Yesterday was definitely a top 10 day here on island, so I decided to take a little walk in the woods. I set out to hike the Caneel Hill trail where I knew I would be able to see spectacular views all the way out to St. Croix and Puerto Rico. I wasn’t disappointed.
For those of you who aren’t super familiar with the island, we are two-thirds National Park. This means we have a plethora of hiking trails ranging from the easy tenth-of-a-mile hike up to Peace Hill to the grueling 2.6 mile trek down to Reef Bay. The Caneel Hill trail is only a half mile each way, that’s if you start on the Caneel Hill Spur Trail like I did. This section of the trail begins across the street from the Virgin islands National Park sign, which is just beyond the Cruz Bay overlook.
So as you can see in the picture above, the trail to the top is only a half-mile. But don’t be fooled, it’s not merely a stroll in the woods. The terrain is rocky in spots and steep in others. There are several switchbacks too. This is definitely not a flip flop hike. I suggest wearing sneakers and bringing along a bottle or two of water. And because we lost a fair amount of trees last year, it’s pretty sunny in some spots. So I also suggest wearing sunscreen and some bug spray too.
As you start off on the spur trail, you will come to some power lines which will cross your path. No need to worry. These are not live wires, so simply climb over and then duck under them.
After about five minutes on the trail, you will come to an intersection. The Margaret Hill trail, which goes down to Mongoose Junction, will be on your right. Continue straight to get to Caneel Hill.
After you pass the intersection, you will walk through some areas of tall grass. We’ve received a lot of rain lately, so areas of the trail are a bit overgrown. You will also encounters a few switchbacks as you start to gain elevation.
After walking about 20 minutes (more or less depending on your speed and how many times you stop to enjoy the views), you will come to the “almost there” bench. This is a great spot to take a break, have a few sips of water and enjoy the incredible views.
Once you pass the “almost there” bench, it’s only 100 more yards until you are at the top. Once at the top, you will see another bench to rest on, as well as a lookout tower.
So again, depending how fast or slow you hike, it should take about 25-30 minutes to get to the lookout tower from the parking lot. You will also be covered with a fair amount of sweat. But the views at the top are totally worth it, I promise. Check out this quick video we took yesterday.
Gorgeous, isn’t it??!!
Once at the top, you can either turn around or continue straight. You can opt to take the trail down to the entrance of Caneel Bay or over to the Water Catchment trail, which leads to Centerline Road. I simply turned around yesterday and went back down.
If hiking from the parking lot beside the National Park sign up to the lookout tower and back, it’s about a mile round trip. My Apple Watch clocked it at just over 1,000 steps each way.
In terms of difficulty, 10 being “I can run 8 Tuff Miles” and one being “I struggle to lift the rum bottle when making my Painkiller,” I give this trail a solid five. I say that because it’s steep in some sections, hot from lack of shade, and the terrain has loose rock in some areas.
So if you like a nice little hike with stellar views, add the Caneel Hill trail to your list on your next visit. And in the meantime, have a great Monday everyone!!