Alagalla Mountain Range
Tracing the borders of Sri Lanka’s Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, the Alagalla Mountain Range rises and falls across a landscape of tea plantations and forests dotted with villages. Keen walkers can explore the lower hills, but the prize for seasoned hikers is Alagalla Mountain itself. The two trails wind toward the summit before finishing with a fairly steep rock climb at the top. From the peak, hikers are rewarded with spectacular views over Sri Lanka’s upcountry that stretch as far as Kandy to the east. Hikers either camp at the summit or absorb the views for a while before descending, often by the other route.
Things to Know Before You Go
Climbing Alagalla is advisable only for expert hikers with high levels of fitness.
Allow a day to reach and return from the summit if you’re not camping overnight.
Always hike in a group for safety.
Be sure to carry sunblock, water, and energy-sustaining snacks.
Wear walking boots and take a waterproof jacket and hiking rope just in case.
Be prepared for a tricky climb up through rocks to the summit.
How to Get There
The easiest route up Alagalla Mountain is from Pilimathalawa—reachable by train from Colombo—and then on foot through Pilimathalawa’s Poththapitiya Tea Factory to join the main trailhead. For a more challenging ascent, opt for the route that leaves from Ihala Kotte (Gangoda) railway station. Trains service Ihala Kotte from Colombo and Kandy.
When to Get There
Avoid hiking up Alagalla during Sri Lanka’s rainy seasons of May–June and October–November as the paths get very slippery after rainfall. For safety, schedule the trip for a day that’s forecasted to be sunny and aim to start on your chosen trail as early as possible in the morning.
Tips for Hiking Alagalla Mountain
Leeches are common in Sri Lanka’s forests, especially after rain, so it’s wise to use proper leech protection to ward off these small bloodsuckers. Wear a pair of leech socks that cover your lower legs up to the knee, or apply repellent to your legs, shoes, and socks.
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