Trail Difficulty: Easy | Moderate | Strenuous | Tough
Trail Head: Pandeniya River Crossing, Near Dikelikanda Village, Udamaliboda
Nearest Town: Deraniyagala Nearest City: Awissawella
Access to Trail head: Pandeniya River Crossing, Near Dikelikanda Village, Udamaliboda
Colombo -> Awissawella [58km on A4] -> Dehiowita [8km on A7] -> Deraniyagala [13km] -> Ihala-Maliboda (Tea Factory) [15km] -> Pandeniya river crossing, Near Dikelikanda Village, Udamaliboda [6km] (approximately 94km)
Roads are paved all the way up to the Ihala-Maliboda tea factory. From Ihala-Maliboda, most of the remaining 6km are paved but few unpaved sections make it only drivable with a vehicle with high ground clearance.
Reliable public transport is available only up to Deraniyagala. From Deraniyagala to Ihala-Maliboda busses are available but reliability and frequency in not great.
Account for 2hrs to reach the trail head from Dehiowita if driving and 4 hours if using public transport + on foot.
Trail End: Sripada (Adam's peak) Total Length: 12km
Elevation Gain: 1700m (Elevation at Trail Head: 555m | Elevation at Trail End: 2250m)
Approximate time: 8 – 12 hours
Hiking Season: Official Sri Pada season begins in December and ends in April. This is the period of best weather. Avoid long week-ends and full-moon days during this period unless you enjoy a crowded trail when you approach the summit J.
An off-season climb on this trail in not recommended unless you are an experienced adventure seeker. The first 8km of this trail goes through thick, remote forest and weather conditions during monsoon months can be extremely hazardous. Flash floods and clod weather are real threats when it rains hard.
Permit Required: NO
Deraniyagala – Ihala maliboda trail is one of the least traveled trails leading to Adam's peak. It is one of the toughest out of the trails leading to Sripada as well, simply because most of the trail is a though walk through the dense forest of peak wilderness sanctuary on a narrow footpath with rough underfoot conditions.
It also involves crossing several waterways, with the risk of flash floods. The first 8km is no where close to any human presence and this remoteness also adds to its difficulty.
Therefore it is not recommended to attempt this trail during off-season unless you really know what you are doing. Even during the season, one should be well prepared and most importantly, start early when attempting this trail.
The first 8km of the trail from Pandeniya River until it joins the Kuruwita Erathna trail is an overall ascend along the mountain side of "Heen Piduruthalawa" mountain. Therefore you have to walk uphill frequently but the steepness of the climb is generally moderate except for few occasional steep sections. Also ascend is not continuous. There are a plenty of flat sections as well as few brief descends along the way as you have to tackle contours in the slopes with ample water flow.
0 to 6.9km: As you cross the Pandeniya River at the trail head (Waypoint: UM01), you will have to climb up from the river bank to the broad, unmistakable trail inside the protected area. The trail moves slightly in to the forest, but continues to be along the river valley. With in the first 500m, underfoot conditions will fast change to a rough walk over roots, boulders on the wet forest floor with plenty of leeches welcoming you to this rough and tough terrain (Waypoint: UM03).
About 750m from the trail head, the trail will start moving away from the river valley (Waypoint: UM04). Up to about 1km from the trail head, it is an overall mild ascend with occasional ups and downs until a continuous ascend is encountered at around 1km form the trail head (Waypoint: UM05).
As you climb about 500m more, you reach a beautiful complex of streams cascading down to the river in the valley from the mountain side crossing the trail (Waypoint: UM07 & UM08). Crossing these streams, and after a brief flat section, the trail continue it's ascend with average steepness but continuously. Underfoot conditions are quite rough and the trail is now a narrow foot path.
The trail moves uphill in this fashion for the next 1.5km. The trail moves progressively away from the river in the valley as it moves both uphill and around the mountain side. Around 3km from the trail head, as the sound of the river completely disappear in the distance, you will encounter a section of steep ascend (Waypoint: UM12).
Once you tackle this steep section, you will again start to hear a stream in the valley below from distance (Waypoint: UM13). With in the next 200m the trail will climb up to this stream along the mountain side and cross it (Waypoint: UM14). After crossing the stream, and after another brief flat section, the trail goes back to its usual rhythm of moderate ascend on a narrow, rough forest trail and quickly move away from the stream. The short hard climbs become more infrequent and brief flat sections become more frequent. Overall it becomes bit easy to walk after passing the above stream compared to the section up to the stream. This state of the trail will remain for about 500m more after which you again have to tackle a steep ascend
which will last for about 200m and then you reach flat section of the trail. Around 4.8km from the trail head, you will start a steep continuous descend (Waypoint: UM17).
As you descend about 150m, the intensity of descend becomes less (Waypoint: UM18). The trail continues to climb down until you reach another stream (Waypoint: UM19).
After crossing the small stream, the trail will be a steep climb for a very brief section (Waypoint: UM20) and then become more or less flat. Overall it slowly descends to reach the valley of the upper reaches of "Kuru Ganga" river (Waypoint: UM26) in next 1.75km. This 1.75km is an overall mild descend but there is a mix of short ascends, longer flat walks and occasional sharp descends. You will also cross two small streams (Waypoints: UM23 & UM25) in this stretch.
6.9km to 8km: Once you reach the Kuru Ganga River (UM26), which is also called the "Seethagangula" or "Icy River" on this route, you should take a careful assessment of the water level of it. This is one of the rivers which have a very bad reputation of flash floods.
To continue the hike, you have to cross this river. The continuation of the trail on the opposite bank of the river is located about 25m upstream from UM26, the location where you reach the river (Waypoint: UM27).
The trail on the opposite bank will be mostly flat for the next 500m. There is a very mild ascend overall. The trail moves along the river bank and you will continuously hear the stream in the valley on your left hand side. This will continue until you reach a point where the trail splits in to two, with the left branch taking a sharp descend to the river and the right branch taking a sharp turn uphill and start moving away from the river (Waypoint: UM28).
After an intense climb for about 100m after the UM28, the trial will again become more or less flat (Waypoint: UM29) for another 200m after which you will encounter a some what continuous descend (Waypoint: UM30). With in the next 100m you will reach the Kuruwita Erathna Road (Waypoint: UM31).
8km to 12km: The next 1km along the Kuruwita trail will again be a continuous climb. The trail is broad now but the frequent boulders will make underfoot conditions difficult.
At about 9km from the trail head, you will reach a somewhat flat area with a large bed rock and a permanent resting place (Waypoint: UM32). This is called the "Idikatupana" or "GeththamPana". As the trail goes over this bed rock, take a look behind you. You will see an interesting landscape with a prominent square shape mountain in the backdrop seen over layers of trees. If you happen to be at this place in the late evening you will be able to witness a memorable sunset scene. There are few places in this section of the trail where you find this square spare mountain creating interesting compositions, the sunset scene at this place is the best out of all of them in my opinion.
Passing this point as you climb another 1km along the rough trail, you will reach the resting place called "Galwangediya" where the Rathnapura-Palabathgala Trail meets the Kuruwita – Erathna Trail, 10 km from the trail head (Waypoint: UM33)
There are few resting places in the next 100m from UM33. The last of this bunch situated at 100m from Galwangediya (Waypoint: UM34). This entire area is a high altitude plain and it's called "Haramitipana". From
"Heramitipana" Adam's peak rising like a pinnacle from the surrounding peaks can clearly be seen making it clear that from this location it is a single continues climb to the summit.
Passing "Haramitipana Plain" you have to tackle a somewhat intense and continuous climb on an irregular rocky trail for about 1.2km to reach the last permanent resting place before the summit which is called "Adiyamalathenna" (Waypoint: UM35)
From this point the steepest ascend of the trail has to be tacked. This section is called "Mahagiridamba" or "The Great Rock Climb". This entire 800m of length is a steep climb. The last 600m is so steep that the steps are continuously aided with steel bars on both sides. As you reach the summit it feels more like walking in the Sky as the steps are so steep.
12km from the trail head you reach the summit of Sri Pada which is the 5th highest and the most prominent peak in Sri Lanka (Waypoint: UM38).
Tips, Notes & special remarks
- Take extra care when crossing major streams. Chances of flash floods are quite high when it rains.
- The first 8 km of the trail is NOT lit-up even during Sripada season and therefore that section can only be tacked in daylight. If it gets dark before you reach Kuruwita Trail, spend the night in the forest and start in the morning. Wandering in the dark is a sure way to get lost.
- Except during the late months of Sripada season, the probability of rain is quite high. (Thunder storms during monsoon months May – July, Sep – Nov). Be prepared with a rain coat and water proofing for electronics such as cameras.
- Leaches will be there in hundreds in the first 8km up to Kuruwita Road.
- Unlike in other routes, there are no shops or even a single sign of human inhabitation for the first 8km, even during Sripada season.
- Drinking Water is plentiful. Water from streams is generally safe to drink without treatment.
- Make it a point to be at summit before sunrise to witness how the distinctive shape of the mountain casts a triangular shadow on the surrounding plain.
- The summit can be extremely windy & cold, be prepared if you plan to stay there for a considerable time.
- The best approach would be to start from the trial head early in the morning, reach "Galwangediya" or "Heramitipana" by the evening, spend the night there and climb up to the summit before the sunrise.
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|UM01 (Pandeniya River)||