5200 Steps Up Adam’s Peak Mountain in Sri Lanka

Adam’s Peak is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular locations and a must see when visiting this country. There are many different stories for what is actually at the top of this mountain, so we are just left to wonder.

At the top of Adam’s Peak (around 2243 meters high), is a huge ‘footprint’, that Muslims believe belongs to Adam in the Garden of Eden.

Buddhists believe that this footprint is the mark of Buddha, Hindus believe it was Lord Shiva, and Christians claim it is the footprint of St. Thomas.

So, in the end…..no one really knows!

There are several routes that can be used when climbing the peak, including the Hatton, Ratnapura and Kuruwita Route. The one that I chose, and I am happy that I did, was the Hatton Route.

I decided to take on this challenge in the low season, but if you go during the peak pilgrimage season, beware that there may be hundreds of people hiking each day and it will get very crowded during the sunrise time when you are recommended to reach the peak. However, given that it was low season, there were about 50 people at the peak, which made it a lot more peaceful and enjoyable!

Along the way I noticed that there were people walking barefoot, but I later found out that many people hike barefoot to make the journey more difficult, but in the end more rewarding. In addition, some locals where white clothes, symbolizing purity and some even wear a praying string around their wrist.

At the bottom of the mountain before going up at 0200am, I was given a blessing and also a white string to put around my wrist.

When you get to the top and see the sunrise you will see all the climbers ringing the holy bell. Next to the footprint hangs a bell that each pilgrim is entitled to ring as many times as he has climbed the sacred mountain.

If you hike up in the night, you will really enjoy the hike back down because you are able to see all landscape around you. Give yourself time going down, because with 5200 stairs, it can be a lot of pressure for your knees!


One proud girl after my 5200 steps!

Travel Info and Advice: 

  • Cost: free to climb. Locals will try asking you for donations along the way, but it is not required.
  • Pilgrim season is between December-May. If you want to avoid crowds, climb during the week days instead of Saturday or Sunday and avoid high season.
  • Level of difficulty: It’s not for the weak. It is stairs the whole entire time up and it takes around 5 hours.
  • Perfect for solo travellers. You will make friends without a doubt on the way up, so no need to be with someone.
  • Best time to start: about 2am in order to make it to the peak for sunrise.
  • Beware of leeches. They are everywhere, so bring some cream.
  • There is a train available from Hatton and then you can catch a bus for the remainder of the distance (that is what I did). However, if you want to do the alternative route, there are buses run to Dalhousie from Colombo, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya in the pilgrimage season.

If you take this adventure to the top of Adam’s Peak, TRUST ME, you will feel the same way as me on the way back down and want to slide down all the way to the bottom on this metal bar like I tried doing?

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Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.com5200 Steps Up Adam’s Peak Mountain in Sri Lanka