While St Croix isn’t exactly known for it’s hiking, there are a number of gems hidden in our bush. And at the end of each one you are rewarded with a view.
Hiking is a great way to experience the natural ecosystems of St Croix, which vary from arid grasslands to tropical rainforests. It can also be a much-needed reprieve on an island known for it’s amazing food and drinks!
However, the local vegetation is not always as accommodating the bartenders. Whenever hiking, be aware of touching plants. We have species that can cause rashes like poison oak, and that have thorns long enough to pop a car tire. No joke. So we recommend wearing at least sports sandals with thick soles and always sticking to the trail. Even if you see locals in flip-flops cutting their way through the bush.
And please, please, help keep our island pristine. Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.
Goat Hill, located right by the giant satellite dish (part of a radio telescope actually) on the East End, is a great spot if you want a quick sweat. And totally worth it if you’re looking for a view. It’s a mile and a half with 500 ft of elevation gain to one of the highest points on St Croix.
Once you make it to the top, after about 30 minutes of continuous hiking, you are rewarded with a 270-degree ocean view. To the south and east you’ll see the Caribbean Sea (along with the tip of Pt Udall), and to the north, the other Virgin Islands.
It’s a great morning or afternoon hike, and a classic sunrise summit for the early-birds out there. It’s also a dog-friendly trail. However, we do not recommend going in the middle of the day, because there is not an ounce of shade.
To get there, drive east to Cramer’s Park, parking near the end of the fence on the left side of the road. Across the road, to the left of the satellite dish, is a rocky jeep trail. Follow that straight up! About two-thirds of the way up is a false summit. It’s a great view but don’t stop there, you’re so close!
Jack n’ Isaac’s
The reward for this short walk, down to pristine secluded beaches and protected reefs, definitely outweighs the effort. Relatively gentle, the trail (just over a mile) is an excellent activity to enjoy the Caribbean’s natural splendor. And just next to the most eastern point of the United States, it feels like the edge of the world.
There is a small parking lot on the right side of the road just before Point Udall. From there, the trail takes you down through grass lands and srubby forest until you reach a beach with powdery white sand. This is actually East End Bay beach, and while it’s definitely a lovely spot, there’s more just around the corner.
Head to the very end (west) of the beach and a trail will lead you to Isaac’s Beach. And the west end of that beach a similar trail will take you to Jack’s Beach. Both these beaches offer exceptional snorkeling and a reprieve from the relatively crowded beaches closer to town. However, be sure to come prepared. The beaches have very little shade, and it’s a 15 minute walk back to your car, which can seem very long if you’re dehydrated.
This hike is definitely a great walk for dogs since there’s plenty of room to run and explore with relatively few visitors. Just be wary that they may not appreciate being dragged down there in the midday heat!
If you find yourself on the West End an hour or two before sunset, you’re in luck. The hike to the lighthouse is on the northwest tip of the island, with an unbroken view of the western horizon. It’s around three quarters of a mile with 150 ft of elevation gain one way, about 20 minutes at a moderate pace. But it goes by quick and it’s most definitely worth the trip. On a clear day you can see Puerto Rico!
This hike is great to get the blood moving (maybe before, maybe after a couple drinks) and the pay off is huge. An old decommissioned lighthouse marks the end of the trail, looking out over the North Shore of the island. You can see Cane Bay, the Tide Pools (next hike!), all the way to Salt River.
It’s also a great spot to watch the sun set with an uninterrupted view of the western horizon. Give yourself about 15-20 minutes to reach the lighthouse, then enjoy the colors only an ocean sunset can create. If the horizon is clear of clouds, look closely as the last bit of the sun disappears, you might see the green flash!
To get there, drive through Fredriksted and keep going north, past Rhythms at Rainbow Beach and the Monk Baths until the road turns to dirt—you’re almost there! Then you will enter an old military base. Park anywhere, and look for the path that goes through the chainlink fence and into the bush.
Generally dog-friendly, but be aware that you might see other people on the trail, especially around sunset.
The hike to the tide pools in Annaly Bay on the North Shore is a local favorite. On this 2.7-mile hike (one-way) you will experience a few of the island’s diverse ecosystems, including, of course, tide pools! However, this hike is slightly more treacherous than the others. For your first trip to the tide pools, consider going with a guide or a friend who has gone before.
The hike winds you through rainforest (read: up and down, prepare to sweat), opening up for some spectacular views, and down to a rocky beach. At the west end (far end) of the beach are some big volcanic rocks, around which are the tide pools. But this is the tricky part: you have to climb over/around these rocks to get to them. Not only are they sharp, but waves crash against these rocks, so it’s important to take a serious look at the conditions. If the waves are too big that day, maybe you stay on the beach. You still got an amazing hike!
But if the waves aren’t very big, you can time it right and get around the rocks while staying dry. You are rewarded with natural tide pools, as big as swimming pools, where you can swim and relax.
When choosing footwear, pick something with a thick sole that can get wet due to the sharp volcanic rocks. Your dog probably won’t like the tide pools for that reason, but they may like the walk to the beach!
To get there drive west along the North Shore road, past Cane Bay toward the Carambola Resort. Right before the guard shack take the left turn and drive up to a grassy parking lot. On the right there is a paved road that a four-wheeler could get up. Walk up there about 20 feet and look for a small trail through the bush on the right side, marked by a sign for the Trumbull Trail. You can also walk through the resort to the tennis courts and cross the big wooden bridge on the right. Again, a sign marks the trail.