Beginners Guide: Adam’s Peak Climb


Why Climb Adam’s Peak?

Adam’s Peak is the second tallest mountain in Sri Lanka and is a popular hiking trail that is also linked to several religious roots. Also known as Sri Pada, the top of the mountain is where Adam’s footprints are located. People believe that this is the spot where Adam landed when he was dispelled from paradise onto earth. Buddhists, Tamils, Christians and Muslims all have a religious belief associated to this footprint. Mostly Buddhists perform pilgrimages on this trail and other interested hikers climb the mountain as a means of adventure.

How the hiking trail evolved…

The mountain has seen climbers for over a millennium. In 1055-1110, King Vijayabahu ruled the area and when he saw that the numbers of hikers are increasing gradually, he began to build shelters along the path to the top. Later on King Parakramabahu came into the scene and built roads and bridges. Eventually the jungle was cleared, steps were made in some areas and a clear path was highlighted in order to make the journey to the top an easier one.

Facts you need to know before planning your ascent

  • December to May is the peak season where traffic for climbers will be at the highest.
  • It is not advisable to hike during May to November as rain is often expected and the pathway is not lit up during this period.
  • It will take approximately three hours to reach you to the top (longer for those with a lower fitness level). Many start the hike early to reach the top in time for sunrise.

Information worth noting

  • According to Buddhists, the depression in the rock at the summit is Buddha’s footprint while Muslim’s believe its Adam’s footprint. The Portuguese religion tells them it is the footprint of St. Thomas The Apostle.
  • The hike to the top of Adam’s Peak is often categorized as a cultural and educational experience for trekkers.
  • During your hike, you will come across several Buddhists performing the hike as a pilgrimage.

Recommended starting times

  1. Before noon if you want to watch the sunset at the top.
  2. Early morning hours (2.00-3.00 a.m) if you want to watch the sunrise at the top.
  • Hikers prefer to begin during the day time so it gets cooler by the time they reach the peak. This way it is less physically stressful.
  • Beginning in the middle of the night is also a good idea because the hike back down gives you the benefits brought by the morning hour’s sunshine (vitamins, etc).

The Journey

  • Dalhousie is where the Hatton trail hike begins at. Most climbers prefer this route.
  • The Ratnapura trail is a longer and physically intensive route which is taken only by very experienced hikers (the climb takes seven hours – one way).
  • The trail is lit by a stretch of lights for guiding the pathway.
  • If you are climbing during off season, don’t forget to carry a torch and extra batteries with you.
  • The Hatton trail hike consists of 5000 steps and a 7km walking stretch.
  • Buddhist pilgrims hike without footwear, wearing their white traditional clothes and a prayer string in hand.
  • A pair of leech socks is advisable to prevent leech bites because leeches are commonly found.
  • Carry your own water and other energy drinks. There are shops that provide refreshments but the higher you climb, the higher the prices get.

Lessons to be learnt

  • Climbing during off season gives you plenty of alone time where you can think and reflect on your philosophies in life.
  • Climbing with a group is motivating and helps bond with your partner/family/friends.
  • Develops team spirit, helpfulness and encouragement skills.
  • Self development – reaching the peak is an achievement that makes you feel proud.
  • Develop staircase climbing skills
  • Keep looking on the bright side. In this case, don’t turn back to see how much you have climbed until you reach the top.


Adam’s Peak has been a significant trek for decades and will continue to hold that status for generations to come. As a hiker, undertaking this challenge will teach you an unimaginable number of lessons by the time you have completed the hike and come back to base. You will face hardships that will show you how right or wrong your personality is. These lessons and challenges will become a part of your soul and shape your life for years and years.

Walk Insight Team
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