Sri Lanka Tours & Travel Information

Horton Plains

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4.60 (1 votes)
Price: 30 USD
Contact Department of Wildlife Conservation
Udyana Mawatha, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte. Sri Lanka

Tel: +94 11 2 888585


Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.

Horton Plains National Park is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka of Nuwara Eliya District. It is positioned at the eastern boundaries of the Upper Montane Forest Range (1500m-2524m above sea level) of Central Highland of Sri Lanka. The plateau of Horton Plains which is at a nominal elevation of 2100 m also bears the 2nd and the 3rd highest peaks of Sri Lanka, namely Kirigalpoththa (2389m) and Totupolakanda(2357m). The area of the Horton Plains is 3160 ha. or 31.6 sq. km. and is about 8% of the total upper montane forests and grasslands of Sri Lanka. The rainwater of Horton Plains plateau is drained through tributaries to Mahaveli river to the North (through Uma Oya), Walawe river to the South (through Belihul Oya and Kiriketi Oya) and Kelani river to the West (through Bogawantalawa Oya). Horton Plains has an average rainfall figure of around 5000mm though the surrounding areas have an average of 2540mm. Horton Plains gets more rain from North West monsoon and throughout the year even the minimum rain fall per month for the area had been 100mm. The mean annual temperature for the area is about 13C . One can expect temperatures as high as 27C during day and 5C during nights. The distance to Horton Plains from Nuwara Eliya is 32 km.


Prior to the British rule in the country, this area was called Maha Eliya. Around 1820s the British came to know about this unique nature resource. It was later renamed as Horton Plains after the then British Governor Sir Robert Horton (Governor from 1832-1837). Sir Samuel Baker made this area popularised during his hunting encounters. Two other British planters, namely Tomas Farr and H.Anderson who had estates near to Horton Plains had lodges built to facilitate their hunting episodes .During the British era, this area was under protection from the Administration Order of 1873, which prohibited cutting of forests above the altitude of 5000 feet in the island. Horton Place received the status of a National Park on 16th March 1988. Prior to that from 5th Dec. 1969 it had been a Nature Reserve . The Central Highland of Sri Lanka, which Horton Plains National Park is a part of it, received the status of a " Mixed Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site" on 2nd August 2010


The vegetation of Horton Plains areas is partly of Upper Montane Rain Forests or a Cloud Forests and Wet Patana Grasslands. There are narrow transition zones called Ecotones in between the two, comprising of shrubs and herbs. The lower elevations of Horton Plains comprises with areas of Grasslands and hills of upper elevation with Cloud Forests.


Of the total area of Horton Plains, healthy Cloud Forests cover about 39% or 1236 ha. Cloud Forests that are identified as die -back covers about 30% of the area or about 956 ha. The transition area or the Ecotone comprises about 45 ha or 1.5% of total area. The Wet Grassland can mainly be divided into three categories that are Dwarf Bamboo, Tussock Grass and Carpet Grass. Dwarf Bamboo which is endemic to Sri Lanka grows only in the Horton Plains and covers an area of 168 ha or 5.4% of hp. 18.4% or 574 ha of area is under Tussock Grass, is native to the area. The 64 ha or 2% coverage of land is under Carpet grass which had encroached the abandoned Potato cultivated land, from the seedings came with manure for potato cultivation in between 1960-1977.


Around 188 varieties of Plant species had been identified at Horton Plains of which 63 are endemic to Sri Lanka. Though the lowland rain forests have much higher multifariousness of flora verities, Horton Plains is unique due to its scarcity ecosystem not to be found anywhere else in the island. The Forest area of Horton Plains has around 57 tree species belonging to 31 families. There are some 101 flowering plant species in these high altitudes out of which 14 are endemic .These flowering plants belongs to around 20 families of species. Overall there are about 188 Plant species,1 Fish specie,14 Amphibian species, 64 Bird species and 19 Mammal species at Horton Plains

Specific details

Opening Hours 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Best time to visit Year Around
Area 3,160 hectares (12.2 sq mi)
Campsites Available No
Jeep Safari Available No
Entrance Tickets Required Yes
Restaurant Available No
Local Guide Available Yes


Sri Lanka



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Super Trip

We went to the Horton Plains in January 2016. The park is nice you can see deers, waterfalls, en nice to track through the park. At the end a super view at World's End. (we are lucky no clouds) If you can try to start in the early morning..

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