Reef Bay Sugar Mill Trail & Ruins

The Reef Bay Trail begins about 5 miles outside of Cruz Bay on Centerline Road (Rt.10). This National Park trail is nearly 3 miles in length. It begins 900 feet above sea level and travels down a tropical forest valley to the sea. Check for current schedules of ranger-guided hikes at the National Park Visitor Center. This informative trip also includes a boat ride back to Cruz Bay for those who do not wish to hike back up to the trailhead. If you do decide to hike down and back, allow a good 6 hours for the venture (which includes some beach time too). Take a walk through time as you descend upon this moderate trail and learn about the flora, fauna and history of St. John. There are several signs describing some of the trees and structures that you will encounter. From the Taino Indian petroglyphs to the Danish plantation ruins, you can touch and experience part of the island's past which makes our Caribbean history come alive. As you hike towards the ruins, a side trail leads to the petroglyphs and the Reef Bay waterfall which flows only after sufficient rainfall. This is a beautiful location to rest and have a picnic. Look for crayfish and fish in the pools and let the hummingbirds and dragonflies skirting about entertain you!

The Kapok tree, also known as the "Elephant Foot" tree is huge...

...with large wall-like roots and is one of the first sites along the path.

The Kapok tree from a distance.

A very nice long trail under the trees, though at times
steep and rocky.

The observant will see many huge termite nests all around the island and the termites trails (tunnels really) are seen going to and from the nest. They move through the tunnels in an effort to avoid their predators.

Along the path you will see quite a few ruins from days gone by.

more ruins along the way

Somewhere along the path (there is a sign) you can take a side route to see the Petroglyphs which is well worth the short jaunt. Then come back to the main path, and it's only a (relatively) short distance to the main Reef Bay Sugar Plantation ruins down right near the beach.

Fascinating history with many signs so you can learn about how the plantation worked and what they made here...

...sugar, molasses, and rum.

Inside a window of the ruins we found a thriving bee hive which itself was really neat too.


Finally we get to the beach for a cool swim!!!