Adam’s Peak: Everything you need to know

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(Last updated on: 27/01/2022)

Nature is truly remarkable – and it’s no wonder that people flock from around the world to see certain destinations. Adam’s Peak is no exception to that. Here’s everything you need to know if it’s on your bucket list!

What is Adam’s Peak?

Adam’s Peak is a mountain in Sri Lanka. It is a conical mountain, standing at 2,243 metres (7,359 feet) tall, and famous for Sri Prada. This roughly translates to ‘sacred footprint’, and is located near the summit. It is a 1.8 meter (5 ft 11 in) rock formation that is important to various religious.

In Buddhism, Sri Prada is said to be the footprint of the Buddha. Within Hinduism, it is said to be the footprint of Hanuman or Shiva. And in some Christian and Islam traditions it is known as Adam’s footprint, or that of St. Thomas. Sri Prada was first mentioned in the 4th century: there is note of it in the earliest Pali chronicle, known as the Deepawamsa.

Watch the sunrise over Adam’s Peak.

Adam’s Peak is a holy site. Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims visit it as a pilgrimage site – especially Buddhists. There are thousands of steps, and the journey takes a good few hours at least. April is peak pilgrimage season at Adam’s Peak!

Where is Adam’s Peak?

Adam’s Peak is located in central Sri Lanka and makes a great addition to any Sri Lanka travel itinerary. It is in the province of Sabaragamuwa, around 140 km away from Colombo. The nearest city to the mountain is Hatton, around 31 km away.

Adam's Peak

Various airlines fly to Sri Lanka from various cities and countries. From the UK, Europe and the US these tend to be indirect flights, stopping in Dubai and Chennai. The most popular routes will take you to Colombo, Kandy and Hambantota.

Getting to Adam’s Peak isn’t too difficult. You want to head to Hatton first and foremost, which you can do via train. It takes around 5-7 hours to reach Hatton via train from Colombo; there are various trains from Fort Station to Hatton Station, and they cost less than £5 GBP. Kandy to Hatton is a much shorter journey at around two-three hours; there are a couple of different routes, including overnight trains, and these journeys cost the equivalent of £1-2.

Once you’re in Hatton – an incredibly picturesque area with waterfalls, reservoirs, rivers and more – you can head to Adam’s Peak! It is best to arrange accommodation in Hatton for a day or so, as it is around 2 hours by car to the mountain itself. This costs around £25 in a taxi, of which there are plenty. Alternatively you can get the bus to the nearby village of Dalhousie, where you can stay before your hike if you want to be super close to the mountain and start your hike early. 

TIP: this bus ride takes around 1.5 hours, and will set you back less than a pound. For a slightly more authentic experience you can get a tuk-tuk which takes around an hour, although this costs in the region of £7-10 GBP.

Climbing Adam’s Peak

The best time to climb Adam’s Peak is between December and May, as it can get pretty rainy in the area. Add to this thick mist and strong winds, and you don’t want to be scaling a mountain!

The climb takes around 5-7 hours, and is classed as ‘easy to moderate’ in terms of how difficult it is. Guides are readily available in the village of Dalhousie, costing around the £10 mark, though you likely won’t need one if you’re in a big group and climbing during the day. Solo climbers and those planning night hikes might benefit from a guide, however! There are various guided tours available in case you would rather someone else take care of the whole thing, too.

Locals climb the peak on Saturdays and Sundays – this is when you will meet a lot of pilgrims. If you are hoping for a quieter hike, choose mid week. It is extremely cold at the top of Adam’s Peak, so take warm clothes or plenty of layers with you in preparation! And be warned: during off season, there are leeches around!

There are six routes used to climb Adam’s Peak. The most popular is the Hatton Route, from Dalhousie, which takes around three hours. It is 5 km (one way) and involves 5,500 uneven steps. The Ratnapura-Palabaddala route, often just referred to as Palabaddala, is another more popular route for climbing Adam’s Peak. The Kuruwita-Erathna trail is another well-used route, but the remaining three – Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda – are very rarely used.

TIP: one of the best ways to climb Adam’s Peak is to ascend via the Hatton route, and descend via the Palabaddala route. That way you can a fantastic view both ways!

Many people start to climb Adam’s Peak at some point between 11pm and 2am, meaning they get to watch the sunrise at the peak surrounded by pilgrims and other travellers.

Staying in Dalhousie

There are plenty of hotels, hostels and other accommodation options in Dalhousie for those planning to climb Adam’s Peak. For example, Green View Guest Inn offers free WiFi, 24 hour check-in, an Asian or American breakfast and a comfortable place to rest before and after hiking. There are budget and more luxury options, and most places available in the area have stunning mountain views!

You will also be able to find plenty of hostels in the area if you are on a backpacking trip. These don’t even have to be booked in advance a lot of the time, so if you decide you really want to climb up Adam’s Peak then you should be absolutely fine to do so.

Adam’s Peak is a beautiful and important place in Sri Lanka – having the opportunity to climb up to its peak alongside pilgrims from various religions is incredible! Hopefully this information has given you a better starting point if you are planning a hike, too.

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