Buck Island Reef
|Best known for its snorkeling, the island also offers good walking trails.|
Reef National Monument
Located less than two miles north of St. Croix, Buck Island Reef National Monument is famous for its underwater snorkel trail lined with information markers.
Under the protection of the U.S. National Park Service since 1962, Buck Island has 700-acres of protected coral reef wich surrounds a 176-acre uninhabited island.
Moire than 250 species of fish swim in and around the elkhorn coral barrier reef surrounding two-thirds of the island. The famous underwater trail is at the eastern most point of the reef.
This is the most popular day trip (half days mostly) from the Christiansted area. Boats go out in both morning and afternoon. Pick the time convenient to your schedule.
You also can hike into the interior of 176-acre Buck Island. Once a major grazing location for goats, Buck Island was stripped of its trees to create pasture.
Now free of domestic animals and humans, the land is returning to a more natural state. It is a dry place, particularly the eastern and southern sections where the vegetation is mostly cactus and low thorny bushes.
Trees are found in some moist areas, on the western slopes and in ravines.
Buck Island walks have become increasingly popular. The Park Service has installed 2 picnic areas, and the 45-minute hike to the 300-foot high summit has an observation tower for better views of Buck Island and St. Croix.
This trail is rocky, so wear shoes. A combination snorkel/hike excursion from St. Croix takes anywhere between a half and a full day.