Hiking in Tortola
The best way to see anywhere is to walk around it and
hiking in Tortola is certainly no exception.
The island is a veritable hikers heaven ranging from
the three trails in the Sage Mountain National Park, a favorite amongst
experienced hikers, to the strolls through some of the beautiful villages and
around the spectacular coast.
First of all, the high point, in more than one way, is
the Sage Mountain National Park 92 acres of what is not officially rain
forest (it has less than 100
inches of rain annually) but still has most of the characteristics you would
expect in one.
The park is open on a daily basis, from dawn until dusk and
admission is free and a single path leads to all three of the specially
designated trails, which all interconnect.
The first of these is the Tortola Rain Forest Trail a 20 minute one
way walk of less than a mile, leading off from the parking lot.
|young visitors exploring Tortola
This is a graveled and easy to walk trail, with signs identifying the
various types of tree and a rain shelter if theres one of those sudden
downpours you can get up here.
The second, and much more demanding, trail is known as
the Henry Adams Loop Trail and will take between one and two hours.
This trail starts along the Rain Forest Trail and wanders through the
best preserved parts of the primeval forest.
This is quite a steep hike at times and, because of the rain up here, it
can sometimes be rather slippery. Its
worth it, though, taking you right up to the massive Bullet wood trees.
The Mahogany Forest Trail, about a 30 minute walk for most
people, takes you to the highest point not only of the Sage National Park
but also of the entire British Virgin Islands - at 1,780 feet.
Unfortunately, the look out on the summit is very overgrown and you
cant really appreciate the views but there are many other benefits to be had
by experiencing these three very different hikes.
You can see many varied trees in the Park perhaps
one of the most interesting is the Pitch Apple the leaves of which used
to be used to make playing cards by the locals!
Theres not too much wildlife, apart from lizards.
The good news is that there are no poisonous snakes on Tortola.
You might well glimpse killi-killis (American kestrels), pearl-eyed
thrashers and, of course, the tortolas themselves the BVIs turtle doves.
Other cool hiking walks
There are many other delightful walks around Tortola that
will help the holidaymaker to really appreciate the beauty of the island and the
friendliness of the local population. The
northern coast, with its miles of secluded white sand beaches and its bananas
and mangos and groves of sea grapes and manchineel trees offers numerous
possibilities of wandering aimlessly or hiking purposefully between the various
places. My own special favorite
walks, I think, are around Long Bay and Smugglers Cove; the views are simply
stunning and you can fully appreciate the quality of the environment as you
It is this, perhaps, that makes hiking in Tortola so
special. You can take yourself away
from the beaches and just drink in the atmosphere of this Caribbean paradise by
walking around its lanes and through its forests.
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