Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>


Sri Lanka is famous for its breathtaking scenery, hiking trails, spectacular waterfalls, and mist-covered mountains. Riverston is a magical destination that offers all those things. It is an excellent place for those willing to venture beyond the well-trodden paths and explore Sri Lanka's hidden gems that are both mesmerizing and unique.

Part of the Knuckles Mountain Range, Riverston is a destination that promises an unforgettable journey through Sri Lanka's untouched wilderness.

What Makes Riverston Special

Riverston offers some of the most amazing views in all of Sri Lanka. You can gaze upon the landscapes covered in cloaks of mist, blue-green mountain peaks reaching for the sky, and dense forests that stretch as far as the eye can see.

The beauty is ethereal, capturing the essence of nature in its purest form. Riverston is also a great place for hiking and camping and is quickly gaining popularity among travelers.

Mountains as far as the eye can see...

Off-the-Beaten-Path Experience

Riverston is still relatively unknown to the broader tourist community, making it a perfect destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle. The trails are never crowded, giving you the luxury of solitude.

It's an ideal setting for self-reflection, meditation, or even nature journaling. Imagine sitting atop a secluded peak, enveloped by mist, as you jot down your thoughts or sketch the landscape—it's a genuinely soul-refreshing experience.

The Misty Mountains

Mist is not uncommon in high-altitude areas, but Riverston has an almost otherworldly, mystical quality. It's not just about the visual spectacle but also the atmosphere it creates.

Walking through the mist gives one a sense of serenity and solitude that is becoming increasingly rare in today's fast-paced world. It's like stepping into a natural sanctuary where time slows down.

Mist covered mountains


Flora and Fauna

Rich Biodiversity

The Knuckles Range, where Riverston is located, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, partly because of its rich biodiversity. While hiking, you'll come across various plant species, some of which are endemic to the area. From rare orchids that decorate the forest floor to towering trees that have stood for centuries, the plant life here is extraordinary.


For birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike, Riverston offers plenty of opportunities. Among the trees and along the riverbanks, one can spot a variety of bird species, both endemic and migratory. You might just spot the elusive Sri Lankan hanging parrot or the colorful Layard's parakeet.

Things to Do in Riverston


Riverston is a hiker's paradise with trails suitable for anyone, from beginners to experts. For those looking for a moderate hike, the path to Riverston Peak is well-marked and can be completed in a few hours.

For the more adventurous, some trails go through the Knuckles Range, offering a challenging but rewarding experience. Each trail brings its own set of beautiful sceneries and opportunities to interact with nature.

Riverston has several hiking trails with magnificent views

A Photographer's Paradise

If you're keen on photography, Riverston offers a rich tapestry of landscapes and natural phenomena to capture. The mist often creates intricate patterns of light and shadow, giving a mystical aura to your photos. You will get the chance to capture some breathtaking landscape photos, as well as some amazing clicks of the sunrise and sunset.

Sunset in Riverston

Camping Under the Stars

While day trips to Riverston are common, staying overnight elevates the experience to a whole new level. The area offers camping spots where you can set up tents. As night falls, the sky turns into a celestial display of stars, undisturbed by city lights.

You'll fall asleep to the sounds of the forest and wake up to the chirping of birds and the first rays of sun filtering through the mist. It's the perfect way to immerse yourself in what Riverston has to offer.

Best Places to Visit in Riverston

1. Riverston Peak

Riverston Peak

Riverston Peak is a must-visit for anyone in the area. Known for its well-marked trail, it can be completed in just a few hours. As you ascend, you'll be treated to varying ecosystems and terrains, culminating in a panoramic view of the misty hills and forests surrounding the peak. It's a moderate hike that offers an incredibly rewarding experience.

2. Pitawala Pathana and Mini World's End

An evening in Pitawala Pathana

This plateau offers a unique hiking experience, allowing you to walk across a flat expanse set against the backdrop of the Knuckles Mountain Range. It's an ideal spot for panoramic photographs, especially at sunset. A well-defined trail makes it accessible for hikers of all levels. Rare flora and fauna in the area also attract nature enthusiasts.

Within Pitawala Pathana, you'll find Mini World's End. This scenic precipice offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys. This cliff is particularly popular among those seeking to capture beautiful sunrises or sunsets.

3. Sera Ella Waterfall

Sera Ella

This picturesque waterfall lies in a tranquil setting, making it a perfect sanctuary for those looking to escape the everyday hustle. The waterfall is easily accessed via a short hike.

During the wet season, the waterfall roars to life, making for a truly awe-inspiring sight, while the pool at its base offers a refreshing swim.

4. Bambarakiri Ella Falls

Located about a 40-minute drive from Riverston, this waterfall is both easily accessible and scenic. A short hike through the forest will take you to the waterfall, which is perfect for photography and relaxation. The pool at the base of the waterfall is ideal for a refreshing dip.

5. Manigala Rock

For the more adventurous hikers, Manigala Rock offers a challenging but gratifying experience. The hike to the summit crosses varying terrains and ecosystems, providing an excellent opportunity to observe the area's rich biodiversity.

Once at the top, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views that make the strenuous ascent well worth the effort.

6. Thelgamu Oya

Originating from the Knuckles mountain range, Thelgamu Oya is famous for its pristine water. It's also known for 'Galpandiya', a type of endemic fish. It's a great place to relax and take a swim after a long day of hiking and sightseeing.


When to Visit

The best time to visit Riverston depends on what you're looking to get out of your trip. If hiking is your primary aim, the dry months from January to March offer ideal conditions.

However, the monsoon season, running from May to August, brings a unique beauty to the area. The mist is denser, the foliage greener, and the rivers and waterfalls are at their most majestic.

How to Get There

From Colombo, you can take the Central Expressway to Kurunegala. You can head over to Ibbagamuwa and take a turn towards Palapathwela. From there, it is a short distance to Riverston.

Alternatively, you can take the road from Kurunegala to Matale. From Matale to Riverston, it is only about a 1.5-hour drive.

While public transportation options are available, they are limited. A private vehicle not only offers a more comfortable ride but also the freedom to stop and admire the scenery. The roads can be rough and uneven in some areas. So, we recommend you get a vehicle ideal for rough terrain.

Where to Stay in Riverston

Be sure to find a place with a good view...

There are very few hotels near Riverston. So, if you want a luxury stay you should book them a good amount of time in advance.

However there are plenty of guesthouses and homestays in the area that offer a hospitable experience.

Tips for Travelers

  • Safety First: While Riverston is generally safe, natural terrains come with risks. Be cautious, especially in misty conditions that can make trails slippery.
  • Proper Footwear: Wear good quality, non-slip hiking boots to navigate the trails safely.
  • Hire a Local Guide: Highly recommended for navigating challenging trails and for local knowledge on safe bathing spots, waterfalls, and other attractions.
  • Stay Hydrated: Be sure to take enough water to last your entire hike or exploration.
  • Be Prepared for Temperature Drops: If you're camping, pack for cooler temperatures at night, including warm clothing and sleeping gear.
  • Help Conserve the Area: Be mindful of natural habitats and wildlife. Help protect this delicate environment.
  • Check Weather Forecast: Before setting out, check the weather conditions, especially if you plan to hike or camp.

Nearby Attractions

1. Knuckles Mountain Range:

Extending beyond Riverston, Knuckles is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known for its biodiversity, hiking trails, and scenery, this mountain range offers many hiking opportunities and otherworldly scenery.

2. Wasgamuwa National Park

This national park is a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife, including elephants. The park offers safari opportunities, allowing visitors to get up close with Sri Lanka's native species in their natural habitat. It's a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts.

3. Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple

Situated in the nearby town of Matale, this historic temple complex is known for its intricate murals and rock inscriptions. The temple gives a glimpse into Sri Lanka's rich cultural and religious history and is a serene and spiritual place.

4. Moragahakanda Reservoir

This newly constructed reservoir is one of the largest in Sri Lanka. It is a stunning man-made marvel and offers some spectacular views.

The scenic landscapes, the adventurous activities, and the serenity that envelops the area make it a must-visit spot in Sri Lanka. Whether you are a traveler looking for your next adventure or someone just exploring nature, make sure to include this destination in your travels through Sri Lanka.

This post first appeared on Wonders Of Ceylon, please read the originial post: here

Subscribe to Wonders Of Ceylon

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription