Reef Bay Trail

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Reef Bay Rd, Cruz Bay, United States Virgin Islands

Reef Bay Trail Cruz Bay Reviews

jeniva28 jeniva28
1 reviews
Great way to see the island Apr 27, 2010
There are two ways you can hike this trail. The first is to park your car at the small parking area near the trail head, hike down on your own and hike back up. It is about 2.5-3 miles depending on whether you turn off to see the Taino petroglyphs (well worth it). If you decide to hike back up, keep in mind it can be a bit steep.

The second method is to make a reservation with the Park Service, and my personal recommendation. They take you from their office near Cruz Bay and drop you off with a trail guide. The guide I had was a local, and knew so much about the flora and fauna, and the history of the plantation relics.

About halfway through they offered a side hike to the petroglyphs, a little more rugged of a trail, again worth it. It started to rain after, really hard, but I thought it felt great. By the time we got to the bottom the rain and my clothes had dried up.

At the bottom there is an old sugar cane mill, most buildings were still standing. We toured the relics a bit, hung out at the beach for a while, and then a boat picked us up and took us back to the Park Service office. The boat trip was a great little perk, the views were beautiful and you got to see the island from a different view.

So, if you do go to St.John I strongly recommend this, it's a beautiful hike nice boat ride and it was only $15.
Hiking group
Petroglyphs hike
Reef Bay
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vances vances
461 reviews
Feb 23, 2008
This is the best trail to hike if you are fortunate enough to be visiting St. John. The National Park Service offers guided hikes (at least they did fifteen years ago) and they make a fuss that this is a rigorous endeavor, but if you are an experienced hiker this a walk in the park. My wife & I simply hired a cheap taxi ride to the trail head on Centerline Road (the driver was familiar with where the trail head was) and started the 2.5 mile descent to an abandoned sugar mill plantation.

The trail does possess a hefty decline (roughly 1,000 feet – if you opt for the National Park Service tour I think they pick you up by boat at the trails end, eliminating any need to ascend back) and can be slick if it has just rained, but the flora & fauna are spectacular. It is also cool to witness some structures scattered along the drop down to the sea. By no means ancient, but interesting nonetheless.

I am remiss that we didn’t bring a camera (this was way pre-TravBuddy, lol) and that my faltering memory cannot recall the spur trail to a ruined estate about halfway down. We investigated the detour and had a marvelous experience. It was probably not even a quarter mile before we came upon a splendid old stone estate with gardens that were still beautiful – amazing because the place had been abandoned around 1918. Even better, there were about twenty hummingbirds flitting about, and they were a wonderful shade of green we had never seen before. The view from the grounds was exquisite.

Of course we had to enter the structure, and here’s where things get weird. Our total joy at stumbling upon this amazing estate was eerily suspended upon breaching the doorway. Inside the musty, stone house we were suddenly confronted by this noise like a gaggle of peg-legged pirates stumbling about! It took a minute for our cones & rods to permit us to focus in the darkness, but the noise turned out to be that we had disrupted about thirty enormous hermit crabs, and each was fleeing us! They thump their leg down and this is followed by the clunk of their accompanying shell – it is really weird!

Comforted with understanding what was happening, we pressed on to the trails end and my ultimate goal. What intrigued me about this hike was a sugar mill at the conclusion which Lady Bird Johnson had visited years ago. Mrs. Johnson dropped in by boat and after strolling about the amazingly well preserved ruins asked where the restrooms where! Informed of the total absence of lavatory facilities in this remote location, Lady Bird sponsored two port-a-potties. I need to reinforce that this hike occurred years ago, well before I became a Texan, but I wanted to complete the hike with a complimentary visit to Lady Bird’s port-a-potties, which I did!

To wrap up, this really is a great trail and the sugar mill at the end is fantastic. So unusual to ramble about something that seems like a museum, except there are zero other folks around. We enjoyed a picnic lunch along the gorgeous shoreline and then hiked back across the island to Cinnamon Bay for a welcome swim in the ocean and then back to our lodging (another two miles farther along). It is not an arduous hike.

Last footnotes are that there is a touted spur from this trail where some purported petroglyphs are. We found only one scribbling that was very indistinct, so not a recommended detour. In addition, we were so enamored by the old estate on the trail’s descent that we similarly trekked to another abandoned home on the downside to Cinnamon Bay – the American Estate House. This was a total loser. You pretty much endure an overgrown trail to greet a pile of rubble. Just head down to the bay and enjoy the water.
The Sugar Mill at Reef Bay
Petroglyphs along Reef Bay Trail
Section of Reef Bay Trail
Another trail section near the Sug…
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TravellingAuntie says:
PERFECT! Thanks!
Posted on: Mar 23, 2010
vances says:
Kelly - I think you can do it fairly easily in a single day...even if you got up at 3AM there wouldn't be any way to catch a ferry over, lol...

Probably best to depart from CA --- Red Hook isn't too far, but the time and cost to get there would probably erase any I'm getting excited for your trip! Only dilemma is transportation back to town...but let me check the National Park Service: vaguely recall they offered a guided hike down to the sugar mill and then a boat ride back!
Posted on: Mar 23, 2010
TravellingAuntie says:
Thanks for the info Vance - I'd love to pursue the daytrip angle if it doesn't require getting up at 3am. We'll be staying at one of the Marriott's (to use my friends & family discount) - which I think are both out of CA - don't know how close to Red Hook. If it is difficult to do the day - then Maho campground sounds lovely! I haven't yet surfed for a ferry timetable - I guess I could start there :-) Thanks for any help you can provide. At the moment there are just two of us (although I'm trying to get others).
Posted on: Mar 23, 2010

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