Pekoe Trail (Sri Lanka)

Pekoe Trail (Sri Lanka)

The Pekoe Trail is an extensive 300-kilometre curated long-distance walking route that meanders through the breathtaking landscapes of the Central Highlands in Sri Lanka. This trail offers travellers an immersive and enriching experience, showcasing the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and tea plantations that are characteristic of this region. It stands as Sri Lanka's inaugural long-distance hiking trail, marking a significant milestone in the exploration and appreciation of the Central Highlands' beauty.

In November 2023, Sri Lanka secured the British Guild of Travel Writers Tourism Award for the Best International Tourism Project in the Wider World for The Pekoe Trail.  

The Founder

Despite local companies engaging in trekking various stages of the trail over an extended period, credit for the design of The Pekoe Trail goes to Miguel Cunat, a Spanish sustainable tourism development consultant who has resided in Sri Lanka for an extended duration. The fruition of this trail was made possible through funding from the European Union, complemented by additional support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Journey

Being one of the most notable long-distance walking trails in Sri Lanka, the Pekoe Trail consists of 22 stages, each providing diverse and captivating experiences. These stages can be undertaken in convenient short sections or enjoyed as part of a multi-day adventure. 

Commencing its journey in Hanthana, situated close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kandy, The Pekoe Trail takes hikers on an extraordinary adventure. The trail then winds its way through the scenic town of Ella, renowned on social media platforms like Instagram for its thrilling hikes, picturesque waterfalls, and colonial-era railway stations. The captivating route concludes in Kandapola, an area within the tea-growing region of Nuwara Eliya, famed for its British colonial-era summer cottages, adding a touch of historical charm to the conclusion of this remarkable trail.

Trail Stages and Landmarks

The Pekoe Trail is composed of 22 stages, spanning a total distance of 300 kilometres. With an average distance of 13.6 kilometres, each stage typically takes about 4 to 6 hours to complete. The trail offers diverse elevations, reaching a maximum height of 2167 meters and descending to a minimum elevation of 732 meters. This varied topography ensures a dynamic and engaging hiking experience for participants. 

Stage 1: Hanthana → Galaha | 12.8 km
Key Attractions: Ceylon Tea Museum, Hanthana Tea Estate, Views of the Hanthana Mountain Range, Katusu Konda, Film site of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Knuckles Mountain Range

Stage 2: Galaha → Loolecondera | 14.6 km
Key Attractions: Deltota Estate, Loolkandura Estate & James Taylor’s Seat, Konda Gala, Views of the Ambalammana Mountain Peak

Stage 3: Loolecondera → Thawalanthenna | 17.2 km
Key Attractions: Views of the Ma Oya, Piduruthalagala Forest, Chariot Path, Gerandi Ella, Shri Bhakta Hanuman Temple

Stage 4: Thawalanthenna → Kumbaloluwa/Pundaluoya | 9.4 km
Key Attractions: Kotmale ReservoirRamboda Falls, Kadadora Viharaya, Dunsinane Falls, Kip Falls, Dehadu KadullaMahaweli Maha Seya

Stage 5: Kumbaloluwa/Pundaluoya → Watagoda | 11.9 km
Key Attractions: The Great Wall, Sithum Ella Falls, Dimbula Valley, Watagoda Train Station

Stage 6: Watagoda → Kotagala | 14.9 km
Key Attractions: Holyrood Tea Estate, Talawakelle Tea Estate, St. Clair's Falls, St Clair's Tea Factory, Devon Falls, Devon Bungalow, Soda Bottle Curve

Stage 7: Kotagala → Norwood | 16.1 km
Key Attractions: Singamalai Lake, Chrysler’s Farm Tea Factory, Castlereigh Reservoir, Christ Church Warleigh, Darawella Club

Stage 8: Norwood → Bogawantalawa | 15.9 km
Key Attractions: Views of the Adam’s Peak, Norwood Tea Estate, Kew Estate, Bogawantalawa Valley, Gartmore Falls, Moray Falls, Fairlawn Falls, Bogawantalawa Planter’s Club

Stage 9: Bogawantalawa → Dayagama | 16.5 km
Key Attractions: Bogawana Tea Factory, Jacob’s Ladder, Elgin Falls, Haritha Kanda Peak, Bopaththalawa Farm

Stage 10: Dayagama → Horton Plains | 14.9 km
Key Attractions: Horton Plains National Park, Bakers Falls, World’s End, Agra Falls

Stage 11: Horton Plains → Udaweriya | 13.0 km
Key Attractions: Devil's Staircase, Ohiya Tea Factory, Udaweriya Tea Factory, Bambarakanda Falls, Lanka Ella Falls

Stage 12: Udaweriya → Haputale | 15.1 km
Key Attractions: Thangamale Sanctuary, Adhisham Bungalow, Idalgashinna Train Station, Haputale View Point

Stage 13: Haputale → St. Catherine | 13.0 km
Key Attractions: Lipton's Seat, Lake Richmond, Sherwood Rock & Plains

Stage 14: St. Catherine → Makulella | 9.0 km
Key Attractions: Mahanama Estate, Balagala Division, Namunukula Mountain Range, Makulella Lake

Stage 15: Makulella → Ella | 9.0 km
Key Attractions: Ravana Falls, Ravana’s Cave, Ella Rock, Ella Train Station, Ella Gap, Little Adam’s Peak

Stage 16: Ella → Demodara | 8.8 km
Key Attractions: Nine Arches Bridge, Newburgh Tea Factory, Demodara Tea Estate, Demodara Railway Station & Loop, Eco Domes Falls

Stage 17: Demodara → Hali-Ela | 14.0 km
Key Attractions: Uva Planters Club, Rosette Estate, Dunhinda Falls

Stage 18: Hali-Ela → Etampitiya | 14.1 km
Key Attractions: Dickwella Tea Factory, Bogoda Old Bridge, Etampitiya Fortress, Halaba Bridge

Stage 19: Etampitiya → Lunuwatta | 14.0 km
Key Attractions: Etampitiya Estate Bungalow, Kukulagala View Point

Stage 20: Lunuwatta → Uda Pussellawa | 15.1 km
Key Attractions: Sthripura Caves, Mana Ella, Pahala Alagolla Lake, Buffalo Park,

Stage 21: Uda Pussellawa → Kandapola | 16.9 km
Key Attractions: Gordon’s Estate, Hethersett Estate Fields, Heritance Tea Factory Hotel, Bomburu Ella Falls, Hakgala Botanical Gardens

Stage 22: Kandapola → Nuwara Eliya | 14.8 km
Key Attractions: Courtlodge Tea Factory, Lover's Leap Falls, Pedro Tea Estate

See Also

#) Devil's Staircase (Sri Lanka)
This page was last updated on 28 January 2024
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