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6 Forest Reserves For One-Day Trips

Under a tree, or on top of a rock - bask in what nature has to offer.

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We all like to lie back and relax on a weekend but not every one of us can manage to travel a long distance to get that. Maybe it is job-related, housework and then there are people with studies and exams lurking in the near future. 

Still, any weekend is a blessing that should be used to its full potential. Better to actually get some fun out of it - rather than wasting it away. 

So, taking that into account, we decided to put together this list of small forests that you can take a day trip, explore and enjoy. 


Picture credits: Travel with Kuvinda

This is a picturesque spot, adjoining the Sri Pada wildlife reserve. One can find endemic birds, butterflies, frogs behaving in their natural habitat and this place has a wide variety of plants as well. The Bambarabotuwa river that flows bordering the reserve elevates the beauty of the overall experience. It's advised, that you get someone from the nearby village on your excursion if you want to get the best out of your time. Because, while it is enjoyable, there is the slim chance of you getting lost here. 


If you head to Millawita, Kandegoda through Colombo, Ahaliyagoda across Parakadywa, and then down Malawa - Waladura road, you can catch the Dumpus Waterfall as well. This is quite a beautiful fall, and a great spot to enjoy a dip and get something in your tummy tank. You can easily ask around and get a guide from nearby to lead your way, just to be on the safe side. 

Gilimale reserve that is on Kalu river valley hides a treasure trove of biodiversity. There is an abundance of Butterflies, birds, frogs and serpents here. Besides you can find a wide variety of trees which is quite similar to the biodiversity in Sri Paada forest reserve. And if you are up to it you can easily take a detour to Maapana fall towards the Sri Paada village, to get the most out of your adventure. 


Kalugala is a hermitage. You’ll have to take the Uduwita, Pimbura, to reach Bellana going across Colombo, Bandaragama, Anguruwathota and then from Polgampola, Rathmale Road in order to get to Hewassa Road and then arrive at Ratnapura-Kalugala. After which you have to find your way from locals to get to the hermitage. This distance would cost you around 3hrs but you can rest assured that any tiredness will get whisked away by the beauty of the place. 

Even though you won't get to see much in the terms on wild animals here, the whole area is filled with songs from birds and nature sounds to help you relax while you let your worries slip away.


If you take the highway and get off from Pinnadoowa, and go down Udugama road across Akmeemana, it shouldn't take more than an hour to reach. Since there is a proper road to go through the forest, you won't need to seek help from a guide either. Since this area is close to Sinharaja reserve, you can observe a range of native bird species, reptiles and mammals even for academic purposes. This spot is an excellent one to pull out your camera and practise your photography skills.


If you want to chill out nearby a beautiful waterfall, we can suggest this Malamure forest. Even though it is in a bit away from the nearby villages, this spot is a boon to those who want to explore biodiversity or to snap some memorable pictures of nature. 

The wildlife diversity here is quite similar to the one you see in Kanneliya Forest Reserve. There are valuable medicinal herbs tucked away amidst its trees standing tall. 

Taking the Colombo - Mathara highway is the easiest option to get here. Exit from Kurundugaha and then head towards Pitigala across Elpitiya - Katandola - Amugoda. This really shouldn't take that long either. If you come from Pitigala- Mapalagama road and turn towards Malambure from Podiwela Junction you will hit the jackpot. But you're gonna have to seek help from a guide if you plan to head deep into the forest passing the Malambure fall. 


We really don’t have to introduce this place, which is best known for hiding a treasure of valuable herbs, plants and the sheer biodiversity. Anyone who’s looking to catch a glimpse of native plants and birds won't be disappointed here. Given its diversity, you can even use the area to study reptile species, like snakes and toads. 

Picture credits: Serandib

Taking its enrichments from Madu Ganga, this forest entirely borders the Sinharaja Sanctuary. The Pahankida fall is located right in this forest, waiting for you to explore. 

If you head to Baduraliya from Colombo - Agalwatte road and then take the Hadigalla road till the end, you can get yourself to the Roona. Again, you are better off getting a guide to help you plan to traverse the forest. 

Regardless of where you plan to get yourself to, please remember to not leave behind nothing more than footprints and bring nothing more than pictures. While these adventures are not for everyone, give these a try during a weekend and let us know how it went. 

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