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Hiking St. John's National Park

Interested in hiking through one of the world's most beautiful tropical retreats? Then check out St. John's Island in the Caribbean, where more than three-fifths of the land has been preserved by a wonderful national park. Many have actually been surprised by the fact that, for an island that contains only about 20 square miles of land, St. John offers an incredibly extensive series of hiking trails that will guide you and other vacationers through a wide selection of amazing island treasures. With everything ranging from exceptional viewpoints of the ocean, bays and distant islands to the central woodlands that are filled with dry cactus plants as well as thick wild forests, the hiking routes here will take you through one of the more impressive national parks that the United States has to offer. In addition, hikers like you can follow the park's trails through amazing isolated beaches, old ruins of sugar cane distilleries and mysterious petroglyphs carved out by ancient civilizations that once inhabited the island of St. John. To the vacationer like you who enjoys getting to witness the rich cultural history of your destination - wherever it might be - through light athletic activity of morning or afternoon hiking, the trails here at St. John's national park promise the fulfillment your greatest expectations.

Although certain adventurous hikers may like to throw out the map and follow their intuition through the sloping wonders of the natural world, we can't help but share with you what we believe to be some of the more beautiful and exciting trails to follow. To start out with, if you are a new arrival to the island you can take the Lind Point trail from the park's Visitor Center, which is located right at Cruz Bay to Honeymoon Beach. Be sure to bring a camera - along with the energy to hike uphill a little ways - because after just under half a mile the trail will take you to the island's most famous vista point. From the 160 foot high Lind Point overlook you can survey a beautiful panorama of the island's lush tropical greenery superimposed upon the rich Caribbean blue of the ocean. Moving on, the trail leads you through a dry scrub area rich in cacti and other interesting plants and, at this point, offers a turnoff to the white sand and beautiful blue water of Salomon Beach. After just over a mile - and an hours' hike - you will reach the trails final destination at Honeymoon Beach. In order to put in a slightly longer hike with similar scenery, the adventurous vacationer can take the Lameshur Bay trail that spans 1.5 miles to puts its namesake together with the Reef Bay Trail, giving hikers access to both a pond used for salt as well as fascinating beach with rubble from coral reef that is located at Europa Bay.

One of the highest levels on the island can be attained by hiking up the mile-long Ram Head trail which leads adventurers from Salt Pond Bay Beach through a mysteriously beautiful blue-rock outcropping before winding up switchbacks to its 200 ft. crown.

Going inland a little bit further, there is a wide selection of trails to chose from that will lead you to the marvels of nature as fascinating relics of the island's rich and extensive history. The short Annaberg Sugar Mill Historical trail is an excellent departure point for the vacationer like you who is eager to learn more about the island's colonial history. By taking you through a series of sugar plantations that date back possibly as far as the early 1700's - when Dutch settlers set up shop here - this great trail gives you a sense of the European influence on the island while allowing you to gaze out at the British Virgin Islands in the distance. Another intriguing route of exploration can be found on the Petroglyph trail that shoots off about a mile and a half along the Reef Bay trail. Taking excited vacationers to pristine pools that are surrounded by ancient rock carvings, you can share the awe of this legacy believed to have been created by the Arawak Indians who were the island's pre-Columbian inhabitants.

If you are interested in finding out about guided hiking tours, some notable guide services can be found through Hike St. John and Thunderhawk Guided Trail Tours.

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John Big Hat Walsh

See you on the Island,

John "Big Hat" Walsh

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