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Hiking the Leinster Bay Trail

Published on June 22, 2019 by Peter Langer

The Leinster Bay Trail is a flat 0.8-mile trail that follows the shoreline of Leinster Bay from the end of the paved road beyond the Annaberg Sugar Mill parking lot Leinster Bay Road to the beach at Waterlemon Bay.

Watch this video to see first hand what it's like to hike this scenic trail that leads to our favorite view on St. John!

The Leinster Bay Trail runs right along the water’s edge with splendid, unobstructed views of Leinster Bay, the Narrows, Sir Francis Drake Channel, and West End, Tortola. Moreover, it provides land access to one of St. John’s best snorkeling locations, Waterlemon Cay, the small island that lies just offshore of the beautiful little beach at Waterlemon Cay.

Trail to Waterlemon Cay
Access to Waterlemon cay

The Johnny Horn Trail begins just behind the beach and continues on to Coral Bay. But if you hike only a short stretch you will be rewarded with some great ruins and spectacular views.

Right near the beginning of the Johnny Horn Trail, there is a short spur trail that follows the shoreline of Waterlemon Bay. By walking along this trail, you can get to a point on the shore that is half the distance to Waterlemon Cay than it would bestarting from the beach. This way you can save your energy for the really good snorkeling around the cay.

Leinster bay access to Waterlemon Cay

Further up the trail there is a spur trail that takes you to ruins of an old Danish guard house. This small fortification was built on this strategic location, called Leinster Point, because it overlooked two critical passages, the Fungi Passage, between Whistling Cay and Mary Point, and the Narrows, which separate Great Thatch and St. John. The guardhouse was equipped with cannons and manned by 16 soldiers.

Danish Guard House

As you proceed up the hill, you will come to several areas that provide excellent views of Leinster Bay and the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

Near the top of the hill, the trail forks. The trail to the left is a spur that leads to the ruins of the James Murphy Estate house. The view from up here is our favorite on St. John.

View from the Murphy House
Waterlemon Cay

Meet The Author
We live in Wilmington, NC, but absolutely love our 2nd home purchased in 2008 on St. John. We have been traveling to St. John every year since 2001 and are excited every time we get to go back to our St. John escape. We couldn't find a better location on St. John that would give us both spectacular views and the convenience of being so close to town. Being able to walk everywhere means a lot to us. We don't always feel like we need to rent a jeep which is a plus. It is also nice not to have to worry about driving if you happen to have maybe one too many Painkillers:) Having a reserved parking space in the covered garage is a great benefit. No more parking hassles driving into Cruz Bay.We love that we have a view of the water from every living area. We have sweeping views that we never tire of from the terrace. The terrace is furnished for outdoor dining and it is the perfect spot for sipping morning coffee and checking out all that is going on in the harbor. Cocktails while watching the unbelievable St. John sunsets are always a highlight of the day. We can't get over how easy it is to do everything we want on St. John starting right from our condo. It is so easy to get to all the shops, restaurants and bars. There are also hikes into the National Park we can take starting right from our place.
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