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“Well maintained trail”
Review of Reef Bay Trail

Reef Bay Trail
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This 2.2-mile hiking trail is one of the best on St. John: descend through a shady, moist forest and a dry forest, through visible remains of four sugar mills, pass by pre-Columbian petroglyphs, and end at a beautiful, pristine beach.
Bradford, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
234 reviews
140 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Well maintained trail”
Reviewed 13 November 2013

This is a very nice trail with great footing and reasonable grades. We approached it via a scramble along the beach from Fish Bay. Checked out the sugar mill ruins at Reef bay then hiked up to the petroglyphs and the ruins of the Great House. Hoofed it back to beat high tide on the point (where you have to scramble) and made it safely back. Seems like a pretty busy trail with lots of hikers making there way to the remote beach. The scramble from Fish bay is only a mile and takes about 30 minutes with just a little climbing. Probably a much easier way to reach the bay than doing the 4.4 mile round trip from Centerline road.

Visited November 2013
Thank dave d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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384 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Reef trail”
Reviewed 8 November 2013

We did the Reef Trail hike through the Natural Park yesterday. It was a nice hike. The ranger Golda was very informative and helpful with information about the ruins and petroglyphs. We didn't think the trail was all that bad but there were others on the hike that weren't hikers and found it to be difficult. It was a pleasant day and the ride back to Cruz Bay was a great. The most frustrating part was when the ranger would stop and talk about things and since there was such a large group of people -31-the people in the back could not hear her. I think it would be a better tour if the group was only about 15 people. They should run two groups an hour apart and make it better for all concerned. Make sure you call ahead for reservations, this does fill up fast.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank stjohnlover44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
126 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Oh boy what a hike”
Reviewed 29 October 2013

We have been going to the islands for the last 10 years and finally decided the boys are ready for the hike to the petroglyphs. We carried plenty of water and some chia snacks for energy. We made sure we wore good foot ware too. The hike down can get wet and the rocks become slick. The trail is pretty well marked and easy to follow. We were told that most people walk down and catch the boat back, not our family, the two teenage boys saw it as a challenge and the parents were not about to be bested. The ruins at the end of the trail were amazing. The walk back up the trail was tough. Take your time and it is climbable. Don't forget water!

Visited October 2013
Thank Rugbydox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Definitely take the guided tour”
Reviewed 25 September 2013

During low season, the Parks Dept. offers a guided hike on Mondays and Thursdays. The $30 ticket includes taxi ride to trail head and a 45 min. boat ride back to Cruz Bay. Even during low season, they still sold-out they day we went.

The ranger had lots to share including native fruits to taste and leaves to chew on. Yes, it's annoying to hike with 30 people but we learned so much more than if we had gone on our own.

FYI, there were several kids under the age of 10, and they looked so bored.

The trail is mostly downhill, mostly shady, and easy, but long. Definitely wear hiking shoes/sneakers and bring lots of water and a lunch. There are toilets at the bottom but they looked too gross to even think about using.

Wear a bathing suit so you can swim to the boat. If not, you will have to ride a dinghy to board the boat. As with all boats in St John, no shoes are allowed on board.

Visited August 2013
Thank veganmona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Great hike/lovely beach”
Reviewed 1 September 2013

We hiked the Reef Bay Trail in late July, without a guide. You don't really need one, as the plants/trees are marked with informative signs, as are the sugar plantation ruins. Obviously, if you hike without a guide you can also travel at your own pace.

Parking is limited at the top of the trail head; we got there about mid-morning and didn't have any trouble finding a spot.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the trail is downhill on the way to the beach. We saw lots of hermit crabs and large spiders/webs, in addition to all of the cool plants, trees, and ruins. The petroglyphs, which are about a 20 minute side hike (that's to and from) were also neat.

When you get to the bottom of the trail, that trail that leads to the swimming beach is to your right, prior to the plantation ruins (note: there are pit toilets located at the ruins). So you'll have another 10 minutes or so of walking (up and down) to get to the beach, but it's worth it. We packed our lunch and ate/swam in solitude. (The beach that is on the other side of the swimming beach is rocky and full of sea urchins-nice to look at, but not so nice for swimming.)

The hike back up really isn't too bad--just pack lots of water and you'll be fine.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank cbucksred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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