Sunrise hike to Ella Rock – The ultimate guide

Sunrise at Ella Rock

Uff, we are still pretty sleepy when our alarm clock wakes us up at 3:30 in the morning. “Hiking now?!” we thought to ourselves and reluctantly threw on our gear. Today, we plan on hiking to the famous and popular Ella Rock. The view is supposed to be especially beautiful at sunrise. So we try to wash away the sleepiness and off we go! If you want to do the same thing, you can find out everything you need to know right here!

General information about the hike

We recommend to start hiking at 4:00 am to be sure to arrive in time for the sunrise (usually around 6:00 am). This gives you the advantage of “free seat selection”. We needed about 4 1/4 hours for the entire hike (meaning: 1.5 h up, 1 1/4 h enjoing the view, 1/2 h second viewpoint and back, 1 h back). Although it was not crowded at the top, it is nicer when you can still choose your place freely. The hike itself is doable for anyone with a minimum basic athleticism.

In the beginning, the trail runs along the railroad tracks for a few hundred meters before turning left onto the actual hiking trail. The hike leads through scrub, tea plantations and mixed and coniferous forests. At first, the trail is rather flat with little incline. The last part of the hike gets much steeper (but still doable) and runs mainly over sand with roots. Since it gets relatively cold at the top, we recommend packing a jacket or thick sweater, especially if you have some time to kill until sunrise. The hike itself is not signposted, so it is recommended to download an offline map in advance.

Important info

Before you start your hike up to Ella Rock, you should download one of the offline map apps like or and follow the paths indicated there. We have been told that false signs have been placed on the trail to mislead hikers, leaving them to rely on local “guides” to lead them back to the correct path. We found the hike to be quite forward and simple using and in our opinion you don’t need any signs nor guides. However, we ourselves did not have the experience that they wanted to lure us to a wrong path.

Starting point for the hike to Ella Rock

Those who drag themselves out of bed early in the morning are rewarded with a beautiful sunrise and mild temperatures. The later it gets, the hotter it gets and therefore the more difficult the climb to the rock. In total, we needed about 1.5 hours for it at a slow pace .
The starting point of the hike to Ella Rock is about 4 km from the center of Ella at the train station Kithalella. This is easily accessible by tuktuk, car or scooter. If you have rented a vehicle, you can leave it here without any problems. You start facing the tracks on the right side. The first meters you walk along the railroad tracks. The beginning of the actual hiking trail is very well marked on, for example.

What do I need for a hike to Ella Rock?

  • Water (1.5 l per person should be enough)
  • A few bananas
  • something for breakfast
  • warm clothes (softshell jacket and hiking pants e.g.)
  • offline map (e.g. or
  • headlamp or flashlight
  • Camera
  • Sturdy shoes
  • sunscreen (for the hike down)

Ella Rock on your own or with a tour/ guide?

For us that’s an easy answer – definitely on your own! The hike is totally easy and doable without a guide or tour if you follow the tips above.

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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