The 5 Best Hiking Trails in St John
For most visitors to St John, the primary attraction will be the scenic beaches, but there is more to the natural wonder of this island than taking some time by the sea. If you like nature trails and hiking, then you should consider checking out a few of the top hiking trails. With over 7,000 acres of national park on St John, visitors can find a variety of different trails that travel a range of terrains.
Reef Bay Trail
This is one of the more challenging trails on the island, but it is also offers one of the best hiking experiences in St John. This is definitely an outing where you will want to make sure that you have a tough pair of shoes and a lot of water. The trail is only a little more than 2-miles long, but it descends rapidly, and much of the terrain is rocky. As you navigate the trail, you travel through tropical forest, pass old sugar estates and finish down to the beach. Additionally, if you choose to go the extra distance, you can also see petroglyphs from the pre-Columbian era of the island.
The toughest part of the hike will be the walk back because it is a mostly uphill on the way back. However, you can avoid the return hike by scheduling a tour from the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park. The guided tour includes a ride to the trailhead, a guide and a boat ride at the end of the trail.
Cinnamon Bay Trail
The Cinnamon Bay Trail is a nice hike for people that want something a little more leisurely than the Reef Bay Trail. The trail is about a half mile long, and it travels through forested land that is home to a variety of native plant and animal species. Hikers can also take in some history as they pass by the ruins of an old sugar factory from the Dutch colonial times. The trail is in close proximity to Cinnamon Bay Campground, the Cinnamon Bay Boardwalk trail and it ends at the Cinnamon Bay beach, so there is a lot to experience on and around this trail.
Francis Bay Boardwalk Trail
This is another great outdoor opportunity for visitors to the island. The half-mile trail takes about 30 minutes to complete, and it takes the hiker through scrub forest, mangrove forest and to a pond. The boardwalk makes this trail very accessible, and it can even be navigated by people that have some mobility issues. The forestland of the Francis Bay Trail is known for its bird watching opportunities, and visitors can take advantage of the viewing platforms to catch a glimpse of some of the native bird species. Additionally, this trail will take hikers past the Francis Estate House and down to a beach, so you have a nice mix of nature and history when you take this walk.
Salt Pond Trail
With the Salt Pond Trail, you find another easy walk that just about any person can handle. It starts at the Salt Pond Beach parking lot, and it covers about a quarter of a mile, where it finishes at the beach. You have a picnic area, some cactus scrubland and a beach that can be good for snorkeling and swimming. For a little more hiking, visitors could also head to the south end of the beach to complete the Rams Head Trail.
Rams Head Trail
This trail provides a great additional hike at the end of the Salt Pond Beach trail. It’s about a mile long, and it takes an hour on average to complete. This trail has cliffs that overlook the Caribbean for some stunning views, and it closes the walk by taking the hikers to a blue cobble beach. If you are at Salt Pond Beach, this trail is definitely worth the hour, but you will need to be careful with your footing during some stretches.
Visitors to St John can find some nice active fun when they choose to hike the many trails that cut through the National Park. You have different types of plant and animal life, trails that vary in difficulty and a range of different attractions, both natural and historical. St John has trails that could appeal to just about any person that enjoys nature.