If you don’t mind a somewhat strenuous uphill climb, or if you appreciate the exercise in a natural environment, the trail to the top of Caneel Hill and beyond, if you like, is a “St. John Off The Beaten Track” highly recommended hike.
There are two ways to do this. You can start at the beginning of the Caneel and Margaret Hill Trail starting from the bottom of the North Shore Road (Route 20) near Mongoose Junction or take the Caneel Hill Spur Trail at the top of the first hill on Route 20. For more information, maps and photos download your St. John Off The Beaten Track App or check out the “Trails” page of the SeeStJohn.com website.
Looking west from the Caneel Hill Tower, you get a bird’s eye view of Cruz Bay and further west you’ll see some of the cays in Pillsbury Sound and the east end of St. Thomas.
Looking north and west, you’ll look down at Caneel Bay and out to the outlying islands, rocks and cays in that direction.
More to the east is a view of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin islands and the Narrows Passage between Great Thatch Cay and Mary’s Point on St. John.
Visitors to St. John often have a Trunk Bay Trail snorkel on the top of their St. John visit bucket list, but to seasoned St. John snorkelers, the Trunk Bay Trail snorkel may not raise a whole lot of enthusiasm, but there really is a lot to see here.
Following are a gallery photos of what I saw on a half-hour early morning snorkel on the underwater trail:
The baobob tree is considered sacred in many parts of Africa. The tree was brought to the West Indies by slaves carried there to work the on the plantations. The only baobob on St. John stands at Estate Seiban and can be accessed by hikers via the L’Esperance of Great Seiban trails.