The trek up Adam’s Peak is known for its beautiful sunrise from the top of one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic mountains. This hike is incredibly popular among Sri Lankan’s because of its religious significance for Buddhists, Hindus Christians and Muslims. Because of its popularity, unless on a pilgrimage we would strongly recommend NOT climbing Adam’s peak during the busy season (December to April) as we have heard stories of the massive crowds that can add several hours to the hike and make competing for a view of sunrise at the peak difficult if not impossible.

Quan & Jesse at the Summit of Adam’s Peak at Sunrise

Adam’s Peak is not a traditional trek. Because of its popularity, souvenir stands line the first 25% of the trail and the hike is entirely on concrete and primarily up stairs…4,569 stairs by our count (we saw several posts saying there are 5,500 stairs but we counted much less), which can be tedious, particularly when you don’t know how close you are to the top.

The primary purpose of this post is for hikers to take a screenshot below of the highlights of the hike so they can quickly see how many steps they have left to reach the top. The conclusion of the post follows up with some suggestions for getting the best sunrise pictures and advice on whether it’s worth it to hike this mountain if you are a short trip to Sri Lanka like ours. You can find our 9 day Sri Lanka itinerary here.

This giant Buddha represents the start of the trek



1) Giant Buddha – 0 Stairs Climbed; 4,569 to go

2) Buddha Lying Down – 109 Stairs Climbed; 4,460 to go

3) Stairs Split in 2 Directions (but both lead to the same place and this is shortly after the climb gets much steeper for the rest of the way) – 634 Stairs Climbed; 3,935 to go

4) Sign Saying “Samanala Wilderness” – 1,608 Stairs Climbed; 2,961 to go

5) Sign On Left Side of Trial Quoting Theodore Roosevelt – 2,623 Stairs Climbed; 1946 to go

6) Walk Under Sign Saying “Not Adam’s Peak” – 3,453 Stairs Climbed; 1,016 to go

7) Sign Saying “(Last Tea Shop)” – 4,234 Stairs Climbed; 335 to go


Milestone #6 “Not Adam’s Peak” (almost there)

Advice on When to Climb

The town of Nallathanniya is where to stay before beginning your climb. We stayed at Daddy’s Guest Home which is a 2 Star Hotel and a 5 minute walk to the entrance of the Adam’s Peak trailhead. There are handful of similar hotels in the area and there is not much in the town so we would strongly recommend the following schedule:

  • Go to bed early the night before the hike
  • Wake up at 1:45 AM and head to the trail
  • You should be back at the hotel by 8 AM, have breakfast, take a nap till 11 AM and then leave

2 AM Leaving for the Trek

We had read several blog posts about staying 2 Days in Nallathanniya but aside from Adam’s Peak there’s not much to do, so we would recommend heading to your next destination the same day.

We enjoyed the Adam’s Peak hike, it was a cloudy morning so we were a little disappointed with the sunrise. But overall we found the scene with the crowds standing around waiting for the sunrise to be a but anti-climactic. The way to get best views are to rush down the stairs before the crowds right after sunrise before the crowds leave. You will have the best views and photo opportunities your first 30 minutes down the stairs.

Jesse 20 Minutes down from the Summit of Adam’s Peak after sunrise, a better view than the peak without the crowds

Is It Worth It?

The big question is “Was it worth to climb Adam’s Peak?” Our answer is we would not recommend it especially if you’re on a short trip (less than a month). We were on a 9 day trip across Sri Lanka and Adam’s Peak was out of the way and the hike and views were nice, but for us, not worth the detour. We would however strongly recommend Little Adam’s Rock which is both shorter and reward climbers with more breathtaking views.