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Barkers

Registered
06/24/2011

Posts
36

Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 16, 2011 04:42PM

We are planning on doing the Reef Bay Trail Hike when we come in a few weeks. Does anyone have any stories, advice, photos, thoughts about this? Also, we are all in our 20's and in decent shape. Should we save the money and hike back up or take the boat back. If we should take the boat, who do we contact and how much does it run. A lot of places say it takes about 2 hours to hike down, but what about back up?
Thanks everyone for your opinions!!!

Pia

Registered
01/23/2005

Posts
1,036

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 16, 2011 05:10PM

The only way to take the boat is when you go on the guided hike and book through the National Park Service - they take reservations in advance only and only run twice per week (I believe) in off season.

Pia

uihwki

Registered
02/24/2011

Posts
29

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 16, 2011 05:36PM

If you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle you can shorten the "steep" hike out a little by taking the dirt road into Great Lameshur Bay (past Coral Bay) and starting and ending the hike there. Our family did the hike this past December (in and out) with a group of 8 (kids 20 to 28) and the 2 oldsters "age 56". The kids did fine but my wife struggled a little on the way out. It took the parents a little longer than expected but we would do it again. Two of my more athletic kids actually jogged up the hill on the way out. Do remember to take lots of water - we thought we had enough water but we ran out and were pretty thirsty by the time we got back to the cars. We spent a lot of time sightseeing and exploring the old ruins and then ate lunch on the beach. I believe we started around 10 am and were back at the car by around 2 pm.

The National Park Service boat pulled in as we ate lunch on the beach. They did offer to take us out (not sure if this happens all of time). We must have looked pretty pathetic!!!!

ms411

Registered
10/06/2005

Posts
872

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 16, 2011 06:09PM

Doing this hike with the park rangers makes the history of St John really come alive. Every time I've done it, they've pointed out edible plants that we sampled, plants and trees that had commercial value during colonial times, and told stories about the people who lived along the trail during the colonial days. Without knowledge of the park rangers, it's just another St John trail. Each ranger brings their particular interest to the trail, so what you learn varies depending on who's leading the hike.

The boat ride back is also interesting, because they point out things along the way, too. I like having someone who can answer questions that I might have about an area, so I can learn more about a destination instead of just being there. It all depends on your budget and your priorities.

Jill

Registered
07/22/2005

Posts
385

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 17, 2011 07:39AM

My husband and I have done this trail every year for 6 years. It's a great hike. We've done the entire round trip hike in under 3 hours. We've never done the guided tour through the national parks as we wanted to do it at our pace. The path is very obvious and there are signs along the way pointing out different things such as tree types and landmarks. The hike down is obviously very easy, wear good hiking shoes. I've done it in flip flops but I don't advice doing that, it's all rocks and loose debris. The hike back isn't bad at all, I highly recommend doing it if you want some great exercise. Pack plenty of water as it can get pretty warm while hiking. My only negative thing to say about the hike is every time we've done it and gone down to the beach the sand flees have been extremely bad, so bad that we didn't stay at the beach but for a second and then turned around and left. Being in your 20's and in good shape you will have no problem on this hike, Enjoy!

TomK

Registered
07/09/2010

Posts
19

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 17, 2011 10:20AM

I agree with others that the National Park Service guided hike is the way to go. The information that the guide gives makes the hike more interesting, and the trip back to Cruz Bay by boat gave us our only opportunity to be out on the water (at a very reasonable cost). We thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. Thanks again to Ranger Don!

hansherlighed

Registered
02/01/2010

Posts
34

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 18, 2011 06:31AM

My wife and I did the hike in Feb. '10. It was fantastic!

Ranger Don Near from NPS was our guide and told many interesting things - mostly about the nature.

Take the guided tour and the boat back - you'll get to see the south shore wich is very different from the north shore.
The guided tour is worth the money - no doubt about that!

Enjoy!

Chris at Work

Registered
01/21/2005

Posts
1,138

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 20, 2011 03:24PM

We have done both the Parks tour and the Lameshur Bay trail enjoying both.

The Parks tour does provide the ranger's background beyond what the signs offer and not having to deal with the 'parking' at the top of the trail is worth the tour. You also get to see a side of the island by boat not normally available to the general tourist. I say 'parking' as the parking lot consists of a slight dent in the forest just off the roadway. I can't speak for others but every time I drive along Centerline trying to find the trail head I always drive past it the first time and by the time I can U-turn and get back I find all of the possible spots are taken. Regardless make sure you do it in the AM and bring water. At such a young age (that was harder for me to say now) you should have no trouble on the return if you so wish.

The Lameshur trail is also a steep one in the beginning (and return) but enjoyable in its own way. As strange as it seems to say given the very nature of STJ, that trail felt more 'natural' and off the beaten path compared to Reef Bay trail. Getting there is half the excitement given the roadway to the trail head which definitely requires a 4WD. We went last year after some very heavy rains and that made the drive and hike more difficult. The trail becomes the natural drainage path and we had to negotiate several tricky areas. Not any physical danger but certainly more challenging. Did I mention I'm no longer at that young age? Of course, when we got to the Petroglyphs the very runoff we had to deal with was nothing less than spectacular at the falls. Granted we are not talking Niagara here but compared to the relatively low flow trickle the last time we hiked there this time we could hear a low roar. When we actually got there the falls were marvelous.

Of course, just as advertised the pool was the same level during both trips.

Barkers

Registered
06/24/2011

Posts
36

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

August 22, 2011 08:37AM

Thank you everyone so much for your advice and information! We will definitely take it all to heart and can't wait to make the journey!

Viranda

Registered
03/01/2016

Posts
1

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

March 02, 2016 11:43AM

Quote
hansherlighed
My wife and I did the hike in Feb. '10. It was fantastic!

Ranger Don Near from NPS was our guide and told many interesting things - mostly about the nature.

Take the guided tour and the boat back - you'll get to see the south shore wich is very different from the north shore.
The guided tour is worth the money - no doubt about that!

Enjoy!

Thanks for the tips. I don't usually like guided tours but I think I might for this hike. Can't wait to see the south shore as well.

If you need to lose weight then learn about phen375 here as it helps.

Alana33

Registered
07/01/2012

Posts
791

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

March 05, 2016 08:32AM

Good shoes, lots of water, bug repellent are good to take.
I prefer the trail from Lamesure but you can't go wrong with the park guided tour and boat ride back. You'll learn a lot.

Not sure how the road to Lamesure is these days. If it's rained and you don't have 4WD, you might not wish to attempt driving down. Down will be okay but back up may not be.

albertjohns

Registered
07/14/2017

Posts
1

Re: Reef Bay Trail Hike in St. John

July 14, 2017 06:25AM

Quote
Viranda

My wife and I did the hike in Feb. '10. It was fantastic!

Ranger Don Near from NPS was our guide and told many interesting things - mostly about the nature.

Take the guided tour and the boat back - you'll get to see the south shore wich is very different from the north shore.
The guided tour is worth the money - no doubt about that!

Enjoy!

Thanks for the tips. I don't usually like guided tours but I think I might for this hike. Can't wait to see the south shore as well.


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