Sri Lanka — with its lush rainforests, countless waterfalls, and rolling mountains — is a mecca for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a total pro, you’ll find something suitable for your fitness level.
And for those of you who simply want to enjoy good views without going on long, tough hikes, there’s a small hill right in the heart of the country that would be the perfect choice. It’s known as Little Adam’s Peak.
Located in a small backpacker town called Ella, Little Adam’s Peak is named after its big brother, “Adam’s Peak”, which is a much bigger mountain in another region further west. It is said that Adam’s Peak is where Adam, the first Ancestor, first set his foot after being exiled from the Garden of Eden. And Little Adam’s Peak got its name because it has a similar shape to the big brother.
While the big brother is more suitable for serious hikers, Little Adam’s Peak can be hiked easily without a guide.
How to Get to Little Adam's Peak
The path to the trail is fairly easy to find. From the main strip of Ella, it is only about 1.5 kilometres to the trailhead. Look out for the path next to the 98 Acres Resort & Spa, marked by a white Buddha. There is also an alternative trailhead located next to Ella Flower Garden Resort.
If you don’t want to walk too far, it’s a good idea to stay at either one of these two resorts or somewhere close by.
There is no entrance fee to hike Little Adam’s Peak.
What to Expect on the Trail
The beginning of the trail will take you through beautiful green tea plantations. Depending on what time you go, you might be able to see the tea-picking ladies at work. My hostel mates and I wanted to catch the sunrise at the top, so we started very early in the morning when it was still dark and all we could see was only what was illuminated by our torch lights.
Little Adam’s Peak is a very popular trail among tourists, and sunrise is a popular time to go, so you won’t find yourself alone. This can be comforting if it’s your first hike or if you’re scared of the dark. But don’t expect to find solitude on this hike.
We were also accompanied by a friendly pack of stray dogs from the village that escorted us all the way to the top. They were obviously hoping for some treats, but we didn’t have anything to offer apart from a generous amount of belly rubs.
The first peak is quite large, with multiple platforms, rocks, and viewpoints. So, even if there are a lot of other tourists hiking Little Adam’s Peak at the same time as you, you should still be able to get a decent picture without too many people in the background.
How long does it take to hike Little Adam’s Peak?
A person of average fitness level should be able to complete this within 1 – 2 hours, from the trailhead to the first peak and back. But of course, this also depends on your personal speed and how long you stop for pictures.
How tough is hiking Little Adam’s Peak?
Although Little Adam’s Peak stands at a height of 1,141 metres above sea level, don’t let the numbers scare you. You will actually begin your hike at an already high elevation, so in effect, you will only be climbing up a few hundred metres.
The trail is very easy going, with no parts that are too steep or overly treacherous. There are well-maintained paths and stairs all the way to the first peak. If you’re an experienced hiker, you’d find this to be child’s play.
Where to go next?
Once you reach the first peak, you have the choice to continue walking along the ridge to another two small peaks. Keep in mind that the trail there is not as well-trodden, so do take extra care. We figured the view would be pretty much the same, and our stomachs were rumbling, so we decided to turn back to Ella.
Apparently, there’s also a direct trail from Little Adam’s Peak to the famous Nine Arch Bridge, another one of the most popular attractions in Ella. I did not combine that with this hike because my empty stomach demanded immediate attention. Instead, I visited it later in the evening.
Best Time to Go to Little Adam's Peak
Best Time to Visit Ella, Sri Lanka
The best time to visit Ella is between January to May, when you’re most likely to experience good weather with pleasant temperatures. Temperatures in Ella don’t vary much throughout the year, with the average maximum of 20 degrees Celsius (68F), and the average minimum of 11 degrees Celsius (52F).
The warmest month is April, when it can get up to 25 degrees Celsius. March is the driest and sunniest month of the year, while October and November are the wettest. I visited in September and didn’t experience any rain on the three days that I was in Ella.
Best Time to Climb Little Adam’s Peak
As with any other hiking spots, the best time to climb is in the early morning or late afternoon, so that you can catch sunrise or sunset at the top. Bear in mind that if you climb for sunset and linger for too long at the peak, you might have to hike back in the dark. Prepare your torch lights.
And if 25 degrees Celsius is too hot for you, I don’t recommend hiking in the middle of the day.
What to Bring
Little Adam’s Peak is a short and relatively easy hike, so you won’t be needing your usual hiking gear such as hiking poles, boots, or headlamps. However, these are a few items you shouldn’t forget:
- Comfortable shoes, preferably something with good traction. Make sure they’re comfortable and broken in. Sandals are not recommended for this hike, unless you’re one of those mountain guides in Asia who climb mountains in flip-flops!
- Water – Make sure you bring enough for the 2-hour hike, especially if you hike under the sun and/or you’re not used to physical exertions. Coming from Southeast Asia, I found the temperatures in Ella pleasantly chilly. But I still brought a 1-liter bottle of mineral water.
- Snacks – If you’re hiking early in the morning before breakfast, this is especially important, because your body is going to need some fuel for the hike, and restaurants aren’t likely to be open yet. You’re also going to need them if you plan to continue on to the other peaks and the Nine Arch Bridge. Chocolate or cereal bars are good snacks for hiking.
- Basic first-aid – Although this is an easy hike, accidents can happen anywhere. Or you may still have to deal with minor scratches or blisters. I always bring some band-aids, bandages, antiseptic cream, and pain relief cream with me when I travel.
- Camera – I don’t usually recommend bringing cameras on hiking trips, but this isn’t too strenuous a climb, and the main draw of Little Adam’s Peak is the views it offers.
- Torch light – if you’re climbing before sunrise or after sunset, some areas can be pretty dark. I used my phone torch light.
Is Little Adam’s Peak worth visiting?
A big and resounding YES from me — a reluctant hiker who only hikes when there’s a promise of a great view from the top. For such an easy and short hike, Little Adam’s Peak is sure generous with the reward.
So, if you only have a short time in the region, climbing Little Adam’s Peak should be one of your must-do’s. Even if you’re not into hiking, this is one hike that you won’t regret.
What do you think of Little Adam’s Peak? Are there any other *easy* hikes with great views (anywhere in the world) that you would recommend for beginner hikers? Let me know in the comments below.