As children, snow globes hold a small fascination. For some, the allure is in shaking and watching the snow fall. For others, the appeal is the tiny world in the palm of your hand. As an adult, snow globes hold less interest. Until, you find yourself atop of a mount or hill looking on the small world below you. Absorbing the views, you feel like you are inside a snow globe. St. Croix is known for it’s exquisite white sandy beaches and depth of blue oceans. However if you take the time, and follow the trails, you can find yourself at the top of a hill where you will discover a new side of St. Croix. You are granted with a birds-eye view of the island. Enjoy our list of top St. Croix hiking destinations…
1. Goat Hill
Goat Hill is located on the Eastern side of St. Croix, just past the Cramers Park entrance. Its peak is the second largest in St. Croix, towering at about 672 feet above sea level. Standing at the bottom of the hill, one can quickly view the clearly defined trail. The hike is approximately 4.5 miles. About ten minutes into the hike, you certainly feel the leg burn set in. While the actual path is not glamorous, the wait is worth the reward. Half way, there is a look out spot, which overlooks the magnificent south shore and serves as a teaser and a chance to catch your breath. After about thirty minutes you reach the top and are humbled by 360˚ views of St. Croix. Like a painting, the lush green foliage is contrasted against the varying hues of the blue ocean.
2. Jack and Isaac Bay
Shortly after Cramers Park and Goat Hill, just before Point Udall you will find the winding trails of Jack and Isaac Bay. On this adventure, you start on top and work your way towards stunning beaches. The bay faces the south shore and is lined with tall grass and
shrubbery. The trail is easy to navigate, as the path is manicured from frequent hikers. One of the biggest draws of the hike is the view of the ominous ocean accompanying you the whole way. Pausing half way to overlook the bay, one can admire the clash of the Jurassic Park landscape and the crashing blue waves.
Once you reach the powdery sand, the wide beach stretches far left and right. The first beach you reach is Jack’s Bay. Should you wish to continue, you can hike farther west to Isaac’s Bay. Both spots have magnificent snorkeling with tropical fish and marine life. Be mindful, both beaches are turtle nesting grounds.
3. Willis/Annaly Bay and Tide Pools
Nestled in the hills of the north shore lies Wills/Annaly Bay and Tide Pools. The 2-mile (each way) hike starts at Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort and ends with wet toes as you dip into the tidal pools. The challenging trek up the hill offers diverse scenery with tall grass, rocky beach and tropical rainforest. Hermit crabs and various birds accompany you as you navigate the trail. Eventually, you reach Annaly Bay, which boasts a beautiful ocean view of the north shore and rocky beaches. Absorbing the view, you catch the ocean mist on your face. The final leg of the hike, you will find yourself scaling rocks to seek the serenity of the tidal pools. The pools are sandwiched in between the jagged rocks, but are a welcoming site after a hot hike. One can cool off in the pools while staring out into the blue ocean.
4. The Lighthouse at Ham’s Bluff
First lit in 1915, The Lighthouse at Ham’s Bluff is a welcome sight after a brief, but steep hike. The lighthouse sits atop coastal hills know as Maroons on the north shore of the island. The uphill trail is partly forested and shaded. Once you reach the top, the view expands to the breathtaking sight of the north and west shores. It is easy to be taken back by the beauty of the ocean view paired with the rusted historic lighthouse. As the wind gusts the hair around your face, you can spot Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort, Annaly Bay and Davis Bay. If you take the time to climb up the lighthouse, you are met with a wondrous perspective. Gazing out into the ocean horizon on a clear day, you are able to view other islands.
Winding your way up treacherous landscapes and sweating profusely are all forgotten struggles once you reach the top. Shake up your world, go off the beaten path and peer into St Croix’s snow globe.
By: Kimberly Hummers