I took a look at my book inventory and, lo and behold, it’s time for a reprinting of our most popular book, “St. John Off the Beaten Track.” It’s in pretty good shape now, and not a whole lot has changed in the last few years on the beaches and trails, but nonetheless, there’s always room for improvement, so it looks like a rewrite.
I’ll be starting from Cruz Bay and going around the north shore, so our first entry will be the Lind Point Trail.
Lind Point Trail View
The Lind Point Trail is a popular hike for people coming to St. John by ferry or those who without a vehicle. That’s because the trail is within easy walking distance of downtown Cruz Bay and offers not only a great trail experience, such as the great views from the Lind Point Battery Overlook but also access to the beautiful beaches and snorkeling at Salomon and Honeymoon Bays.
As the trail begins just a short walk from the ferry dock in downtown Cruz Bay, this is the trail to take for day trippers to St. John who would like to either take a hike on one of the national park trails or enjoy one of St. John’s world famous north shore beaches without the necessity of renting a car or hiring a taxi.
From the National Park Service Visitors Center to Honeymoon Bay (1.1 miles)
From the National Park Service Visitors Center to Salomon Bay (0.75 mile)
From the National Park Service Visitors Center to the Lind Point Overlook (0.4 mile)
Hiking Time: About 45 minutes (Cruz Bay to Honeymoon Bay- taking it slow)
Sea level at Cruz Bay, Salomon, and Honeymoon trailheads and 140 feet at the Lind Point Battery Overlook
The Lind Point Trail passes through the inland environments of cactus scrub between Cruz Bay and Lind Point and dry forest on the wooded slopes of Caneel Hill east of Lind Point.
The Lind Point Trail runs between the parking area behind the National Park Visitors Center and the beaches at Salomon and Honeymoon Bays, passing by the Lind Point Battery Overlook from where the hiker can enjoy unobstructed views of downtown Cruz Bay, the main harbor, the Battery, the Creek and many of the islands and cays of Pillsbury Sound.
Cruz Bay to Lind Point
From the Cruz Bay trailhead to Lind Point, the trail passes through an area once known as Estate Lindholm, which in colonial days was dedicated to the cultivation of cotton.
After crossing a dirt road, the trail rises gradually in elevation and follows the eastern shoreline of Cruz Bay. Here the track is lined by tangles of night-blooming cerius, a cactus-like plant that once a year produces a magnificent white flower that opens at night and closes before sunrise the next morning. The flower is followed by the production of a delicious red fruit that tastes something like a kiwi.
About a quarter mile from the trailhead, the path splits into upper and lower branches. The upper trail will be to your right, while the lower trail continues straight ahead. Both trails access the Salomon and Honeymoon Bays, but only the upper trail passes by the Lind Point Battery Overlook.
The lower trail is slightly shorter and less hilly than the upper trail and would be the preferred route for those who are not interested in the Lind Point Battery Overlook and are using the trail solely as a means of getting to the Salomon or Honeymoon beaches.
The upper trail gains elevation through a series of switchbacks and then continues north toward Lind Point, the headland that defines the northern extremity of Cruz Bay and the northwestern corner of the island.
When you get to Lind Point, a loop trail on your left leads to the Lind Point Battery Overlook.
From Lind Point to Salomon and Honeymoon Bays
From Lind Point, the trail turns right, or east, and follows the northwestern coastline though a dry forest environment. Many of the rock formations along the hillsides are covered by epiphytes (air plants), such as bromeliads and anthuriums. Other rocks bear intricate designs created by lichen growing on the surface of the stones.
Salomon Bay Spur
The Salomon Bay Spur Trail intersects both the upper and lower Lind Point trails about a quarter mile from Lind Point. For those going to Salomon Bay, take this trail down to the western end of Salomon Beach. The trail runs alongside the beach to eastern end of Salomon Bay and then leads up to meet the lower Lind Point Trail.
On to Honeymoon Bay
For those not going to Salomon Bay, both the lower and upper Lind Point Trails continue on towards Honeymoon Bay near a large tamarind tree. Cross over the dirt road to get to the beach. This road heads east towards the Caneel Bay Resort.
(East of the Salomon Bay Spur Trail, the Upper Lind Point Trail intersects the Caneel Hill Spur Trail just before its intersection with the lower trail.)
The Lind Point Trail is a favorite hike for people coming to St. John by ferry or for those who don’t have a vehicle. That’s because the trail is within easy walking distance of downtown Cruz Bay and offers not only a great trail experience such as the great views from the Lind Point Battery Overlook, but also access to the beautiful beaches and snorkeling at Salomon and Honeymoon Bays.
But day-trippers are not the only ones who choose to experience the Lind Point Trail and most of these hikers arrive by vehicle. This presents a problem. Finding a place to park near the trail can be difficult, to say the least.
Now the Virgin Islands National Park offers a solution, of sorts. Hikers bound for the Lind Point Trail can go to the National Park Visitors Center located just across the street from the trailhead and obtain a parking permit that allows them to park in spaces reserved for the park employees. You’ll need to show the attendant at the center your drivers license, which they will hold until you get back. They will then issue you a sign for you to place on your windshield. Be aware that empty employee’s parking spaces are limited and are often unavailable, and that parking anywhere else on the street will put you in danger of being ticketed by enforcement rangers.
Park back wheels to the curb, windshield facing out towards the street and enjoy your hike.
If arriving by boat, pick up a mooring and swim, snorkel, or dinghy to the beach. There is a special dinghy mooring line close to the beach, which you can use. Anchoring is forbidden.
Once on the beach, you’ll be able to rent beach chairs, lockers, snorkel gear, floats, kayaks, and paddle boards. The use of the hammocks and dining tables is complimentary. Bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms are also available.
Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are for sale. You can bring your own beer and put it in the refrigerator.