When you’re on a yacht charter vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can enjoy five hikes on St John.
Picture this: you’re sailing briskly around St John and the US Virgin Islands. The trade winds fill your sails, and the rolling waves put you at ease. As you drift off into a state of relaxation, you gaze upon the steep, rugged shorelines of St John.
The island shoots out of the sea, covered in dense old forests. This island formed thousands of years ago through volcanic action is now calling out your name.
We all know the Virgin Islands has world-class sailing, but St John also has some of the best hiking in the region. With the vast majority of the island a national park, the views you seek are untouched and waiting for your footsteps.
So when you’re at the mooring and watching the sunrise next to St John, it is a great time to take the dinghy to the beach and go for a wander.
Below we have listed some of the best hikes on the island, all accessible from the beach. So no disconnect from your yacht to the viewpoint you seek!
Lind Point Trail to Honeymoon Beach is the first of the Five Hikes on St John.
Length: 2-mile return.
Let’s start with a simple hike from the most happening bay on the island, Cruz Bay. Begin your morning with a quick breakfast in town. You can then complete this short but beautiful hike to Honeymoon Beach with plenty of time to enjoy the turquoise water you’ll soon discover!
From behind the Cruz Bay Visitor Center, walk up a few steps, and you will find a well-marked trail. After some spectacular views of Cruz Bay, you will reach a fork in the road. There are two ways to reach Honeymoon Beach: a smaller trail to the left that stays low but does not provide any views. Or the trail to the right climbs up to a viewpoint on the way.
Honeymoon Beach is one of the best on the island but also quite popular. On your way, you will pass Salmon Beach, which is hard to access and may just provide you with the private getaway you want.
Either way, it’s a great starter hike on St John. Complete the return mile and celebrate with a Painkiller on the beach before heading back to sea.
Length: 4.5-mile return
Now it is time for a real adventure! One requires somewhat sturdy shoes as there is a 1000 feet of elevation gain on this hike. But I can promise you will be rewarded with some of the fascinating artifacts in the Virgin Islands. Oh, and a waterfall.
The most common place to start is off the VI 10, right before Mamey Peak. The first half of the hike is all downhill to Reef Bay Beach. Yes, that means the return journey is nothing but up.
But there is a reason this is the most popular hike on St John. Along the way, you will pass ruins of an old sugar plantation, petroglyphs carved decades ago by Taino Indians. These carvings can be found near the base of a forty-foot waterfall. Which makes this a great place to cool off during your hike.
In the end, enjoy a break at Reef Bay Beach, maybe you could even arrange for a pick-up. If not, enjoy the adventure back to the trailhead.
Length: 2.2-mile return
After a big day working up a sweat exploring the interior of St John, it’s time to stay by the coast. In such a short space of time, you can complete two trails and visit two vastly different parts of the island.
First, start by traversing the calm, bright blue waters of Salt Pond Beach. This 0.8-mile section is simple and flat. Take your time and let the still waters dance between your toes.
On the other side of the beach, you will stumble upon The Salt Pond, a large brown inland plot of water. It’s a bit anticlimactic, but luckily, you didn’t come here for that.
Continue on a little further, and you will feel the winds begin to pick up. The sounds of waves crashing against the rocks will fill the air. Drunk Bay is, yes, a little drunk. This unprotected beach is visited by waves that have traveled across the Atlantic with nothing in their way.
All along the shoreline, you will see cairns made from the corals of Drunk Bay. Spend some time adding to the collection before returning to calmer waters.
Length: 3-mile return
The Johnny Horn Trail has a little something for everyone. This moderate trail can begin inland at Base Hill. From there, you will head down to the gorgeous Waterlemon Bay.
Along the way, you will often pass tree clearings offering spectacular views of the St John coastline and surrounding cays.
As you head towards Waterlemon Bay, you will pass a ruin of an old Danish guardhouse at Leinster Point. After roughly 45 minutes, you will reach a trail down to the beach and the real rewards of the already great hike.
Waterlemon Cay is considered one of the finest snorkeling spots on St John. The small island just off the coast is surrounded by a fringing reef. The water is generally calm, and on most days, you will be able to swim around the entire island.
If you don’t want to complete the return journey, that’s OK! With plenty of mooring in Waterlemon Bay, you can set up shop and stay the night.
Length: 2.5 miles
To many, this is the iconic hike on the island. The must-do. That is because of the views that greet you at Ram Head. Panoramic views towards St Thomas and the British Virgin Islands, along with the awe-inspiring sight of nothing but the Atlantic Ocean.
The hike to Ram Head is short but undulating as you head towards the most southern point on St John. It can be rocky in sections and steep in others but overall, you won’t be slowed down too much.
On the return journey, stop for a swim at Cobblestone Beach!
Coral Reef Underwater Park Trail is a different kind of hike. One with a little less walking and more snorkeling. A little less mountain climbing and more swimming.
At Trunk Bay, you will find some fantastic coral reefs and one of the most photographed bays on St John.
On the calm side of Trunk Cay, the small island off the beach, are several hundred yards of signs that will guide you through the reef. Each explains the type of coral and fish that exist in this area.
Once you have completed the circuit, you can head back and relax on the bright white sands of Trunk Bay.
So there you have it, a few ways to explore St John during your sailing adventure. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreens, good shoes, and your bathers. A dip in the ocean is always on the menu!
Then it’s back to your crewed boat rental for drinks and an excellent meal.
You might also want to consider renting the Virgin Islands Motor Yacht Charter RUNAWAY for your dream vacation.