Riverston Mountain Hike in Matale – Sri Lanka

Riverston is an area that belongs to the Matale district. It is one of the favorite hiking spots of many hikers. Also, it is a part of the Knuckles Mountain Range, which is known as a world heritage site. Riverston is located between the District of Matale and the District of Kandy. The fact that the weather here changes from time to time is very popular. People generally say that the weather there changes every five minutes. The summit is higher than the cloud line. We can explain this place as one of the untouched, unpolluted parts of this island, which never fails to grab the attention of avid hikers. With the calm environment, cold breeze, fresh air, greenery, and mist, one can describe it as a part of heaven. Therefore, this is a place that both locals and tourists find attractive.

 

Riverston Location

Riverston is located between Matale and Kandy districts in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. There are several routes to take to reach this place. It will take nearly 2.5 hours to reach the starting point of the hike from Kandy town.

Summit

To reach the viewpoint, you have to walk past the transmission tower. The mountain cliffs of Riverston are covered in mist from time to time. Many waterfalls can be seen nearby. The view from its viewpoint is sometimes covered by mist, but if not, it is breathtaking. From this viewpoint, you can see a lot of greenery, a valley, waterfalls, and some reservoirs like Moragahakanda and Kaluganga.

 

Flora and Fauna of the Riverstone Area

Riverston is located in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. Therefore, there are many plant and animal species that are unique and endemic to the highland evergreen forests in Sri Lanka. It is an area enriched with biodiversity. Therefore, this is one of the favorite spots of ecologists, biologists, botanists, and many other types of researchers and nature lovers. If you are also a nature lover, we highly suggest you visit this place.

You can observe the unique types of plants in the highland wet forests and canopy forests, which have various types of plants. These are multi-layered forests. A few such unique features in plants are short trunks, leaves with thicker upper and lower surfaces, or cuticles, and tree trunks covered with moss. A few examples of plant species are bamboo plants, grass, mosses, flowering shrubs, and ferns.

In the streams of Riverston and Knuckles, you can find an endemic freshwater fish species named “Galpandiya.” Also, there are several frog species, lizards (leaf-nosed lizards), giant squirrels, barking deer, and purple-faced leaf monkeys that live in the forest reserves of Knuckles.

 

landscape and hiking experience

You have to hike up the hill in order to reach the cliff and reach the Riverston viewpoint. The greenery among the mist can be seen during the 2 km hike up to the cliff. Also, there are small rocks beside the road.

There are no restrooms or anything, but there are some natural and calm spots where you can rest in between.

There are streams, freshwater springs, and a few waterfalls in the forest of Knuckles. In addition, the cold weather significantly reduces the fatigue of the hike. These streams can be drained in the dry season, but in the monsoons, we can see their true beauty. There are many streams around but avoid the unsafe spots where there are some signboards stating that it could be dangerous.

There are no reported attacks by animals during the hike. However, as a precaution, it is always best to hike during the day. There are no high-potential risks for solo hikers, but it would always be better to have a hiking partner or an experienced guide with you than hike alone.

The weather there could change at any time. Therefore, it is better to go prepared with a cap, raincoat, sweater, and umbrella because there are not many man-made shelters that you can find in the middle of the hike except one. Also, wearing comfortable and safe hiking shoes will make the hike much easier. There can be leeches around bushes and jungle areas. Therefore, it is always safe to walk along the road, avoiding the bushy areas. However, it is worth hiking to see the breathtaking, spectacular 360-degree view from the top. A fantastic method to improve the whole experience is to go camping.

 

Climate and the best season to visit Riverston

This area tends to be covered in mist throughout the year, mainly because it is located in the highlands of Sri Lanka. As a result, it is preferable to visit in the summer to avoid the interruption of mist to a greater extent than in the winter. This area is mostly wet and drizzly for most of the year.

It is difficult to say which months are better to hike this place because Riverston is beautiful in the same way throughout the whole year. However, it is nice in both rainy and dry seasons.

You can expect windy days here. The region experiences the strongest winds from May to September. Riverston is much windier in the dry season than in the rainy season. You have to pass two wind gaps when reaching the cliff in the windy season.

 

Travel and transport to Riverston

You can get to the starting point of the hike by any vehicle and walk the rest up to the cliff. There is about a 2-kilometer hike to reach the cliff. There is a properly constructed, narrow walking path leading to the cliff. However, there are many shortcuts in the woods to get to the cliff faster. But on rainy days, that path could be muddy and full of leeches. These cut-short trails are not properly maintained; you will have to walk among bamboo plants if you choose these paths. But it will probably save a bit of your time. However, we recommend you use properly maintained roads instead of cutting corners to reach the cliff.

Many hikers do not consider this a very difficult hike. Anyone who does not find it difficult to walk or hike can easily complete this hike. You can reach the top after hiking for about 1.5 hours. However, on rainy days, it would probably not be as cool an experience as it is on other days.

If necessary, you can book trekkers, vehicles, and jeeps on request from the tour guide websites.

 

Fun activities

If you are someone who enjoys hiking, do not miss visiting Riverston during your visit to Sri Lanka. There is a parking spot where you can park your vehicles. There is a man-made road to reach the cliff. It is difficult and dangerous to continue the hike by vehicle after passing this parking spot because the road after that is narrow and can be slippery in some places. Therefore, to get the most fun out of hiking, we would suggest you walk the rest of the way to the cliff. And it is always good if you have a companion with you to enjoy the hike. Many locals mostly come as groups of friends or families and enjoy hiking, especially on weekends and holidays.

 

The best period to visit and other facts to consider

It is a popular fact that there can be wild elephants in the woods beside the road to reach the Riverston hiking spot. Therefore, it is always better to think about your protection during your visit. I would recommend coming here after 7 a.m. and returning before evening.

 

Facilities

You do not need to buy tickets to enter. Before you begin the hike, there are a few small shops where you can purchase snacks and beverages. Parking facilities are also available there. Parking here is much easier if you visit on a less crowded day. Anyhow, it will not be much harder for you to find a parking lot nearby, even if you visit on a crowded day.

There are lodges, cottages, luxury suites, and other places to stay with quality food that you can find around Riverston for reasonable prices.

 

Other areas closer to the Riverston hiking spot

If you are planning to visit Riverston, do not forget to include some other spots surrounding this hiking spot, such as Pitawala Pathana, which is a valley, and waterfalls like Bambarakiri Ella. Sera Ella, which is 12 kilometers away, is another place you should not miss because it is a wonderful experience where you can see water falling from a cave. Thelgamu Oya is also closer to the main road. This is well-known because there are a few safe bathing areas with free natural fish therapies. Fishing is extremely prohibited in these streams, as they are in a forest conservation area in Riverston.

 

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(Cover Photo Credit: Vishaka Madushani from Facebook)

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