Ella Rock – hike through highland hamlets
By Arundathie Abeysinghe
A jagged peak with an abrupt drop… Spectacular views of Ella Gap and epic vistas of the valley below… Paths through a railway line and bridges… Hike through vegetable plots… Views of trains on the up country line from the summit of the Rock …
Situated about five kilometers from Ella town, this dramatic peak is a popular excursion among local and foreign tourists. Optically interesting Ella Rock is a gorgeous cliff face rising high above Ella.
The hike to Ella Rock is approximately a 10 kilometer round trip through mesmerizing woodlands, rubber plantations and verdant tea plantations of Ella, a serene hamlet in Central Highlands. The trek to the Rock can be completed within five hours with one hour for relaxing and basking in the glory of the verdant vistas including photo sessions of spectacular panorama.
According to some foreign tourists, the short trek through huge pine trees is similar to a hike through Bavarian or North American forests.
The winding rugged path to the summit of the rock with towering trees, endemic fauna and flora, dangling vines displays a fairy tale atmosphere. Many local and foreign tourists consider the hike to Ella Rock confusing, taxing but rewarding with breathtaking vistas along the trek as well as on the summit.
In certain places, the trek may be strenuous, yet the trail is through eucalyptus forests, banana or avocado plantations and vegetable plots rendering a rural atmosphere with a good breeze in a serene environment. The trek to Ella Rock is a good opportunity to see and experience hill country rural life; an insight into the lifestyle of villagers, farming technology, mostly conventional methods of farming in this picturesque mountainous region.
Ella Rock hike is a good excursion with spectacular views of *Badulla Valley and Central Highlands.
The hike to the Rock offers amazing vistas and there are many local and foreign tourists climbing to the summit or climbing down from the summit. The last stretch of the hike to the Rock is strenuous yet the arduous climb is easily forgotten with marvelous vistas from the summit. The sunrise and sunset views from the summit are amazing. Hence, it is better to climb the Rock early in the morning or late afternoon to enjoy the mesmerizing panorama.
Many tourists start the climb early in the morning to view the sunrise and have breakfast while enjoying surreal views all round.
The hike to Ella Rock can be commenced from Ella Town. Although, there are many routes to climb it with some routes leading through private lands and vegetable plots, the easiest route is through *Kithalella Railway Station.
As railway tracks in the hill country are multi-functional serving as conventional train tracks as well as walking routes for humans and animals, it is better to check the train time from railway stations before commencing the trek, although there are places to stand till the train passes, except on bridges along the track.
- Badulla – Situated in lower central hills, Badulla is the capital city of *Uva Province and Badulla District.
- Kithalella Railway Station – The station situated between Ella and Heel Oya Railway Stations on the up country railway line.
- Uva Province – This is the fourth largest province in Sri Lanka bordered by Central, Eastern and Southern provinces.