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Horton Plains National Park (World's End)

Arugam BayHorton Plains National Park, a popular tourist destination in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, is situated 165 km from capital Colombo.

The Park, undoubtedly one of the world's best nature reserves, is placed on a gently rolling highland plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300m (6,900–7,500 ft) with an expanse of misty grassland, rare & beautiful plants and ice cold streams. It is rich in biodiversity and many species found there are endemic to the region.

The plans also feature many interesting attractions such as "Bakers" falls, Chimmni Pool and famous " world's end" -a 3 700 ft sheer drop that offers fabulous views of the tea estates below and all the way out to the distant southern coastline.

Out of the variety of geological features of Horton Plains such as hillocks, streams, waterfalls, which compose into a picturesque surrounding, the most dramatic is `World's End, where the plateau comes to an abrupt end and drops nearly 1000 m vertically.

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Most significant feature of the fauna and flora of Horton Plains is its high endemism. The grassy plains, which are interspersed with patches of evergreen montane cloud forests, are home to Leopards, Sambur deer, Bear-monkeys and a rich array of birds, including number of endemic species.

The Plains is the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe and are cradled Sri Lanka's second and third highest peaks, Kirigalpotta (2,395m) and Thotupola Kanda (2,357m)

The best way to explore the park is on foot, preferably from early morning as the mist often falls by lunchtime. Visitors walk the trek; the total length is around 7 km.

More about Horton Plains

Flora and fauna of Horton Plains

Horton Plains is well recognized for its rich biodiversity. About 5% of the species of flora found here are endemic to Sri Lanka. The Plateau supports grasslands fringed and interspersed with patches of dense montane cloud forest. The forest canopy grows to about 20m and is dominated by the endemic Keena (Calophyllum walker). The tree fern Maha Meewana dots the forest openings. Binara and Nelu are endemic and have beautiful flowers. Bivitiya is another plant with strikingly pretty flowers. The main grass species of the patina are Tuttiri. Rhododendron arboretum is now common on the plateau, which has spread to Sri Lanka via the Western Ghats and mountains of the Southern India from Himalayas. These flowers bloom every 14 years and then the plant dies off.


A century ago, Horton Plains was rich with elephants though, sadly, British hunters shot them to near-extinction; however signs of a small population of elephants in the Peak Wilderness area are still evident. Now the park is frequented by Sambar Deer and due to their large numbers the population of the Leopard also has increased. Wild Boar, the endemic Bear Monkey and Toque Monkey, Slender Loris, Fishing cat, Otter, Barking deer, Strip-necked Mongoose, Long-tailed Giant Squirrel are some of the other mammals found here.


All of the highland endemics are found in Horton Plains. A birdwatcher must visit Horton Plains to complete the list of endemics in Sri Lanka. Some of the highlights here include Sri Lanka Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka White-eye, Spot-winged Thrush, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Scaly Thrush, Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Brown-capped Babbler, Sri Lanka Spur-fowl and Sri Lanka Jungle-fowl. Other highlights are the Himalayan migrants Pied Thrush, Kashmir Flycather & Indian Pitta. Black Bird, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Black Eagle, Jerdon's Baza, Pied Bushchat, Hill Swallow and Hill Munia.


Some highland butterflies seen here include the Indian Red Admiral, Common, Tamil & Ceylon Tree brown, Common Jay and Indian Fritillary.

Amphibians & Reptiles

There are some endemic Lizards and amphibians found in these highlands as well. The Rhino Horned Lizard, Painted Lip Lizard are among them.

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