Famous for its turquoise waters and pink sands, Bermuda has long been a hugely popular destination with beachcombers. Tiny but crammed with some of the most glorious beaches in the world, it's the ideal place to enjoy some sun, sea, and sand. In between beach breaks, there's a bunch to do, from discovering shipwrecks to playing golf and tucking into some fish chowder. There's also a huge variety of picturesque trails to enjoy. Whether you want to trek the jungle or stroll the sands, the island is a veritable paradise for hikers. Before you set off, here's everything you need to know about hiking in Bermuda
Best Time to Go
There's no bad time to go to Bermuda - thanks to its location near the Gulf Stream, it stays at a pretty even keel all year round, with no sudden or drastic fluctuations in temperature. That said, it's best to skip May and June if you want to beat the crowds. January through March is relatively quiet and the best time to grab a bargain - just bear in mind the weather can be a little too cold for swimming during the winter months.
The Geocache Trail
If you want to add a bit of extra interest to your hike, the Geocache Trail is ideal. Recommended by smartertravel.com as a great way to explore the island in an interactive way, the trail will take you through beaches, coastline, and forests. All of the geocaches are hidden in publicly accessible spots, but some are a little off the beaten path - if you want to get to them all, you'll need at least some degree of fitness. To access the coordinates of the caches, visit Geocaching.com. If you manage to find them all, you'll be rewarded with a commemorative coin from the Department of Conservation.
Walsingham Nature Reserve
If you've had enough of Bermuda's beaches, why not give its jungle a try? In fairness, it's less of a jungle than it is a 12-acre reserve called Walsingham Nature Reserve, but still - there's more than enough natural crystal caves, mangroves, sparkling blue lagoons, grottoes, and dense woodland to please intrepid spirits. The reserve is easy enough to explore alone - the paths are well marked and easy to traverse. However, if you want to learn more about the flora and fauna you'll see along the way, a guided tour comes highly recommended. Various tour operators offer eco-tours of the area, including Thinking of Bermuda (who combine Walsingham with two other reserves over a four-hour exhibition) and Hidden Gems of Bermuda, who offer a seven-hour tour that includes lake swims, cave explorations, and a quick stop at St. David's Lighthouse.
Another nature reserve you definitely won't want to miss is Cooper’s Island. Packed with nature trails, it's perfect for hiking. In addition to the scenery, there's a ton of wildlife to discover, including herons and giant land crabs scattered around the extensive salt marsh.
Bermuda Railway Trail
Recommended by nomadicmatt.com as one of the best activities in Bermuda, a hike along the 18-mile coastal Bermuda Railway Trail is a must for anyone who wants to discover as much of the island's natural beauty as possible. Stretching from St. George Town in the east to Somerset Village in the west, the trail cuts through the entire breadth of the island, passing through secluded beaches, historical sites, and wooded areas. If you can't face the whole 18 miles, you'll find various entry points along the way - a map of the entire trail and its access points can be found at visitors centers in the main towns. If you'd prefer some company along the way, The Walking Club of Bermuda organizes weekly walks beginning at 7 am each Sunday. Everyone's welcome and refreshments are provided at the end of the walk. Just be sure that whether you go alone or as a group, you come prepared- shade is in short supply, so be sure to have a good supply of water and sunscreen with you.
If you're looking for a unique experience, take the advice of bermuda-attractions.com and head for Nonsuch Island. Isolated, unspoiled, and crammed with rare, tropical flora and fauna, the island (which earned its name for its unbeatable beauty and remoteness) is the perfect place to escape the crowds and feel at one with nature. As the island is a restricted conservation area, you'll need to book a place on one of the 2 tours that head out each week. Although you won't be able to shoot off wherever and whenever you want, the upside is that the accompanying guides are extremely knowledgeable about the island, and can give a great insight into the birds, fish, and plants that have made it their home. As another plus, the powerboat ride to and from the island offers some great photo opportunities, not to mention a whole load of fun to boot.
Blue Hole Park
If you want to beat the heat, don't miss a visit to Blue Hole Park. Located in a peaceful spot off-the-beaten-path, you can access the park via the entrance point at the Rubis gas station just before the causeway bridge. Once you're in, follow the path that leads along the ocean. Along the way, you'll see numerous animals, caves, and rock formations. At the end, there's a stunning grotto filled with crystal clear water to cool off in. The area surrounding the grotto is packed with short hiking trails to explore before heading back.
Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
If you want to enjoy nature without taxing yourself too much in the process, head out to Spittal Pond Nature Reserve. The reserve boasts a moderately easy, rewarding hike that passes through woodlands, ponds, rock formations, and historical sites. Along the way, you'll find various informational signs to fill you in on the history and ecology of the area. The views from the clifftop are breathtaking, so be sure to pack a camera along with your sunscreen.
Built back in the 1870s to protect the Royal Naval Dockyard, Fort Hamilton now stands as a great place to walk, picnic, and enjoy the spectacular views over Hamilton and its harbor. The hike to the top can be challenging, but once you're there, there's plenty of easy trails around the gardens to enjoy.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson