Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. And covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau, at an altitude 2100-2300 meters (6900 - 7500 ft) is rich in biodiversity. Above all many species found here are endemic. Horton Plains elevated as a national park in 1988 and named as a World Heritage site in 2010. Further, it is one of the most visited national parks in Sri Lanka. And located 32 kms from Nuwara Eliya and 8 kms from Ohiya.
The Horton Plains Forest covers an extent of an around 3160ha. The plains' vegetation is grasslands (2000ha) scattered with montane forest (1160ha), and includes many wood plant species. Large herds of Sri Lankan Sambar deer and Sri Lankan Leopard feature as typical mammals. Similarly, the park is also an important Bird Area. Further, many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restrict to the Horton Plains. Such as Ceylon White Eye, Yellow Eared Bulbul, Ceylon Whistling Thrush, Sri Lankan Bush Warbler and Dull Blue Flycatcher. Horton Plains is home to 87 bird species, 24 mammal species, 9 reptile species and 8 species of amphibians.
More About Horton Plains....
750 species of plants belong to 20 families identified from the park. The forest canopy reaches the height of 20 meters (66 ft.). Nearly 54 woody plant species already documented from the park, of which 27 (50%) are endemic to Sri Lanka. The mean annual rainfall is greater than 2,150 millimeters. Frequent cloudy cover limits the amount of sunlight that is available to plants. The mean annual temperature is 15 °C. But the temperature varies considerably during the day. Even reaching as high as 27 °C during the day, and dipping as low as 5 °C at night. During the South-West Monsoon season (May to September), the wind speed sometimes reaches gale force. The driest months are January and February, when ground frosts are common at night.
Many pools and waterfalls seen in the park. And Horton plains considered the most important watershed in Sri Lanka. The Horton Plains are the headwaters of important rivers such as the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. The plains also feed Belihul Oya, Agra Oya, Kiriketi Oya, Uma Oya, and Bogawantalawa Oya. Due to its high elevation, fog and cloud deposit a considerable amount of moisture on the land. Slow moving streams, swamps, and waterfalls are the important wetland habitats of the park.
Available nature trails
- Horton Plains Nature Trail – 8 K.M loop trail – Attractions – Mini Worlds End, World’s End, Bakers fall, endemic bird species, endemic lizard species
- Kirigalpoththa peak trail – Already mentioned in our hiking trail section
- Thotupola peak trail – 3rd highest peak in Sri Lanka. One of the easiest trail in Sri Lanka which is only 2km
- December to April is the best period to visit Horton Plains
- July and August also recommended.