St. Lucia… it’s a beach paradise, right? Right. It’s also an amazing place to pull on your sturdiest boots and get knee-deep in nature. The island is studded with almost as many places for hiking as it has places for sunbathing. Some are challenging, some are easy, all are beautiful. But with so many places to explore, where do you start? Find out as we guide you through the best places for hiking in St. Lucia.
There aren’t many places you can jump straight from the car into the heart of nature, but then again, there can’t be too many places like Toraille Waterfall in the world. Park up in the car park before walking the short distance through a small botanical garden to reach the small but glorious waterfall. Once you’re there, you’ve got a choice: either enjoy a relaxing dip first or set straight off into the surrounding forest to enjoy some spectacular scenery before working your way back down to the falls. If you’ve worked up a sweat during the hike, the refreshing qualities of the waterfall (not to mention the massaging effect of the water cascading over your shoulders) will soon have you feeling fresh as a daisy.
The Pitons are one of St. Lucia’s most iconic sights. These two mountainous volcanic plugs (named Gros Piton and Petit Piton) have been deemed so significant, they’ve earned the title of World Heritage Site… and, of course, become one of the island’s most popular destinations in the process. Soaring like beacons from the sea on either side of the Jalousie Bay, they can be seen for miles around. But as with most things, there’s nothing like experiencing them up close and personal. Of the two, Gros Piton is the favorite for hikers. Covered in rainbow-colored vegetation and home to a vast array of native species (including, at least according to Wiki, around 27 bird species, 3 native rodents, 3 bats, 8 reptiles, and 3 amphibians), it offers spectacular scenery and equally breathtaking views. The hike to the summit takes a few hours, so be sure to bring plenty of water and some sun protection. It’s also advisable to hire a local guide to get the best of the experience.
The Tet Paul Nature Trail
Known to locals as the “Stairway to Heaven”, the Tet Paul Nature Trail may not be very long (expect to complete it in around 45 minutes), but what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in views. Offering stunning panoramas over the southern side of St. Lucia, including Jalousie Bay, the iconic Pitons, Fond Gens Libre, Choiseul, Maria Island, and Vieux Fort, the scale and majesty of the scenery is breathtaking. As tetpaulnaturetrail.com notes, the hike itself is of easy to moderate difficulty, making it suitable for most age-ranges and fitness levels. Along the way, you’ll discover no end of native flora, including exotic fruit trees like guava, avocado, and soursop. There are also several historic sights to enjoy, not to mention a great little picnicking area that makes the ideal place to savor your lunch while enjoying some of the most gorgeous views you’ll find on the island.
Mount Gimie enjoys the distinction of being St. Lucia’s tallest mountain. It also happens to be one of the island’s best places for hiking. Enveloped by tropical rainforest, studded with sparkling streams, and packed to bursting with every type of flora and fauna imaginable, it’s a great place to get down and dirty with the best of St. Lucia’s nature. The hike is strenuous, so be sure to pack plenty of water before you set off. It’s also worth mentioning that as some of the paths aren’t well marked, those without a first-class sense of direction would be well advised to hire a local guide to direct them.
Pigeon Island National Park
Pigeon Island National Park is packed with nature, history, and more breathtaking views than most of us could hope to encounter in a lifetime. Located on St. Lucian’s northwest tip, near Gros Islet and Rodney Bay, the park is set on a 44-acre island that’s connected to the mainland by a manmade causeway. Admission costs $10 for adults and $3 for children between ages 5 to 12 years old. Once you’ve landed on the island, you’ll be confronted with so much to do, you’ll struggle to pack it all into the 9 am to 5 pm opening hours. For those who prefer to take it easy, there are ancient military ruins to visit, an Interpretation Centre to learn more about the history of the island, and a historically themed restaurant to enjoy some local cuisine. For visitors who prefer to work for their lunch, there’s no shortage of places to hike, including an exceptionally scenic path up to the lookout point at the top of the Fort that offers stunning, far-reaching views over the mainland.
En Bas Saut Trail
Trip Advisor reviewers have some great things to say about En Bas Saut Trail. “The hike is beautiful- its about a 35 min hike down and you eventually get to a beautiful deserted waterfall! We took the longer loop out and it was absolutely stunning! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!” goes one, while another adds “Very beautiful trail. It reminded me of our favorite hikes on Kauai. We went early in the morning and only saw one other couple. There are some rocks on the entry to the lower waterfall pool but sandy after a few feet. It was refreshing and not too cold in July”. It’s not hard to understand the love… set far away from the sometimes hectic hustle and bustle of St. Lucia’s beaches, it’s a superb place to retreat into nature and discover exactly why St. Lucia is considered one of the gems of the Caribbean.