There are plenty of fun things to do in Ella Sri Lanka. But for the ones who seek a little adventure and spectacular views, the hike up to the summit of Ella rock is a must do. The hike is free of charge and offers amazing views on the mountainous landscape of Ella and the so called Ella gap. The best time to do this hike is before sunrise so you’ll have the most chance of having clear views. In this blog post you will find all the details about the Ella Rock hike, directions and the best time to hike Ella Rock.

Book here your private guided sunrise hike to Ella rock

Best tours in and around Ella

If you’re planning to explore the best of what Ella has to offer, then these are the best guided tours. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

Where is Ella Rock

Ella Rock is located just a little outside of Ella town in the middle of Sri Lanka. The beautiful green mountains of Ella makes the Ella rock hike a must do while staying in Ella.

How long is Ella Rock hike

The total hike to Ella Rock and back to Ella town is 8 km long and takes 4 hours from start to finish. But schedule some more time for short stops and of course to admire the amazing view on the summit.

When to hike Ella Rock

The best time to start the hike is early morning because of several reasons. To beat the heat and to have the chance of a clear view and magical sunrise. But you have to be an early bird for that! If you want to see the sunrise you have to leave Ella town at 4AM. It’s best to have a headlamp so you don’t have to use your flashlight of your phone.


Navigation Ella Rock

Starting at the famous Ella train station, you have to follow the train rails going to Kandy for approximately 40 minutes until you arrive at Kithalella railway station. Be aware of the oncoming trains, or dogs ;), when walking on the train tracks! 


If you see a sign with Ella Rock / waterfall, ignore this sign and just keep walking! If locals try to lure you through this route, just thank them and keep walking along the track and past the train station. After 5-10 minutes, you have to look out for a rock marked with a blue arrow and a label which reads ‘Ella Rock’. Turn left at this juncture. The marking fades over time (and may even be covered with cement), so make a note that you have to turn left after waymarker 166 ½ but before waymarker 166 ¼. It is a very narrow path and you will see a bridge that crosses a waterfall. After this, you will pass a tomato plantation, long grass, tea plantations and you will pass the garden of some local Sri Lankan homes. You will then see a lower beautiful viewpoint and reach the forest of Eucalyptus trees where any path going up will take you to the top of Ella Rock. 


Do you need a local guide to hike Ella Rock?

If you are experienced with hiking and you can easily follow signs and feel safe, then you can hike Ella Rock by yourself or a group of friends. However, if you are planning to hike Ella rock with sunrise, then it might to be hard to find the path in the dark. So in that case it is much better to book this private guided tour up Ella rock. This will save you the hassle of finding the way and you will be sure to arrive in time to watch sunrise.

What to prepare for the Ella Rock hike

Good hiking shoes is a must as you don’t want to do this hike with flip flops or sandals. Also pack enough water, I would say at least 1.5 liter. If you’re going for a sunrise hike you also might want to take some light snacks with you.


Also be aware of leeches! Especially after it has rained. To prepare yourself you can wear socks and a tight legging. But if you do find a leech attached to your skin, don’t pull it off, as the mouth parts can remain under your skin. Just remember that leeches aren’t poisonous and they don’t carry diseases, so don’t panic when you find one. Leeches are usually quite easy to remove and won’t cause any long-term harm. The best option to remove a leech is to use something flat, like a creditcard for example, and slide it under the leech to break the seal, at which point the leech will detach its tiny jaws. There are other options mentioned to remove a leech by Sri Lankan locals or on the internet. Like using salt, alcohol, DEET or lemon juice so the leech will fall off by itself. But this is not the best and safest option because the leech will detach itself quickly, but it’s also likely to leave some of the contents of its stomach into the wound in its haste. This might increase the risk of the wound becoming infected.


More things to do Ella

We hope you enjoyed our complete guide for the Ella rock hike. Of course there are many more fun things to do in Ella Sri Lanka. Some of the things you can’t miss is visiting the Nine Arches bridge. And if you’re into another hike, you can’t miss hiking to the summit of Little Adams Peak which is a bit shorter than Ella Rock.

For more Sri Lanka travel inspiration, head over to our other Sri Lanka travel blogs.

20 best places to visit in Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

11 best Sri Lanka beaches – The Ultimate Guide

14 best waterfalls in Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

Best things to do in Nuwara Eliya – The Ultimate Guide

Nine Arch bridge Ella – The Complete Guide

Sigiriya best things to do

Best things to do in Trincomalee

Pidurangala rock – The Complete Guide

Lion Rock hike – The Complete Guide

Sri Lanka Safari – The Ultimate Guide

Minneriya National Park safari – The Complete Guide

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  1. Hi Ilse, wow, beautiful info again you share, this time about Ella rock. And your photo’s …….. incredible.

  2. Jacobine Timmer says:

    Sportive people can read a lot of practical information in this blog! This blog is a complete guide to prepare for and to hike the Ella Rock!

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