The Knuckles massif is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka in the districts of Matale and Kandy and spreads out over an area of 155 square kilometers. It is one of the major eco-tourism spots in the island and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This mountain range has been aptly named as the Knuckles Mountain Range since it bears resemblance to the knuckles of a clenched fist when viewed from several locations, and was named so by British surveyors. It is also known as ‘Dumbara Kanduvatiya’ by the locals, which means ‘mist laden mountain range’. The nearest major city is Kandy. Other, closer towns around the edges include Matale, Riverston, Rattota, Hunnasgiriya and Rangala. The mountain range is a hotspot among nature and adventure enthusiasts.

The Knuckles Range has about 34 mountain peaks ranging from 900 to 1900 meters in height. The highest peak, ‘Gombaniya’ is 1906 meters (6248 Ft). The highest of the knuckle shaped five peaks is at 1864m. Other peaks in the range are Kirigalpotta, Aliyawetunaela, Dumbanagala, Yakungegala, Dothalugala, Wamarapugala, Koboneelagala, Kalupahana (Thunthisgala), Rilagala, Telambugala, Nawanagala, Lakegala, Maratuwegala, Balagiriya, Velangala, Lahumanagala, Kinihirigala and Lunumadalla.


The range is home to over 40 rural villages and is rich in biodiversity. The climate here is unpredictable and changes constantly. The annual rainfall can range from 500 to 10,000 mm/year and the mean temperature between 8 and 20 °C. Tea, rubber, rice, vegetables, and cardamom are grown in this area.

The different trails leading to the Knuckles Mountain range offer splendid and breathtaking vistas. On the way, one can spot several cascading waterfalls and streams. The differences in vegetation, the variety of flora and fauna and the magnificent views make Knuckles a hiker’s haven.

Since this inner mountainous area is off the motoring roads, it remains as an unspoilt nature reserve even today. Knuckles Mountain Range is considered as the most spectacular mountain scenic landscape of Sri Lanka's highland. The best view points of Knuckles mountain range are from Corbet's Gap and from Laggala Patana where there is a mini World’s End.


Mid-February to April and June to August


There are eight different routes leading to Knuckles Mountain Range. Most travellers arrive at the site from Colombo or Kandy. The journey from Colombo will take about 5 - 6 hours’ drive, depending on the route that you take. Driving from Kandy to Knuckles takes about 3 hours. Visitors may arrive by bus, train, taxi and private vehicles.


The Knuckles Forest Reserve is a protected area that covers the whole of the Knuckles Mountain range. Along with Horton Plains National Park and the Peak Wilderness Forest region, it forms Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands. The whole area was collectively declared a Natural World Heritage Site in 2010.

The higher montane area is often robed in thick layers of cloud. In addition to its aesthetic value, the range is of great scientific interest. It is a climatic microcosm of the rest of Sri Lanka as the conditions of all the climatic zones in the country are exhibited in the massif. At higher elevations there is a series of isolated cloud forests harbouring a variety of flora and fauna. Although the range constitutes approximately 0.03% of the island's total area, it is home to a significantly higher proportion of the country's biodiversity. The isolated Knuckles range harbours several relict, endemic flora and fauna that are distinct from central massif. More than 34 percent of Sri Lanka's endemic trees, shrubs, and herbs are only found in these forests. The cloudy forests of Sri Lanka contain many unique and threatened species. These forests are the only home in the world for at least 20 endangered and critically endangered species, and provide critical habitat for a total of 30 species threatened with extinction.


Wildlife in the area consists of 128 bird species of which 17 are endemic, 31 mammal species, 20 amphibians and 53 different reptile species which some characters as the leaf nosed lizard which is also endemic to this range. Other animals found in the area are Wild Buffalo, Wild Boar, Black-naped Hare, Jackal, the endemic Toque Macaque and Purple-faced Leaf Monkey. Fishing Cats and Mouse Deer have also been spotted.


An evergreen carpet of diverse plants and trees lines the slopes and valleys of the knuckles mountain range all year long. The biodiversity hot spot is home to 1033 different plant species belonging to 141 different families. The mountain range covers less than 0.5% of Sri Lankan vegetation but it gives life for almost one third of Sri Lankan flowering plant species. Around 160 species of them are considered to be endemic and 12 species are exotic while 11 species are nationally threatened. Plants found in the area consist of epiphytic mosses, epiphytic orchids, ferns, etc.


The Knuckles Mountain Range is considered to be one of the most picturesque areas of this paradise island. There is an abundance of breathtaking waterfalls that are hidden away amongst its thick forest canopy. They are The Huluganga Falls, Lebanon Estate Falls, Saree Ella, Jodu Ella, Thaliya Watunu Ella, Duvili Ella and Dumbara Ella. These waterways act as arteries to the mountain range, supplementing and giving life to all its flora and fauna.


The Knuckles Mountains Range is home to some of the best trekking and hiking trails in Sri Lanka with many different options across a range of distances and elevations. From casual strolls through rolling farmland, colourful villages and down to waterfalls, to more challenging mountain ascents, the Knuckles Forest Reserve and surrounding region offers a decent choice of walking and hiking trails. The most popular trails located in the range are:

:: Mini World's End trail
:: Dothalugala Nature Trail
:: Trail to Alugallena from Corbet's Gap
:: Trail to Nitro Caves from Corbet's Gap
:: Trail to Kalupahana from Meemure

The trails in the Knuckles Range offer a total hiking distance of 40km. Each trail varies in length from 6 to 20 km, taking a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 8 hours to complete. The total duration of the hike may also depend on personal fitness levels.

During the trek in Knuckles Range, visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety. Wearing full-length pants tucked inside socks is a good way to prevent leeches from attaching themselves. Carrying enough water to remain hydrated and wearing appropriate clothing and footwear is highly recommended. To ensure safety and compliance with local regulations, hikers are encouraged to trek with a licensed guide.

The chances of sighting wild animals during the trek depend on several environmental factors including the time of day, weather and season. Although it is not guaranteed, it is still common to spot wildlife during the trek.


It is said that in ancient times this area was referred to as ‘Giri Divaina’ and as ‘Malaya Rata’. There is archaeological evidence that speaks of ancient Yaksha settlement in the area.


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