Mount Nevis Peak

This is one of the toughest hikes
in all the Caribbean.

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Time: 4 hours, round trip. Length: 2 miles each way. Difficulty: 5. Trailhead: The starting point, near Zetland Plantation, is difficult to locate. You definitely need a guide for this hike.

As difficult as the climb is, the hardest part may be coming down...try to avoid descending all at once.

Referred to locally as "The Trail," this is one of the Caribbean 's tougher hikes. Climb to the 3,500-foot-high crater rim of Mount Nevis' dormant volcano. You can have a spectacular view, if the clouds are absent--but they rarely are.

Therefore, this is a climb to be made for the sake of the climb itself, not for what you'll see once you reach the top. But you never know--you may be lucky.   

The first 15 minutes are some of steepest and slipperiest as you stumble through big clumps of grass; if you find this too unpleasant, turn back. It only gets worse.

After a few hundred feet, you join The Old Trail, which is narrow but not nearly as difficult. As the forest closes in, you'll see lots of ferns, almond trees and an occasional mango. The smell is moist and earthy, a distinctive tropical smell.

Only a few hundred feet more and the pathway opens to a breeze and a good view of Mount Nevis looming over you. Fifteen minutes from the outset, you arrive at a small plateau with a pond on the left.

It is possible to camp in this field overnight, when accompanied by a local guide.  

Continuing, the trail is once more enclosed by the forest and getting steadily steeper. After about a mile, you can make progress only by scrambling and holding onto trees and roots.

It's extremely tough when the ground is wet because of the moss and the mud; in some places the slope is a dizzying 60 to 70 degrees, so this is almost mountain climbing. The summit is often obscured by a halo of clouds, so sightseeing may be limited.

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