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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for 9 Amazing Facts About Horton Plains, Sri Lanka – Discover the upcountry beauty of Sri Lanka
Joanna James Joanna James
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9 Amazing Facts About Horton Plains, Sri Lanka – Discover the upcountry beauty of Sri Lanka

Still an underrated destination, Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with natural attractions gracing every mile of the country. Horton Plains, a national park, attests to the country's natural beauty.


About Horton Plains

Straddling the central highlands of Sri Lanka, the area the park sits on was made a national park in 1988. Its varied landscape with montane grassland is what makes this an absolute geographical gem. The park is located about two hours from Scottish Planter, making for a journey laden with highland attractions like tea plantations and misty mountain tops. This is one of the most visited hiking trails in the upcountry, so you'll find many holiday bungalows in Nuwara Eliya positioned within easy reach of the park.



The original name of Horton Plains was Maha Eliya Thenna, a Sinhala name bearing the meaning 'wide open plain'. But during the British occupation of Sri Lanka, the name was changed to Horton Plains. The name was a tribute to Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton, who was the governor of Sri Lanka at the time. This area of Sri Lanka also has a historical association with King Rawana.


Size and status

Horton Plains National Park sits at an elevation of 2,100 metres and occupies an area of 3,169 hectares. On account of the number of animals and plant species that reside at the park was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



There are two categories of flora in the park: montane grasslands and montane evergreen forests. The park nurtures more than 700 species of plants, and the forest canopy reaches a height of 20 metres.



The park is home to a wide array of animals, including eighty-seven bird species, twenty-four mammal species, and eight types of amphibians. Most of these animal species are elusive, but you can count on the presence of samba deer. If you are lucky, you will also catch the sight of leopards. According to research, the park is home to about 2,000 samba deer, so keep your camera handy, but make sure you don't scare them away with your camera flash. Horton Plains also features several bird areas frequented by migrant and endemic birds.


Tourist attractions

Horton Plains is one of the most popular attractions visited by both locals and foreign tourists. The World's End hiking trail is the main drawcard for visitors. The World's End is a sheer drop of 870 metres, and there's also another similar drop not too far away from the World's End. Baker's Falls is another attraction that you should consider visiting during your trip to Horton Plains; the falls is the namesake of Sir Samuel Baker, who was a hunter and an explorer. With a height of 20 metres, Baker's Falls invites explorers of this age to revel in its scenery and master the many hiking trails that lead to the top of the falls.


Stone age tools

Sri Lanka is an island country with a long history, but unfortunately, most of these historical events were not recorded. But evidence of the country's history can be found everywhere, including Horton Plains Park. Archaeologists found numerous stone age tools that belonged to the Balangoda era.


Gem mining

Before the area was made a national park, locals used to reside here in the hopes of finding valuable gemstones. During the time the park was inhabited, locals would hike up to mountains to find gems and iron ore, and they also felled trees.


Unique rocks

Horton Plains is unique in so many ways. Its topography is one reason why the park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you look closely, you'll find rocks that don't belong to the modern era. Some of these rocks go back to the Archaean and Precambrian ages.