A Horton plain is well recognized for its rich biodiversity, its flora given to a high level of endemism. Traditionally Mahaeliya in Sinhala, it was rechristned as Horton Plains after Sir Robert Horton, Sri Lanka's British Governor in 1831-37. it was gazetted as a Nature Reserve in 1969 and was upgraded as a National Park in 1988 because of its unique watershed and biodiversity values. Leopard, Bearmonkey ( Trachypithecus vetulus monticola), Barking deer, Giant squirrel, Fishing cat, Wild boar.

The total extent of the Horton Plains is 3159.8 hectares. Formed as an amphitheatre of beautiful mountains and grassland, Horton Plains is a highlight in the central hill country. At 2359 meters, Totupolakanda in the northern part of the park is the third tallest mountain of Sri Lanka. To its west Kirigalpotte rises to 2393 meters to be the second tallest. Horton Plains cradels Belihul Oya, Bagawanthala Oya and Agara Oya which are the source streams for the country's major rivers viz Walawe, Kelani and Mahaweli. The latitudinal range of the park is 2100-2300 meters.

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