Want a beautiful and exciting alternative to the Lameshur Bay Trail between Lameshur Bay and Reef Bay? We have one for you, and it’s one of the most dramatic, scenic, and exciting hiking trails on St. John — The White Cliffs Trail.
Beginning at Lameshur Bay, take the Lameshur Bay Trail as far as the Europa Bay Spur. Turn left onto the Europa Bay Spur and follow it to the coral rubble and rock-strewn beach at Europa Bay.
Turn right and head towards the south end of the beach. You should be feeling a cooling breeze and hearing the sounds of the surf breaking and the melodious rhythm of the small cobbles and pieces of coral rolling back and forth in the surge.
Walk along the shore until you reach the steep hill coming down from the cliffs. Turn right along the base of the hill (it is cleared) and go about 150 feet in from the water. Bear left and diagonally up the hill. You want to stay just to the right of the big rocks, and in a short way, you will start to see a track that heads straight up. Follow it to the top of the ridge.
Near the top is a turn-off to the right with magnificent bird’s eye views of Europa Bay and the big salt pond behind it.
When you reach the ridge, a short walk to the left will bring you to an overlook with great views of the southeast coast of St. John all the way out to Rams Head.
Now for the trail: Walk west along the ridge. The trail goes to the left side of the ridge, down a bit, and then back over the ridge and down a bit on the north side of the ridge. The trail gets better as you go. If you are bushwhacking at all, you missed it. Just keep heading west.
Passing a rather large agave in the middle of the trail, follow the trail straight up the ridge. After you pass over a short rocky section, you will come to an area of large cacti.
The trail isn’t very noticeable here, but you can keep just to the right of the first couple of cacti and then bear up and leave to reach the top of the cliff. There are a few little agaves, but it’s easygoing. You should be at the top of the cliff with the ocean straight down below you. There is a section of the stone wall at the edge.
What we’re calling the White Cliffs Trail may have been a footpath for those traveling between Lameshur Bay and Reef Bay, but this part where you first get to the clifftop and the section of the stone wall appears to be an old road.
Now you will be walking west along the ridgetop. On your left, the hillside descends steeply towards the White Cliffs and the rocky shoreline below. Wowie! Awesomely dramatic! And lots of outstanding photo ops, also!
The views to the south are superb all along the trail, and there are more orchids blooming along the trail than I have seen anywhere else on the island. If you look closely, they seem to grow along the trail but not much away from the trail. They were just starting to bloom before Christmas.
From here, the trail is obvious and follows along the side of the hill and goes straight toward Reef Bay.
You will emerge from the trail at the east end of the beach, not far from the beginning of the White Cliffs.
If you want to find the trail from the beach at Reef Bay, walk east along the beach until you are a few hundred feet from the end. There are two round bushes on the beach, out toward the water. Both are about 6 feet tall, look the same, and are maybe 20 feet apart. Head into the woods from between the bushes, bear right, and sort of follow up the left side of the gut. Look for the cut stumps. It’s probably easier to find from the Europa Bay end.
If you haven’t had enough by now, you can easily reach the sugar mill ruins at the end of the Reef Bay Trail and continue your explorations, such as the petroglyphs, the Par Force Ruins, and the Great House. If you don’t want to backtrack, you can also return to Lameshur Bay via the Lameshur Bay Trail.