Peak). The trail is not as busy as other hikes in the area as it’s harder to reach. If you are up for a bigger challenge, love hiking and are in a good shape, this is perfect half day adventure for you. Plus, at the end of the walk you will be rewarded with some of the best views of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country!
Finding the beginning of the path
The path to Ella Rock is not marked. Make sure to read on carefully and take notes (or screenshots) to get the right directions. Otherwise, for a small fee one of the local guides can take you to the top. Remember that Ella Rock is still a popular hike. You might encounter few other adventurers on your way.
The path to Ella Rock starts at Ella Railway station. It might be the first time ever you will be on a train station not to board a train. Instead you’ll pass the entry way, turn left and walk on the tracks! That’s right, big part of the way leading to Ella Rock is on train tracks. Do not forget that the trains still operate and pass there multiple times a day. But don’t worry: as they don’t ride fast, you will have enough time to move aside when hearing it coming- please stay safe. ?
The tracks will guide you for about 30-40 min. You’ll pass a metal bridge and see the breathtaking scenery on your left. Watch out for the monkeys playing around: they like to steal little loose objects like sunglasses or hats.
Walk past the Kithaela train station. Ignore any other road signs (like the one with a small Buddha statue) right after the station.
The Turning Point
After 5-10 minutes look out for a blue mark on a rock indicating “Ella Rock”, but be aware that it might be covered or faded. The best is just to look out for a u-turn behind a rock wall on the left side on the tracks. It’s most crucial that you turn here.
Cross a small bridge and follow the path. Once the road splits left and right, take the path on the left. Continue walking through the high grass. Soon the road will start elevating a bit and you will reach the mid-way viewing point. Take a break as the hardest part is just in front of you.
All the Way to the Top!
From here the way it’s pretty straight forward- all the way up the mountain until you reach the top of Ella Rock! This part requires some bouldering. You will get a nice leg and butt work out.
We met a french family climbing Ella Rock at the same time. The mum was holding a hand of 5-6 year old girl, while dad carried a hiking child carrier with 3 year old boy. Together with the backpack it weighted 18 kg. And he was bouldering the same speed as we did. And faster than most of the other tourists. Should we say this hike can be done by anyone? Probably but kudos to this family anyways. ???
Once on the top, take your time to enjoy the astonishing views. On a clear day you can see kilometres in the distance. The mountain drop in front is truly impressive.
↬ TIP : There are locals selling refreshing coconuts on top of Ella Rock. Carry a metal straw if you’d like to get one.
When to hike
The Ella Rock hike can be done year round. However, we do not recommend doing it during a heavy rain. The way up towards the end it’s pretty hard to climb. During the rain the sand and stones could collapse and slide.
What to bring
- You must wear comfortable, sport shoes for this trail. Hiking boots are recommend, but you will be fine wearing good sneakers. Pack a light rainy coats and do not forget a hat.
- Take plenty of water. Or even better carry a Grayl Bottle with you. There are multiple fresh water sources on the trail. You should have at least 1,5 l of water per person for this hike. Taking your Grayl Bottle will save you from carrying all the extra weight. You refuel the bottle as you go.
- Also make sure that your camera is charged and has enough memory. You will take some amazing pictures along the hike.