Nez Casse Trail
Time: 5 hours round trip. Difficulty: 3-4. Not blazed, this trail's easy beginning is followed by a difficult ascent. Take water and snacks. Trailhead: Depart and return on the Soufriere Road, at the Beausoleil picnic area.
Walk the right bank of the canal for about 200 meters to the basin. Ascending Nez Casse will take you into the forest of Bains Jaunes, 500-1000m high. This forest shows the diverse stages of old growth and secondary growth forest.
Walk along the right bank for 20 minutes to the small dam on the Riviere
Noire (Black River). When the water is high, you'll have to sidetrack
to keep from getting wet.
Walk the dam to reach the other side of the Black River. The trail then continues along the riverbank following the current. Rather than cross at the dam, you could cross the river several meters downstream.
Now the ascent of Nez Casse really begins. The first 15 minutes demand effort and sweat, up a steep rise. Afterwards, the slope is less steep and more regular but the ridge is narrow. Don't wander to the right.
Your final 20 minutes will be dedicated to a rather acrobatic ascent through the tangled foliage of mountain mangroves. Eventually you'll reach the summit ridge of Nez Casse, thin as a knife-blade between dizzying peaks of more than 200 meters.
With just a little more effort--but only if you're not subject to vertigo--scale
this last rock, the true summit of Nez Casse, at 1,281m.
Your return by the same trail will seem much quicker than the ascent.