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Hiking in St Barts - The Best Hikes in Saint Barthelemy

Posted by Guillaume on Apr 16, 2024 2:57:28 PM

Hiking in St Barts - The Best Hikes in Saint Barthélemy

Explore the hidden gems of St. Barth through its plethora of enchanting small hikes. These trails unveil breathtaking vistas and secluded spots reachable solely by foot or by sea. Embark on a journey of discovery, immersing yourself in the essence of St. Barth's natural beauty. Hiking in St Barts is an exceptional experience, offering unparalleled opportunities to explore its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity.

Moreover, these hikes offer a family-friendly outing, providing an opportunity for shared experiences and cherished memories. Hiking these trails unveils beautiful scenery and St. Barth's flora and fauna. Plus, it keeps you in shape after indulging at Nikki Beach or Bonito! So lace up your hiking boots, grab your loved ones, and let the exploration begin. St. Barth awaits, ready to enchant and inspire with its myriad of captivating trails.

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Exploring St. Barts island on Foot - A Hiker's Paradise

St. Barth offers abundant opportunities for hiking, catering to both seasoned adventurers and casual explorers alike. Trails are typically short and manageable. These hikes lead to stunning viewpoints and serene natural pools, offering glimpses of the island's unspoiled beauty. Along the way, hikers encounter the diverse local fauna, Molokoï turtles to agile wild goats navigating rocky terrain. The flora is equally captivating, showcasing various species of Cactus, gaiac trees, and other indigenous plant species. Hiking trails often provide solitude and tranquility, allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the island's peaceful ambiance. For those eager to venture off the beaten path, we offer detailed information and invaluable advice on self-guided hikes. Note that it's also possible to hire a knowledgeable guide can enhance the hiking experience. This will provide invaluable insights and enriching encounters along the way. Whether embarking on a solo expedition or opting for guided exploration, St. Barth's hiking trails promise unforgettable adventures amidst breathtaking natural landscapes.

Trail Highlights - The Best Hikes in St. Barts

Colombier Beach Trail

Follow the 30 to 45-minute trail leading to Colombier Beach, accessible solely by foot or boat. Begin by heading toward Flamand, continuing through to Petite Anse where the road transitions into dirt. Park further along the road and locate the "Colombier Beach" sign to start the trail.

The path traces the coastline, eventually crossing to reach Colombier Beach, which faces northwest, providing shelter from prevailing eastward winds and boasting pristine waters. As a natural reserve, it offers excellent snorkeling opportunities.

Descending to the beach requires caution; stairs on the right provide access, but some walking in water may be necessary. Alternatively, you can descend from various points, but watch out for slippery surfaces.

With no shops or restaurants nearby, ensure you bring all necessary supplies, especially drinking water, for your visit.

Natural Pools of Grand Fond

Explore the Grand Fond Trail, also known as the Washing Machine Hike or the Natural Pools of Grand Fond. The trail is accessible from Grand Fond Beach, characterized by its rocky terrain and coral formations. It begins at the western end of the beach, where hikers ascend a clay cliff to commence their journey. While the hike itself is generally moderate, caution is advised, particularly for those with small children, due to narrow sections along cliff edges.

As you progress, a striking vista unfolds above the secluded cove dubbed the Washing Machine. This area is renowned for its powerful swells and occasional sightings of local bodyboarders braving the tumultuous waters. Exercise caution when approaching the shoreline, as the strong currents can be hazardous for swimming. Continuing along the trail, visitors encounter the natural pools nestled below, providing a tranquil setting for a refreshing dip. Though lacking the vibrant turquoise hues of other coastal areas, these pools offer a serene retreat amidst the rugged landscape.

The trail culminates at an elevated viewpoint boasting panoramic vistas of Saline Beach, offering a rewarding conclusion to the hike. For the return journey, hikers simply retrace their steps along the same path. This affords additional opportunities to appreciate the untamed beauty of the Grand Fond Trail.


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The Natural pools of Petit Cul de Sac

The natural pools of Petit Cul de Sac once captivated the imagination of visitors with their enchanting beauty. They were often depicted in photographs and travel accounts. However, it is with a heavy heart that we must convey the closure of this trail. A tragic incident in 2021, resulting in the loss of a 12-year-old girl's life, prompted authorities to prohibit access to the area. The devastating accident deeply affected the close-knit community of St. Barth, highlighting the profound impact such events can have on a small island community. With respect to the girl's memory and for safety reasons, we highly recommend to respect the trail's closure. While the allure of exploration may be strong, it is essential to prioritize safety. Respecting the regulations put in place helps prevent further tragedies.

Guanahani Walk

This walk circles the small peninsula by the Guanahani Hotel in Grand Cul de Sac. Park in the hotel lot and use the public beach access. It takes just 15 minutes to walk around the rock. Enjoy stunning views of the Grand Cul de Sac Lagoon and Ilet Tortue. Treat yourself to a drink at the Guanahani beach restaurant afterward!

The Lighthouse, jardin du roi Oscar II

While not quite a hike, there's a lovely stroll around the lighthouse above Gustavia. You'll enjoy beautiful views overlooking Gustavia Harbour and the ocean. It's a perfect spot for sunset; consider bringing along a few drinks and some nuts for a relaxing time.The view from the Lighthouse above Gustavia

Fort Karl

Perched above Shell Beach, the remnants of Fort Karl, once a crucial stronghold during St. Barth's Swedish era, now offer a serene setting for exploration. Despite its dilapidated state, the site boasts an easy walking path amidst historical ruins, providing picturesque views of Shell Beach and the caribbean sea . Informative signs detailing local flora enrich the experience, making it an educational outing for all ages. Perfect for families, the walk to Fort Karl blends history, nature, and scenic beauty into a memorable excursion.

Toiny Point

Toiny Point offers a pleasant and kid-friendly walk. Begin by parking at Toiny Beach's parking lot. Start walking along the beach towards Hotel le Toiny Beach Club. Once you reach the restaurant, continue along the cliff, following the small path along the coast to reach a lookout point . After reaching the point, you can proceed to the other side. The path will ascend, leading you to a flat and windy area. From there, return using the cement road utilized by Toiny Hotel to access their restaurant. You can pass through the restaurant and return to the beach, making your way back. This path offers beautiful views, and if surfers are out, it's the perfect place to observe them up close.

Les Crêtes

Les Crêtes is a challenging hike that leads from above Grand Fond down to the natural pools, tracing the ridge of the mountains. The path can be difficult to follow at times, so we strongly advise hiring a guide for this trek.

Hiking Tips and Essentials

Packing for the Trails - Essential Gear and Supplies

Most hikes are generally straightforward, and you may not require much gear. However, here's a list of helpful items you might want to consider bringing along:

1. Backpack: Small, lightweight backpack to carry your essentials.

2. Water: Bring a water bottle or hydration pack.

3. Snacks: Pack lightweight, non-perishable snacks like trail mix or energy bars.

4. Clothing: Wear weather-appropriate clothing and comfortable footwear.

5. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

6. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses and a hat.

8. Safety Whistle: Carry a whistle to signal for help if needed.

10. Light Source: Carry a small flashlight or headlamp.

12. Trash Bag: Pack out all your trash to leave no trace.

Connecting with Nature - Wildlife and Conservation

Fragile ecosystems in St Barth are impacted by climate change, human activities, and non-native species, leading to alterations in food chains and ecosystem balance. Conservation efforts target emblematic and endangered species, as well as overall biodiversity. Future actions focus on addressing urbanization, land clearing, and soil erosion to preserve terrestrial and marine environments. This includes regulating the population of wild goats on the island to prevent coastal ecosystem sedimentation.

Safety First - Guidelines for a Secure Hiking Experience

Most hikes and walks in St Barth are relatively easy. However, it's important to keep a few safety measures in mind to ensure a safe outing:

  1. Plan Your Hike: Choose a trail suitable for your fitness level and research the weather.

  2. Stay Hydrated: Bring plenty of water

  3. Wear the Right Gear: Dress in lightweight, breathable clothing and wear sunscreen and a hat.

  4. Time Your Hike: Go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day.

  5. Watch Your Step: Pay attention to the trail and watch out for obstacles.

  6. Hike with a Buddy: It's safer to hike with a friend or in a group.

  7. Listen to Your Body: Take breaks and know when to turn back if you're feeling tired or unwell.

  8. Leave No Trace: Pack out all trash and leave nature as you found it.

  9. Know Emergency Procedures: Familiarize yourself with how to get help if needed.

Indeed, hiking in St Barth is a fantastic way to explore the island. Immerse yourself in the local atmosphere, and enjoy quality time with friends and family. You'll encounter the island's diverse flora and fauna amidst breathtaking scenery. So, lace up your shoes and have a blast!


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