Horton Plains is located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, It is the highest plain located in Sri Lanka and the only sanctuary in the wet zone. Horton Plain is located 1200-2300 meters from sea level.
It’s abundant in biodiversity. This place was discovered by two British men called Captain William Pisher and Curnal Elbert Watson but after British governor Honorable Hortan traveled here it was named Horton Plains after that this plain was named a natural forest area in 1969. Horton Plain is the starting place of three main rivers in Sri Lanka namely, ‘Kelani, Mahaweli, and Walawe’.Many evidence of prehistoric humans has been found in this plain.
Geographical features of Horton plains
Hortan plains are located southern plateau of the central highlands in Sri Lanka from the road after passing Pattipola in Nuwara Eliya – Ambewela road. It’s 24 km from Nuwara Eliya town.The peaks of Kirigalpoththa and Thotupola Kanda the second and the third highest mountains in Srilanka also located in the Horton plains. The geological structure of the bedrock Horton Plains was formed during the Archaean Era (5000-2500 million years ago) and uplifted during the post-assassin times.
The climate of the plain is extremely wet and dry, Horton Plain lies at the eastern extremity of the wet zone and experiences a subtropical monsoon climate with an annual temperature of 15c and a mean annual rainfall of 2150 mm. The vegetation is Upper Montane rainforest and wet patana Grassland. Upper Montane forests are located on the hill slopes and upper slopes and grasslands occur on the lower slopes and in the valley. The park’s geography is a mix of forests, grasslands, and rocky outcrops.
Fauna and flora in Horton Plains
According to the research done in 1992, of 141 varieties of plants in Horton plains from them 49 varieties are endemic. From them, most are significant only to this plain. According to research Plant density per hectare in Horton Plain is 2.861.
The specialty in this plain area is mainly Dwarf forests that can be seen, the reason for this is the wind that’s an iconic seen. Every year beginning of June Horton Plain receives a wind of 30km per hour. Trees are normally 3-15m in height.
This Plain mainly in two parts,
1. Fallen lands
2. Tropical mountains with evergreen forests
Different types of flowers can be seen in this area,5% of them are endemic varieties. Nearly 750 species of plants belonging to 20 families have been recorded in the park. forming communities with varieties of Myrtaceae species such as Lauraceae
Dwarf bamboo species such as Indocalamus and Ochlandra are also found in the undergrowth layer. There are conflicting views on how the grasslands of the park came into being, whether man-made or natural. It is now believed that the grasslands on the dry slopes were created by forest clearance and fires while grasslands in low-lying areas were naturally created by wet conditions, frost, and soil erosion. Strobilanthes is the flower that level up the beauty of the place.
Horton plains special habitat of sambar deer,purple-faced langurs, and leopards are also abundant in Horton Plain. mainly two types of lizards, wild borers can seen in this plain area.in the ancient period, Horton Plain was a paradise of elephants but that treasure vanished because of British hunters. Killing elephants as a hobby destroyed thousands of elephants who lived in this area. Horton Plain is a wetland that consists of many water springs and varieties of fishes can seen in those places.
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Hiking Trails in Horton Plains
Hill Country in Sri Lanka means paradise for hikers all over the world. Because of the smooth weather and calm surroundings hiking is a great experience for people who love it.
The Horton Plains hike is a 10km loop. At some point around 5 minutes after the park entrance.
Mainly 6 places have been identified as trails in Horton Plain
#1 World’s End Trail
Horton Plains National Park means the world’s end. Arriving at daybreak in the morning mist, with the sunlight kissing the plains and spotting deer grazing silently in the long grass and with the low-hanging clouds, we just feel as stepped into a different country. World’s End is sheer with a drop of about 1200 meters and situated at an elevation of more than 2000 meters above sea level.
The best time to start the walk is early in the morning before 10. am. Chances are higher that clouds will part at the world’s end vantage points. temperature varies between 10 and 15 degrees maximum daily temperature in this area is 16 degrees centigrades.
Kirigalpotta is the 2nd highest mountain in Sri Lanka with a peak of 2,388 meters above sea level. This 7 km trail will take around 5 2/1 hours of hiking and mountaineering challenge. A single and slightly overgrown path snakes through grassy plains, cloud forests, bog, and finally steep rock surfaces.
#3 Thotupola Mountain
There is a 2 km trail to the top of the Thotupola mountain and it’s an easy hike from.
all these viewpoints are nice and iconic surroundings every human can feel.
The Hidden Gem in Horton Plains
Horton Plain is a creation of gods with many natural wonders, it consists of fauna flora, and even Waterfalls, Bakers Fall is the main among those. Baker’s Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls found here in Sri Lanka. Found nestled within the sprawling wilderness of the Horton Plains, a visit to the falls is an absolute must-do if you’re trekking across the plains en route to the famous World’s End cliff. Fall located likely 3 kilometers away from the entrance after u trekking you will come upon a trail called Baker’s Loop.
Ecotourism in Horton Plains
This place is worth place for visiting as a hiker photographer even a nature lover. This ecosystem highly protects areas from human activities. It is a model of sustainable tourism under the high supervision of the Forest Department of Sri Lanka. Horton Plain is a dream place for nature lovers who can experience the pack of natural gifts such as fauna, and flora birds whether they are walking through the grasslands, waterfalls, or water springs. As mentioned above there are many hiking trails such as Kirigalpoththa Thotupola Kanda and the whole Plain is a hiking trail.
This beautiful Ecosystem is a haven for photographers, especially wildlife photographers. The climate is calm throughout the year especially months from January to March is the best period to visit the place. It is a journey of 8km on foot from the entrance and to the World End for the whole circuit it’s nearly 9km. One can reach Horton Plains by main road or rail. The most common approach is by road either from the North via Pattipola or from the South via Ohiya. If coming by rail one can get down either at Pattipola or Ohiya and walk all the way or arrange some means of transport locally. No public transport is available along the road which runs through the National Park.
Tips for visitors to Horton Plains
- Dress Appropriately: Wear sturdy footwear as the terrain is rugged and uneven.
- Bring snacks and water: Throughout the walk, nearly 4-5 hours bring soft snacks and drinking water enough for the whole walk but remember to not feed animals and disturb them.
- Do not litter: The park is a trash-free zone visitors should be responsible for keeping the park clean and clear.
- Be prepared for Weather Changes: Weather can be unpredictable so it’s better to prepare for any weather change when traveling.
- Follow the park Rules: To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit always keep in mind to follow rules and regular.
Ticket prices in the Horton Plains
Horton Plain’s ticket counter is considered as
Adult – 12 years and above 12 years,
Children – 6 years and between 6 to 12 years
Toddler – below 6 years
- 1 foreign adult and local driver 43USD
- foreign adult and local driver 74USD3
- foreign adult and local driver 103USD
- 4 foreign adults and a local driver 132USD
- 5 foreign adults and local driver 162USD
- 6 foreign adults and local driver 192USD
- 7 foreign adults and local drivers 221USD
When you can buy Horton Plains tickets?
Buy a Horton Plains ticket at the entrance ticket counter You can buy a ticket at the Hotron Plains ticket counter. Ticket counter open time: 4.30 am Ticket counter close time: 5.30 pm Visiting Time: From 4.30 am to 7.00 pm.