The Knuckles Mountain Range lies in central Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matale and Kandy. The range takes its name from a series of recumbent folds and peaks in the west of the massif. Because of which resembles the knuckles of clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy District. Early British surveyors assigned the the name Knuckles. However, the Sinhalese residents have traditionally referred to the area as Dumbara Kanduvetiya meaning mist-laden mountain range.
Knuckles Mountain Forest Range covering an area of approximately 21,000 hectares. Also a part of the Central Highlands World Heritage site, declared in 2010. Further, it bears the superiority of 35 peaks over 1000 m above sea level. And also 20 peaks over 1500m above sea level. Though it is a part of Central Highlands it is well separated by Mahaweli river valley from South and east. Similarly, by Matale valley from the west.
Knuckles Forest consists of a range of vegetation types that have resulted from diverse climatic and topographic conditions. Among these are the humid tropical lowland semi evergreen forest, tropical sub-montane humid evergreen forest, montane grassland (patana) and pygmy forest. The complexity brought to the area with vegetation types is further increased by range of landscape modifications by people. Specially, since the British colonization.
Knuckles Mountain Forest Range supports a rich biological diversity. Along with 128 species of birds and 31 mammal species. As well as 20 species of amphibians, 53 species of reptiles, 15 fresh water species. All species are not equally distributed throughout the range. Their distribution depends on multiple factors. Such as food availability, availability of nesting sites etc. that vary with climate, elevation and land cover.
- To access the Knuckles peak (1864 M) there will be two main trails. Both trails from Kandy District – Bambarella trail and Thangappuwa trail.
- Apart from above mentioned two trails there are many trails which can use to reach other peaks in the range. Trails like Manigala, Riverston, Pitawala pathana, Dumbanagala, Dotalugala etc.. are available for exploration.
Via Thangappuwa trail:
- Knuckles peak hike – 620m elevation gain, 16 K.M (total length of the trek), Difficulty level – Moderate to high.
- Waterfall hike – Kota Ganga waterfall hike in the Knuckles range – 365m elevation gain, 11 K.M (total length of the trek), Difficulty level – Moderate.
- December to April is the best time to do the Knuckles hike.
- July and August also recommended.
- Up to date first aid, qualified medical officer, adequate refreshments, pack lunch, back up vehicle for emergency transport, tour guide and helper will provide for the hike.