Wild Walks & Wondrous Views

With 18500 hectares of pristine mountain wilderness waiting to be discovered, guests to Dumbanagala Chalet are spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor adventures. Take on an audacious hike or let the scenery roll past on a picturesque evening stroll. The meandering rural paths and daring off road trails are perfect for a bike ride while the pristine mountain pools and waterfalls are a temptation for a cool dip. The lush green canopy hosts a whole lot of birds and butterflies, and the photogenic landscape has done half the work to give you that perfect photograph.
Whether you like it wild or mild, Dumbanagala offers you an unforgettable wilderness adventure by day and warm hospitality at night.


Intensity level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4-5 hours (out & back)

 

Guests staying at the Chalet can hike to the peak through the trail located within the private property. Since the Peak is covered in mist most of the time, (hence the name mist-covered peak) it is advisable to start your hike early so you reach the peak before it throws the misty blanket over it. The last stretch of the trail is covered in moss and moist undergrowth and calls for caution while climbing. On a clear day one can see as far as Mahiyangana and beyond. On days when the clouds hang at the level of the peak you can see the summits of Piduruthalagala range, Gombaniya, Knuckles Peak, Lakegala, and Gerandigala peaking above the clouds.

 

Please read Niroshan’s excellent description on- Hike to Dumbanagala (1642m) on a clear day- on Lakdasun Trip Reports. Hike to Dumbanagala


Intensity level: Strenuous
Duration: 8-10 hours (out & back)

 

The trailhead to this waterfall hike is in Kalugala, located 17km east of Dumbanagala Chalet. The trail goes through extremely rugged terrain with vertical drops requiring steep climbs. A knowledgeable trekker is a must. It is a cluster of waterfalls that cascade down like a slithering snake from the Gerandigala Mountain and consist of seven segments, when combined, reach an estimated height of 200-240 metres. The breathtaking views on top makes the whole ordeal worthwhile. Dumbanagala, Yahangala, Namunukula, Piduruthalagala are some of the peaks you see from the top. The large flat mountain top is an ideal place to camp. December is the best month to see the fall in all its glory.


Intensity level: Moderate-Difficult
Duration: 4 hours (out & back)

 

The trailhead to the waterfall is located in the ancient village of Meemure, 16km north of Dumbanagala Chalet. The upper course of the river flows through the Cloud Forests and thunders down a 45m-high rock ledge causing rumbles that can be heard before you see the falls. As it hits the plunge pool below the force creates the second fall. Only the top fall is visible through dense forest coverage. The beauty of the fall is enhanced by the towering presence of Lakegala in the backdrop. An Elephant corridor known as “Ath para” is found beneath the fall. A Buddhist monastery is found closer to the falls as well. The stream joins Heen Ganga and eventually the mighty Mahaweli.


Intensity level: Easy to Moderate
Duration: Day trip

 

Follow a local guide through the village as he explains indigenous customs and cultures. Learn about traditional medicinal uses of plants and seeds. Visit some of the traditional clay houses and traditional kitchens. Enjoy an authentic village meal at one of the local homes and experience the hospitality firsthand. A fascinating tour for all interested in indigenous culture and customs of Sri Lanka.


Intensity level: Difficult
Duration: 7 miles/11.2 km (out & back)

 

Of the numerous hikes and treks available, none is more challenging than the hike to the five peaks of the Knuckles, with Knuckles Peak being the second highest (1848m) in the entire range. The trail starting at Thungappuwa, known as the Alugallena trail joins the Dawatagala Trail or the Knuckles 5 peaks trail 0.7miles below the first peak. It climbs 600 meters (2000 feet) going through cloud forests with a variety of flora and fauna up and across the five peaks giving the mountain range its name. The trail to the peaks is well maintained and clear up to the highest peak, Peak 2, but is less well maintained, narrow and overgrown after that point. While many people take time and do the hike over two days, camping on one of the peaks, the trail can be done from the trailhead across all 5 peaks and back in 6-8 hours including breaks for views, photographs, and snacks.

Biking the Knuckles

If not hiking, then biking is the best way to explore the splendour of the Knuckles Range. Eastern slopes of the Knuckles offer 35km of picturesque but challenging uphill and downhill ride to avid bikers. However, the paved road is designed for motor vehicles hence cyclists must exercise extreme caution riding on this windy, narrow, and steep road. There are many daring off-road trails available to explore the interior of the mountain Range. You can rent top quality mountain bikes from the chalet. Our trained staff will accompany you on your rides and guide you through every step of the way.

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Birders Paradise… Butterflies too..

Whether you are an avid birder planning a bird watching vacation or are simply ticking Sri Lankan endemics off your list, you will find plenty of feathered entertainment amid the Knuckles Mountain Range. Of the 128 species found in the Range, 17% are endemic and 10 are winter migrants. Of the 60 species of butterflies 8% are endemic. A short morning stroll around the Chalet premises and you will see the Black Eagle soaring above your head while the Yellow Eared Bul Bul, the tiny Ceylon White Eye, the Orange Minivet and many others contribute to the symphony of the forest. The Ceylon Tree Nymph, one of the most beautiful butterflies, glides gracefully as if it is dancing to the melody.

Birders Paradise… Butterflies too..

Whether you are an avid birder planning a bird watching vacation or are simply ticking Sri Lankan endemics off your list, you will find plenty of feathered entertainment amid the Knuckles Mountain Range. Of the 128 species found in the Range, 17% are endemic and 10 are winter migrants. Of the 60 species of butterflies 8% are endemic. A short morning stroll around the Chalet premises and you will see the Black Eagle soaring above your head while the Yellow Eared Bul Bul, the tiny Ceylon White Eye, the Orange Minivet and many others contribute to the symphony of the forest. The Ceylon Tree Nymph, one of the most beautiful butterflies, glides gracefully as if it is dancing to the melody.

A Cool Dip at the End of Your Hike??

The three major tributaries of the mighty Mahaweli river, Heen ganga, Hulu ganga and Kalu ganga (rivers) along with Hasalaka, Thelgamu oya and Karambaketiya oya all have their headwaters at the mighty mountains of the Knuckles. These meandering rivers flow through steep valleys, along smooth granite walls and boulders, turning into gushing waterfalls that plunge into crystal clear natural pools creating some of the most beautiful places to swim in Sri Lanka. This is a fun cloud forest experience with adventurous hiking and a chance to bathe under a breathtaking waterfall and swim in a turquoise pool.

A Photogenic Landscape

The Knuckle Range with its dramatic peaks, steep valleys, meandering rivers, gushing waterfalls, vast grasslands, beautifully terraced paddy fields, and quaint villages is a dream come true for photographers. The ever-changing weather adds to the grandeur. If you are an early riser, take advantage of the stunning sunrise as your backdrop, but, if you want to sleep in, then make the beautiful sunset your backdrop. Either way, your pictures are going to be stunning.

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