Hiking Pidurangala Rock: Everything You Need to Know

This blog post features links and information which have been obtained on a press trip. However, as always, all opinions shared in this post are my own.

Hiking Pidurangala Rock in Sri Lanka is an unforgettable adventure. The hike is quick and easy and offers breathtaking views of the iconic Sigiriya Rock.

I hiked Pidurangala Rock during my ten-night trip to Sri Lanka and learned a lot. So, I put together this guide to help you understand whether this hike is suitable for you.

Getting to Pidurangala Rock

I recommend hiking Pidurangala Rock for sunrise. But this means you’ll need to travel to the start of the hike in the dark.

I took a PickMe car from my hotel in Habarana to Pidurangala Rock. 

PickMe is Sri Lanka’s version of Uber and is great for travelling around the country. But if you don’t have PickMe, most hotels should be able to arrange a car or a tuk-tuk for you.

Despite the early start (4:15am), plenty of drivers were available on PickMe. However, be sure to leave a little extra time, just in case that isn’t the same on the day you travel.

  • From Habarana to Pidurangala Rock, a tuk-tuk should cost 1,200lkr, and a car should cost 1,800lkr. Meanwhile, the journey itself will take about 25 minutes.

  • From Sigiriya to Pidurangala Rock, a tuk-tuk should cost 500lkr, and a car should cost 800lkr. Meanwhile, the journey itself will take about 15 minutes.

  • From Dambulla to Pidurangala Rock, a tuk-tuk should cost 2,200lkr, and a car should cost 3,400lkr. Meanwhile, the journey itself will take about 40 minutes.

These prices are all one-way, and some drivers may offer to wait for you at the start of the hike for an additional fee.

I found mobile phone signal was available at the start of the hike to book a separate PickMe back to the hotel. Alternatively, you’ll find available tuk-tuk drivers at the beginning of the hike.

Hiking Pidurangala Rock

I began the hike to the summit of Pidurangala Rock at 5:12am; the hike took 30 minutes exactly and included two stops.

The first stop was around 10 minutes into the hike after climbing what felt like a mountain of stairs. Despite the stairs, this part of the hike is well travelled with a clear path and some string lights.

The second stop was 5 minutes from the summit, and I waited in line. The final 5 minutes of the hike aren’t hiking; they’re more rock climbing. I’m 5ft 4in, and I still needed someone to boost me to climb this final part.

The hike to Pidurangala Rock is 0.77km, and the elevation gain is 115m.

Before hiking Pidurangala Rock, I read those numbers and figured you could do the hike at any time of the day. But even at 5:00am, the temperature was already 22°C (72°F), and the humidity was 97%.

As such, like most, I would highly recommend hiking Pidurangala Rock for sunrise. Plus, you get the best pictures at this time, too.

I reached the top of Pidurangala Rock at 5:42am and the sunrise that day was scheduled for 6:02am. While I saw the full sunrise, I left it very, very close. In the future, I’d look to give myself an extra 15 – 20 minutes.

By the time I reached the top of Pidurangala Rock, it was already busy, although there was plenty of space to sit down. I watched the sunrise, took some photos in front of Sigiriya Rock, and began making my way back down at 6:53am.

Despite it now being daylight, I took a wrong turn coming down from Pidurangala Rock. There are no signposts in English. As a result, I covered 1.29km coming down. Despite this, it still took me less than 30 minutes, and my heart rate was significantly lower.

I hiked Pidurangala Rock on my own as part of a small group. However, as a parent, I would not have been able to do this hike with my baby or toddler.

I’m 31, I’m in good health, and I’ve gone on several other hikes while travelling with my kids. 

I would have been able to do the first 80% of the Pidurangala Rock hike with a baby or toddler. But I wouldn’t have been able to do the final rock climbing part with them.

That said, I did notice one set of parents of a similar age with a baby in a sling and a toddler around 3 or 4 years old. I also saw another solo parent with a child around 7 years old, so it is possible.

With or without kids, you’ll want to be well-equipped for your Pidurangala Rock hike. Despite this being a well-visited attraction, there are no stalls or water access. While this is a very short hike, the heat, humidity and elevation gain mean you need at least one bottle of water.


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