Turner Point Trail

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Last updated: April 4th, 2023

Here is my experience hiking the Turner Point Trail, which you can use as a reference.

Ezius Ashley and I arrived at Haulover Bay on the East End of St. John around noon on Saturday. Ezius is only ten years old but is the best hiker I have ever set out on the off-the-beaten-track trails of St. John, with the exception of the infamous Trail Bandit, I must ad.

This was my third attempt at this trail, my last two terminating at the ruins on the ridge above Elk Bay. My goal this time was to descend the other side of the hill to Water Creek and see the ruins there and, more importantly, to make my way around the bay to the next point where an old cannon stands, partly buried in the sand.

turner point trail
Turner Point Trail Map

We proposed to follow the shoreline of Haulover Bay, heading west to the end of the beach. From there, a footpath of sorts leads into the bush, rising to the top of the hill that forms the point separating Haulover Bay from Elk Bay and descends down to the cobble beach at the eastern extreme of Elk Bay.

Elk Bay can also be accessed from the south side of the East End Road (heading east) at the top of the last (highest) hill before going down into Haulover, where a trail descends steeply through a dry cactus scrub environment and leads to the beach at Elk Bay.

I find the Haulover access to be much more pleasant, cooler, and more scenic, but both ways are possible.

elk bay
Elk Bay

The trail Ezius and I take crossing the headland between Haulover, and Elk Bays leads us to some flats where a huge tamarind tree stands in an area surrounded by the skeletons of century plants that have succumbed to the disease that is currently decimating the species on St. John.

Reaching the beach, you can begin the walk west on the rocky shore enjoying the rhythmic melodious sound of the cobbles being washed back and forth by the waves. At about the middle of the beach, there is a rocky outcropping that you need to scramble over. A flat rock along the way provides some nice views and cooling ocean breezes.

wrecked boat
Wrecked Boat

The next stretch of beach is much the same as before. We continue walking west over the colorful, round cobblestones passing a wrecked boat that had washed up on the beach.

Continue west for about 100 more yards before scrambling over a small rocky outcropping, until you find the path, presently marked by pink ribbons, that leads into the forest.

After a short walk over the flats behind the beach, the trail leads us up the hillside to the ridge.

ruins on the turner bay trail st john usvi
Old Ruins

The ruins of several structures lie on the ridge top.

We spend some time exploring the ruins, and Ezius helps clear access for a photograph, clipping away a patch of catch n keep.

On the other side of the ridge, we pick up a trail going down the hillside. This trail is steeper than the last, and it’s not long before we reach more ruins lying along the mangrove-lined shore.

mangroves at water creek, st john
Red Mangroves at Water Creek

We have reached Water Creek, a small protected cove completely lined by red mangroves. Snorkelers arriving aboard the sailboat, “Breath,” are exploring the undersea community of fish and sea creatures in the mangrove environment.

The ruins here are in better condition and more easily accessed than those on the ridge. Nearby we find a well, many old bottles, and a goat’s skull bleached white by the sun.

In order to reach our goal of photographing the cannon, we must bushwhack along the coast to the next point of land. There’s no trail, so the going is slow, but we’re intrepid explorers, and we emerge from the forest at the rock and sand beach just south of water creek.

There’s our cannon!

Turner Point Trail

We returned the way we came, arriving back at Haulover Bay at about 4:00. We had been gone about four hours. I’m tired, but Ezius’s battery is still on full charge.

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