Knuckles Mountain (6123ft) – An Adventurous Hike in Knuckles Range

By : Dinesh Deckker
Contact the Author : dineshdsd@gmail.com | 0716- 818740
Year & Month Number of Days Crew Weather Transport
Feb, 2010 4 3 Sunny Public Transport
Trip Route
Gampola->Wathegama->Bambarella
Accommodation
Dhanusha’s Home – Gampola

Travel Tips, Travel Notes and Special remarks
  • This trip is arranged in Sri Lankan Travellers forum “Adventurous Trip To Knuckles Range”
  • Start the trail as early as possible
  • Special Thanks to Dhanushka and his family.
  • Carry water bottles as much as possible, can fill it from water sources.
  • A leach repellent is a must
  • Recommended to do the hike with an experienced guide
  • Last bus from Bambarella leaves 6.15PM to Wathegama
  • If there is strong wind conditions or thick mist do not attempt this hike.

This is dedicated to My Crew and My Lovely Wife without you all this has not been possible.

This trip was legendary as we climbed three mountains (Peacock Hill [4991ft] / Raxagala[4691ft] / Knuckles[6123ft] ) and saw three waterfalls (Asupini Ella / Sera Ella / Jodu Ella) in a single trip.

Last day we climbed Raxagala, which was an extremely rewarding hike to Dolosbage Range. We went to bed early as our main itinerary (hike to top of Knuckles Mountain) was scheduled on following day. Got up early and was able to get in to Mathale train from Gampola station. We had our breakfast on the train. Got down at Wathegama station and it was around 8.30AM. Luckily there was a Wattegama – Bambarella bus was there and scheduled to leave at 9.00AM. On our way we were able to see Knuckles Range clearly after we pass Kalupahana. Also we were able to see Jodu Ella in a distance but were unable to visit that as we were on a tight schedule.

We arrived in Thawalamthenna at around 10.30AM and bus was parked right next to Thilaka Aiyas boutique, the only shop in that area. After buying some biscuits and food items for the journey we met our guide. We couldn’t see Knuckles Mountain from Thawalamthenna. Our guide used some shortcuts through private property and cultivation lands to reach a tea estate where we were able to see Majestic Knuckles Mountain. This journey was an ascend from start to the end; we wished we come up with flat areas. But our wish didn’t come true.

Beyond this point our guide arranged an other guide (Nelson Aiya) as he had a problem with his leg. On our way we asked many people whether it’s possible to climb the mountain in the hot afternoon. Everybody replied with a negative expression. They said we will have no chance even to climb one peak. We saw the mountain in a long distance and knew it’s far and hard; so obviously our hopes were shattered. But our new guide Nelson Aiya gave us hope and made us believe it’s possible. We hurried and mostly it was like a marathon against time. We took less breaks and more walking. After walking for 4Kms from Thawalamthenna we reached Dewatagala. The walk was long and we were tired, yet continued.

After some walk we managed to branch in to a concrete road and after a short walk we managed to see the sign board of Knuckles mountain nature trail. We continued our journey through a forest patch and after 200M walk trail divided in to two and one led to a waterfall, named Sera Ella (According to the Locals). We filled water bottles from here and confined the journey. This is the last water source if it’s the dry season; so if you are doing this trail better fill up the bottles.

After ascending for half an hour reached to open area with Mana. We were able to see the height of the mountain it was so damn high. We were surprised after seeing the highest peak. Anyway no options left so we were determined to climb the mountain. While we were crossing the mana patch we saw a sambar deer in a distance. According to the guide there are lots of sambars, wild boars and some leopards in this area.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE THE ENLARGED VERSION OF THE IMAGE

Beyond this point we were entering the knuckles wilderness. There was a clear path but was a continuous ascend. We had to hold onto trees to climb at some points, yet it was manageable. There were lots of leaches in this area. After a long walk we came across a T junction just before the first peak. You have to be careful while descending. If you miss the original Bambarella path you will end up in Thangappuwa. (This is close to Corbets Gap Hunnasgiriya – Loolwatta Road. )

After sometime we came across the first peak and the view was awesome. After 5-6 minutes the view was interrupted by mist. We continued the journey till we reach the second peak. Unfortunately second peak was covered with trees so there was no clear view beneath trees. The journey was tiresome and we were able to see the 3rd (The highest peak) through mist. The shape of the highest peak was like Sripada and as we saw it has quite a climb.

Anyway after around half an hour climb we were managed to get on to our destination; the highest peak of Knuckles Mountain in Knuckles Range. Top of the mountain was covered by Mana. The view was EXTRAORDINARY. We were able to see the peaks we climbed and the remaining two peaks yet to be climbed. It was like we are on the middle of the mountain. Once I had this experience in Namunukula Mountain. The place where we started (Thawalamthenna) and the place we met Nelson Aiya (Dewatagala) was visible in very far distance. The GPS recorded the highest point as 6123ft above sea level.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE THE ENLARGED VERSION OF THE IMAGE

It took four hours from Thawalamthenna to reach the highest peak. It was 2.45PM when we had our lunch on top of Knuckles. We had bread we bought from Tilaka Aiyas store with cashew nut curry bottle we brought from Colombo. We had very limited stock of water and there was no water any place near by. If you are an adventure traveler you can camp on the summit. But water will be a main issue and at night strong wind conditions might trouble you. After having lunch, mist came from no where and all the scenery disappeared in the matter of minutes. Again it cleared within few minutes and Misty Mountains was defined right before our eyes. We even wanted to try climbing remaining peaks but time didn’t allow us. So until next time spend some quality time on the top of Knuckles.

Getting down was also difficult as it was slippery. While getting down we managed to see some beautiful scenery. The sun was setting and the sky was golden color along with clouds.

After reaching Thawalamthenna by 6PM. We managed to get on to the last bus to Wathegama.



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Have a Safe Journey!

2 Responses to “Knuckles Mountain (6123ft) – An Adventurous Hike in Knuckles Range”

  1. i wish i could feel what u felt :)

  2. Hi Dinesh,

    Wow!
    What a nice experience.
    Nice travelogue along with nice pictures.
    Excellent Panoroma too.

    Thanks for sharing the same.

    BR

    viraj