Hiking the Nature Island
We love hiking in Dominica because it combines three things—the beauty of the Nature Island, the stress relieving process of walking amongst pure unadulterated nature and, of course, exercise. Our island also happens to be home to the Caribbean’s longest hiking trail. In order to help you plan for a well-rounded Secret Bay stay, we’ve outlined a handful of hikes from the easiest of walks to the most extreme hiking adventures.
Easy Hike – Syndicate Rainforest
Just 15 minutes from Secret Bay, you’ll find Syndicate Rainforest. At only .8 miles, this is a 45 minute relaxing hike through the rainforest at the foothills of Dominica’s tallest mountain, Morne Diablotin. Syndicate is a sanctuary for some noteworthy migrant bird species that can be found in the National Park in which it lies, including a unique parrot called the Sisserou. You’ll experience an Oceanic Rainforest environment, majestic trees and a well-maintained path. Offering an easy walking trail, Syndicate is a great way to enjoy the vistas of the island and stretch your body after a few days at the beach.
Moderate Hike – Segment 13 – Penville to Capuchin
Part of the only island-wide hiking trail in the Caribbean, Segment 13 is a four hour hike that climbs 381 meters (1,250 feet) and about 8 km (85 miles). On this moderate climb, you’ll find remnants of the Lost Grand Fond Village and capture great views of Marie Gallante, Les Saintes and Guadeloupe, our neighboring French islands. You may also wish to stop at the Penville Village Waterfalls, Cold Soufriere Springs or linger at a fort that was used during war between Great Britain and France in the 1800s. Segment 13 is one of the most historic trails on the Nature Island so this exotic hike leads you from town to town just as the indigenous Arawaks and Kalinago did hundreds of years ago.
Difficult Hike – Boiling Lake
Noted as one of Dominica’s most demanding trails, the Boiling Lake hike clocks in at six hours round trip, covers roughly 13 km (8 miles) and reaches 900 meters (2,950 feet). About 90 minutes away, this will be a full day excursion from Secret Bay—but well worth it. It is often suggested, depending on your experience level, that a guide accompany you on this trail. The trail cuts through wet rain forest, montane forest, and beautiful picturesque mountain ridges, offering a diverse range of scenery. One must-see feature along the way is the Valley of Desolation, which was supposedly once a forest area but now appears eerily devoid of life aside from a dense coating of moss on the ground. This location denotes that you are about one hour from Boiling Lake.
You’ll know when you’ve arrived at Boiling Lake as it is just that, a boiling cauldron of blue/grey water dispersing vapor. Boiling Lake is actually a fumarole, or an opening in the earth’s surface near a volcano, from which sulfurous gas emerges. At 200 feet in diameter, the lake traps rainfall and, as the water reaches lava below, it is heated to the point of boiling.
The Waitukubuli Trail
Waitukubuli By Land
The Waitukubuli Trail, of which Segment 13 is a part, is the only long distance hiking trail in the Caribbean—a national trail traversing the entire island of Dominica in 14 segments that range from easy to expert levels. The trail is named Waitukubuli as it is the name that the indigenous Kalinago assigned to the island. Officially opened since 2013, the trail covers 185 km (115 miles), spanning an array of different terrain and regions including Scotts Head and Cabrits National Park as well as local communities and coastal vistas. It also passes through some fascinating preserved historic and natural sites.
Some adventurers come to experience many of the trail’s diverse segments. Starting from Scotts Head in the south and winding north all the way to Capuchin, you have your pick of hikes, but be sure to ask us how to obtain a trail pass beforehand.