US Virgin Islands Hiking
US Virgin Islands hiking is perfect for adventurous newly weds, nature-loving families and everyone in between. So regardless if you’re traveling with kids, a spouse or just yourself, you can find the perfect hike for you. On your next vacation to USVI, explore one of the many trails in St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
But before you start your trek, here are a few tips for hiking in the US Virgin Islands. First, remember to compensate for uphill terrain, exploring, swimming and scenic rests because St. John hiking, St. Thomas hiking and St. Croix hiking can vary drastically. Regardless of which of the three islands you choose to explore, loose clothing and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Also, remember to bring your own drinking water since safe drinking water is scarce once on the trails. After considering these tips, then you’re ready to explore the US Virgin Islands hiking trails on St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix. Some of the top hiking spots include:
St. John Hiking
For starters, nature lovers and hikers should strongly consider staying in St. John. Since so much of the land in St. John is protected by the Virgin Islands National Park, there are several hiking trails and nature preserves to visit. However, these are among some of the best hiking trails in St. Johns to try:
Mt. Annaberg Area: Mt. Annaberg in St. John is a kid-friendly hike at only 0.2 miles and can be completed in just .5 hours. Not only is the walk short for those with less stamina, but the walking area adjoins the paved Leinster Bay road, so it is relatively mild as well. Plus, the near by Mangrove forest and shallow reef flats provide good wildlife viewing of land crabs, wading birds and marine organisms.
Annaberg School Area: Another short but meanwhile hike to try in St. John is the Annaberg School Area. Similar to the Mt. Annaberg Area, this walking trail is only 0.2 miles and only takes .25 hours. Pair this with other hikes in the area or use this is a short time-filler. Either way, it runs by the ruins of one the Caribbean’s oldest public school houses. From here you and the family have views of Mary Point, Leinster Bay and Tortola.
Annaberg Sugar Mill Historical: Take the family on a historical US Virgin Islands hiking trip that is only 0.2 miles and 1 hour. The Annaberg Sugar Mill has a guided tour, so you can hike and learn about St. John’s sugar plantation and sugar factory ruins at the same time. If you’re lucky, you may even get a glimpse of the British Virgin Islands.
Brown Bay: For a little bit longer hike, walk the Brown Bay trail which is 1.6 miles and takes roughly 2 hours to complete. Starting from the ridge saddle, this trail is 0.7 miles out of Johnny Horn trail from Watermelon Bay. Plus, did we mention the trail borders Brown Bay and ascends over ridge overlooking Hurricane Church? Definitely worth your while.
Caneel Hill Spur: St. John’s Caneel Hill Spur is 0.8 miles and last about .75 hours. First the trail starts at Lind Point. Then, it crosses Northshore road and overlooks Cruz Bay and Caneel Hill trail. To be close to both of these trails, considering staying at Caneel Bay Resort in St. John.
Caneel Hill: With a length of 2.4 miles and hike time of 2 hours, Caneel Hill joins Cruz Bay village with Northshore road entrance to Caneel Bay. In addition, there is a 0.8 mile climb from Cruz Bay to scenic overlook atop Caneel Hill (elevation 719 feet), continuing on to Margaret Hill (848 feet), then descending to Northshore road through a forest environment.
Cinnamon Bay: This 1.1 mile, 1 hour hike begins 100 yards east of the entrance road into Cinnamon Bay Campground. The forested trail follows an old Danish plantation road uphill to its junction with Centerline Road. While you’re there, hike the Reef Bay trail head which is only 0.9 miles east of this junction along Centerline Road.
Francis Bay: The length of Francis Bay hike is 0.5 miles and 0.5 hours. Not too long and not too short, it begins at the west end of Mary Creek paved road. While hiking Francis Bay, you’ll walk through dry scrub forest, historic Francis Bay Estate House and onto the beach. A mangrove forest and brackish pond provide good bird habitat. Plus, snorkeling and fishing are allowed here.
Johnny Horn: One of the longer US Virgin Islands hikes, Johnny Horn is 1.8 miles and approximately 2.0 hours. Passing through sunny, upland dry forest and scrub, this historic track begins at Watermelon Bay and crosses the ridges southward to the paved road at Emmaus Moravian Church in Coral Bay.
Leinster Bay: The length of Leinster Bay hike is 0.8 miles and 0.5 hours. Follow the Old Danish Road eastward along the seashore from the Annaberg picnic site to Watermelon Bay. For extra activty, Leinster Bay in St. John also has good boat anchorage and swimming.
Lind Point: On the 1.1 miles, 1.0 hour Lind Point hike, you are connected between the National Park Visitor Center at Cruz Bay with Honeymoon Beach at Caneel Bay. The trail ascends 0.4 miles to scenic Lind Point overlook (elevation 160 feet), and at 0.7 miles, a side trail leads to Salomon Beach. Open dry forest with cactus scrub environment.
Peace Hill: For more sugar mills, hike the 0.1 miles and 0.25 hours at the Peace Hill. The scenic grassy overlook with old sugar mill tower and figure of Christ. 2.8 miles from Cruz Bay just off the Northshore Road make this one US Virgin Islands hiking experience you don’t want to miss.
Turtle Point: Appropriately named, Turtle Point is 0.6 miles long and .5 hours to hike. The trail begins at north end of Caneel Bay Plantation. Hikers wishing to use this trail should enter property through the main gate and register at the front desk.
Water Catchment: St. John’s Water Catchment hike is 1.0 miles and 0.5 hours. With a forest-canopied trail between Centerline Road and the Northshore Road, Water Catchment trail joins the Caneel Hill trail over a portion of its route.
Bordeaux Mountain: This 1.2 mile, 1.5 hour hike is recommended for more advanced hikers due to the steepness. While not suitable for young kids, Bordeaux Mountain connects the shady Bordeaux Mountain Road with Lameshur Bay, 1,000 feet below.
Drunk Bay: This hike is 1.2 miles and time takes about 1.5 hours. Walk to the south end of Salt Pond Bay Beach and turn east following the Drunk Bay trail along the north side of the salt pond.
Lameshur Bay: Connecting Lameshur Bay with Reef Bay Trail, this is one of the longer St. John’s hikes at 1.5 miles and 1.25 hours. The open dry forest makes a nice change of scenery.
Petroglyph: Length is 0.2 miles and time is 0.25 hours. Trail starts 1.5 miles down the Reef Bay trail. The many rock carvings by the pools are attributed to early Arawak Indians.
Ram Head: Another more challenging hike in St. John, Ram Head is 1 mile and 1 hour of rocky, exposed trail. Eventually, it leads to a unique blue cobble beach and then switchbacks up the hillside to its crest 200 feet above the Caribbean Sea. This hike is an adventure like no other!
Reef Bay: For a longer hike, try this 2.2 mile, 2 hour trail. Reef Bay descends through a shady, moist forest and a wide variety of plant life. You can even see remains of four sugar estates and abandoned farming communities along the way.
Salt Pond Bay: This trail is 0.2 miles and time is 0.25 hours. Salt Pond Bay begins at the parking area 3.9 miles south of Coral Bay. Hike graded trail down to Salt Pond Beach and picnic area through arid cactus scrub land. Good swimming and snorkeling. Because this area is generally very hot and sunny, extra drinking water and hats are recommended. Aim to hike Salt Pond Bay in the morning.
Yawzi Point: Being one of the shorter trails in St. John, Yawzi Point is only 0.3 miles and takes 0.25 hours to hike. Historically, people afflicted with the disease yaws had to live on this narrow peninsula. Today, the trail leads from Little Lameshur Bay Road through thorny scrub vegetation to isolated coves.
St. Thomas Hiking
While it’s usually true what they say about the hardest climbs having the best views, US Virgin Islands hiking is beautiful no matter where you go. In fact, even on St. Thomas, which is less known for its hiking, there are still several phenomenal views. Home to one of the best US Virgin Islands hiking trails, St. Thomas is definitely worth exploring.
Magens Bay Beach Trail: Descending from the top of Mahogany Run Road, Magens Bay Beach Trail is 1.8 miles in length. If anyone is looking for a little hiking or trail running while vacationing in St. Thomas, this is the perfect St. Thomas hiking trail for you.
St. Croix Hiking
St. Croix has a ton of history, which makes taking guided hiking tours so popular. Hiking in St. Croix is especially interesting because the island is home to the ruins of more than 155 sugar mills and the largest concentration of baobab trees in the Caribbean. The trees are imported from West Africa and are considered sacred.
St. Croix Heritage Trail: The St. Croix Heritage Trail is one of the Caribbean’s most notable sites. Established in 1999, the trail is 24 miles long and allows people to explore the whole island. The St. Croix Heritage Trail goes along scenic coastline, through cattle country, tropical forest and to historic seaport towns.