Perched at 2000 metres above sea level, sits the strikingly beautiful rolling meadows of Horton Plains National Park. A plateau swathed in mist with a delicate ecosystem is this grassland spanning over 3169 hectares. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the national park is gifted with a diverse range of attractions of nature, be it cascading waterfalls, rich biodiversity, the dramatic cliff or majestic mountains. The park houses a camping site for the adventurous.
Horton Plains is home to the second tallest mountain of Sri Lanka, the Kirigalpoththa Mountain which towers at 2388 metres. It is the tallest mountain that the public can access and it can be reached en route a separate trail in the park. This trail yields stunning views of the hilly plains with dreamlike stands of cloud forest with their differential characteristic of keena trees that look like umbrellas, covered with mist. The other trails are bordered with a number of noteworthy attractions in the plains such as Baker’s Falls which is one marvel visited often by locals and tourists. This falls is 20 metres in height, enclosed by mammoth ferns and the water streams down a large rock formation creating a halo-like mist.
By luck, you could also catch a glimpse of the purple faced monkey which inhabits in the trees.
The major highlight of the park is by no doubt the World’s End. A plunging cliff with a sharp drop of 880 metres located at the southern edge of the park. On a clear day, you can soak in the idyllic views of all parts of this tiny paradise island, be it the many villages dotted over the hills or the coastline in the South of Sri Lanka. The journey to the World’s End will take approximately 3 hours. The best time to reach the edge before the mist hinders the view is before 9am.
Horton Plains is also an excellent destination for bird watching. The biodiversity of Horton Plains makes it an excellent place to see endemics such as the dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka bush warbler, Sri Lanka whistling thrush and the pretty yellow-eared bulbul. There are species of wildlife apart from birds that can be seen in the park and the plains, ranging from various types of butterflies, as well as Sambar deer, wild boar, wild hare, leopards and giant squirrels. A vast area that has got plenty of flora including wildflowers and trees, plants that add to the beauty of Horton Plains.