15 Best Hikes on St. John, USVI (in 2023)
Out of all the Virgin Islands, St. John is by far the best for hiking. In large part, we can thank the efforts of the Virgin Islands National Park for all the great hikes in St. John. By protecting nearly 66% of St. John’s land area, the National Park Service has maintained some of the most beautiful hiking trails in all of the Caribbean.
And these trails are unique – mostly roadway remnants from centuries-old sugar mill plantations as they wind through the tropical forest. But the best part is most of the hiking trails in St. John gently slope into some of the most stunning beaches in the world.
My wife and I have made it our mission to trek them all. And I’d have to say, we’ve gotten pretty close. So here are my top picks for the best hikes on St. John. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
- 15 Best Hikes in St. John, USVI
- Caneel Hill Trail
- Lind Point Trail
- Peace Hill + Denis Bay Trail
- Cinnamon Bay Self-Guided Trail
- Cinnamon Bay Trail to America Hill
- Francis Bay Trail
- Leinster Bay Trail
- Johnny Horn Trail
- Brown Bay Trail
- Reef Bay Trail
- Petroglyph Trail
- L’Esperance Trail
- Bordeaux Mountain Trail
- Salt Pond Bay Beach Trail + Drunk Bay Trail
- Ram Head Trail
- Tips for Hiking in Virgin Islands National Park
- FAQs About Hiking in St. John
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15 Best Hikes in St. John, USVI
Caneel Hill Trail
The more difficult of two hiking trails beginning in Cruz Bay
🥾 Difficult | 2.4 miles one way | Google Maps | Trailhead directly in Cruz Bay just beyond Mongoose Junction
A mixed dry and moist forest ascends 720 feet to a scenic overlook of Cruz Bay atop Caneel Hill. Climb another 100 feet to Margaret Hill with an option to end your hike on Centerline Road. Otherwise, start your descent to the old Caneel Bay Resort to visit nearby Honeymoon Beach.
Be sure to allow enough time to explore Cruz Bay. It’s the largest town on St. John with many of our top things to do on the island.
Lind Point Trail
This trail begins in Cruz Bay before bringing you directly to a beautiful beach
🥾 Moderate | 1.1 miles one way | Google Maps | Trailhead directly in Cruz Bay behind National Park Visitor Center
The trail ascends to a scenic overlook before wrapping around Lind Point, a dry scrub environment, and eventually descending to the white sands of Soloman Beach. It’s the best and easiest trail to do if you’re merely stepping off the ferry from staying on St. Thomas and don’t intend on using a taxi.
Peace Hill + Denis Bay Trail
Brisk walk to a grassy hill with an old sugar mill tower
🥾 Easy | .1 miles + .2 miles | Google Maps | 10 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
Peace Hill features the first set of ruins you’ll find on the NorthShore Road after departing Cruz Bay. After a short walk, you’ll encounter the old windmill overlooking the glimmering waters of Hawksnest Bay. An optional side trail at the very beginning of your hike descends to the secluded shores of Denis Bay.
🗺️ Exploring Virgin Islands National Park: Peace Hill is just one of the many places of interest within the tropical park. For the others, check out our complete guide to Virgin Islands National Park.
Cinnamon Bay Self-Guided Trail
Meander through sugar mill ruins before a beach day at Cinnamon Bay
🥾 Easy | .5 miles | Google Maps | 15 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
Utilize the Cinnamon Bay Campground parking area before taking a path that crosses NorthShore road for this self-guided tour. The easy trail twists through sugar mill remnants for a pleasantly shaded stroll that’s suitable for the entire family.
⛺Camping on St. John: Although camping opportunities are limited within Virgin Islands National Park, the Cinnamon Bay Campground is a great option. Read about it in our article, the best places to stay in St. John!
Cinnamon Bay Trail to America Hill
Rewarding view of the Northshore after a strenuous hike to America Hill
🥾 Difficult | 1.1 miles one way | Google Maps | 15 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
The trail starts beside the Cinnamon Bay Ruins before ascending through tropical forest to an old colonial estate, America Hill. You’ll be treated to breathtaking views of St. Thomas, Jost Van Dyke, and Tortola. Conversely, you can begin this trail on Centerline Road and descend to Cinnamon Bay’s NorthShore Road entrance.
Francis Bay Trail
One of a few hiking trails cutting directly through a mangrove forest
🥾 Easy | .5 miles one way | Google Maps | 23 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
An excellent choice for families to view a mangrove lagoon. The half-mile trail cuts through the tree roots of the important coastal trees before ascending to estate ruins from the old Annaberg Plantation. Stay and hang out at Francis Bay Beach afterward, one of the top beaches on St. John.
Leinster Bay Trail
A mostly flat hiking trail leading to Waterlemon Bay and the Murphy House
🥾 Easy | .8 miles one way | Google Maps | 23 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
After exploring Annaberg Plantation, one of the best places to visit in the US Virgin Islands, you’ll discover one of the easiest hiking trails in the Caribbean near the base of the former estate. The Leinster Bay trail runs parallel to sparkling blue water before ending at a walk-off point to Waterlemon Cay – a small islet with fantastic snorkeling.
Johnny Horn Trail
Connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea
🥾 Expert | 1.8 miles one way | Google Maps | 30 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
Johnny Horn is the only continuous trail within Virgin Islands National Park connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Caribbean Sea. Beginning in Coral Bay near the historic Emmaus Moravian Church, the trail climbs atop a steep ridge before slanting downward to Waterlemon Bay. Along the way, head up to the Murphy House or sidetrack to Brown Bay Trail.
Brown Bay Trail
An offshoot of the Johnny Horn Trail with a coral-covered beach
🥾 Expert | 1.6 miles one way | Google Maps | 30 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
Within the Johnny Horn Trail is a sidetrack to the picturesque, coral-lined Brown Bay. The trail drops to a salt pond and sugar mill ruins before climbing one more ridge where you’ll be treated to stunning views of Hurricane Hole, a mangrove-lined lagoon just outside of Coral Bay. The trail culminates its descent on the East End Road, one mile east of Coral Bay.
Reef Bay Trail
Our top pick for hiking trails in St. John with its descent into island ecosystems and historical structures
🥾 Difficult | 2.2 miles one way | Google Maps | 15 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
If you only have time for one hike in St. John, heavily consider hiking Reef Bay Trail. This trail has it all: old forest roads connecting centuries-old sugar mill ruins, tropical forests descending into dry scrub environments, mangrove ponds, ancient carvings, and a beautiful beach. You’ll need to set aside at least a half-day to fully enjoy everything the trail has to offer.
👉 Pro Tip: Slightly alternate the route of this hike even further by following the Lameshur Bay Trail halfway through. The trail connects Lameshur Bay, a secluded cove with plantation ruins, with Reef Bay adding another element to the already outstanding hike.
Ancient rock carvings from the Taino Tribe, the Caribbean’s first inhabitants
🥾 Easy | .3 miles | Google Maps | Extension of Reef Bay Trail
A small sidetrack of the Reef Bay Trail is the Petroglyphs of Reef Bay. Carved by the Taino Tribe, the Caribbean’s indigenous people, the rock art likely signifies the tribe’s spiritual connection to the natural landscape. The trail extension is a short distance and an easy add-on for a day along Reef Bay Trail.
Half forested trail and half exposed-sun trail ascends from Reef Bay Beach
🥾 Difficult | 2.6 miles one way | Google Maps | 15 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
Most people utilize this trail as an alternate ascent from Reef Bay Trail to complete a loop rather than an out and back. Along the trail, you’ll find plantation ruins, tropical forest roads, and switchbacks alternating between moist forest and dry scrub.
Bordeaux Mountain Trail
Excellent valley and ocean views along the old, shady Bordeaux Mountain Road
🥾 Moderate | 1.2 miles one way | Google Maps | 22 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
Bordeaux Mountain is the tallest peak on St. John and one of the more strenuous, yet rewarding, hikes on the island. The trail follows an old mountain road up forest valleys with sea views with a culmination near the mountain’s peak while featuring forest valleys. You’ll find the trailhead at the end of the dirt road beyond Little Lameshur Bay Road on the south side of Virgin Islands National Park.
Salt Pond Bay Beach Trail + Drunk Bay Trail
Easy stroll to beautiful Salt Pond Beach and beyond
🥾 Easy | .2 miles + .3 miles one way | Google Maps | 35 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
The short Salt Pond Trail brings you to one of the best beaches in the Virgin Islands with some awesome snorkeling opportunities and plenty of sea turtles. For hikers, you can extend your hike into Drunk Bay Trail and Ram Head Trail.
Ram Head Trail
South end peninsula with panoramic views and a blue cobblestone beach
🥾 Moderate | 1.0 mile one way | Google Maps | 35 Minute Drive Time from Cruz Bay
Ram Head is my personal favorite and the trail of choice when I have family in town. With that said, the trail is best done early in the morning when the temperatures are coolest. Park at the Salt Pond Bay trailhead and hike to the peninsula’s peak to witness the best panoramic view in the Virgin Islands.
Tips for Hiking in Virgin Islands National Park
🚗 Parking: Parking is free but limited to small gravel lots and street parking.
🎟️ Entrance Fees: The trails of St. John and Virgin Islands National Park do not require any entrance fees.
🏞️ Website Information: All hiking trails are within Virgin Islands National Park.
🏖️ Bring a Packable Beach Blanket: We use this lightweight, packable beach blanket from Grand Trunk on all of our hiking adventures.
🤿 Snorkel Gear: Most hiking trails on St. John lead to beaches and most beaches have fantastic snorkeling. Don’t forget to bring a handy travel set!
🌅 Hike early, Beach later: Many of the hikes in St. John lack tree cover so it’s always recommended to hike early as you can always cool off at one of the amazing beaches later.
🗺️ Bring a Map: Like this one from National Geographic!
FAQs About Hiking in St. John
Is there hiking in St. John?
St. John is the best US Virgin Island for hiking. In fact, St. John is in many respects the best place in the Caribbean to go hiking.
How long is Rams Head trail in St. John?
The Ram Head Trail on St. John is an out and back trail with a round trip distance of 2.0 miles or 3.2 kilometers.
🥾 Read Next: 7 Best Hiking Trails on St. Croix
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Which of the St. John hiking trails are you most looking forward to? My two favorites are Reef Bay and Ram Head! Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know!
I hope I helped you find some fun hikes in St. John for your visit. Before you go, be sure to check out my complete guide to what to do in St. John.
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