Ella’s rock is a beautiful hike and I would highly recommend doing it while in Ella. However, Ella’s rock can be tricky to navigate and is not like your usual hike. Read on to know what to expect when hiking Ella’s rock.
-Walk on the railroad tracks for 30 minutes towards Banduwella
-Eventually you will cross a bridge
-After the ridge there is a small shop. At the shop turn left down into a small ravine
-Cross the cement bridge that is on your left
-After bridge turn right-you will come to a small junction, take the path on your left
-Eventually the path will divide into two. Stick to the left hand side.
-Now you have basically entered the trail. From this point there are many different routes that you can take up. Basically just go up and you should be fine.
To Guide or not to Guide:
While on this path you will most likely be approached by a guides who will start leading you up the path- usually they approach people who look lost. They are pretty hard to get rid of and will be expecting about 1000 rupees when the hike is finished for their help (they do not tell you this until the end).
We got lost right at the beginning and suddenly a man came and started showing us where to go- only he never left it. I guess hewas going to be our guide. We had one girl with us who was not very fit and so our guide was great because he took us a way that no one else seemed to know about that was way easier. This was very helpful for the girl because she kept on wanting to give up on the hike. My other friend and I, however, kept trying to tell the guide that we didn’t need him but he wouldn’t leave us alone (probably because he knew that the other girl needed his help).
While we were walking he would show us what certain plants were- which was nice. However, we found that he went super fast and so it difficult to enjoy our journey up as we were running after him. At the end of the trip we did give him money because he was a good guide and very motivational for other girl who was with us (he would make a great personal trainer). We didn’t give him the 1000 SRL because we believed that this was too much, especially considering we told him about 10 times that we didn’t need him anymore.
Moral of the story- bring some cash with you expecting that you may have a guide on this hike, whether you want one or not.
When to Go:
We did this hike first thing in the morning and are very thankful that we did. While on Ella’s rock there are many trees so you have a lot of shade which is nice. However, first you must walk on the railroad tracks for 30 minutes where you will be in direct sunlight.
The way back we were so hot that we had to stop at a small restaurant on the way to enjoy a fresh juice in the shade. Make sure to also go on a clear day where there was no rain. After all of your hard work to reach the top you may be disappointed if the view is covered with clouds.
With a guide the hike takes about 2 hours to complete with a guide. Without a guide, however, give yourself some more time since you will probably get a little bit lost and will also be going at your own pace- instead of the guides crazy speed.