Hiking on St. Maarten surrounded by lush greenery


Hit the trails for an up-close encounter with nature.


By Alita Singh



Attention nature lovers: St. Maarten/St. Martin invites you to explore its many hiking trails. Crisscrossing the island’s rolling hills and meandering along the sandy or rocky coastline are trails for all levels of hikers. You can plot a course yourself using online tools, schedule a guided hike with a tour company such as Tri-Sport, or seek out one of the local hiking groups. Here are a few hikes that will inspire you to explore.



Back Bay (Easy)

The natural pools are the reward of this 1.3-mile out-and-back trail at Back Bay. Start in Point Blanche or Guana Bay. Hike along the hillside through little cactus forests. Don’t forget your swimsuit to enjoy a refreshing dip in the pools. This is an easy route and takes about 28 minutes to complete.



Pelican Peak (Easy)

Pelican Peak offers amazing views of Point Blanche and St. Barths to the east and Great Bay and Philipsburg to the west. This is a 2.5-mile out-and-back trail that takes about 90 minutes to complete. Remember to bring your camera or smartphone.



Fort Amsterdam (Moderate)

A scenic along-the-coast hike is to Fort Amsterdam Peninsula. Explore this 1.8-mile out-and-back trail near Little Bay. Start in the vicinity of Belair Beach Hotel and walk along the beach and rocky coastline to the peninsula. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, this trail takes about an hour out-and-back to complete. The fort ruins provide a good place to imagine what the garrison may have been like in olden days.



Pic Paradis (Moderate)

Conquer the highest point on the island: Pic Paradis. This is a popular area for birding, hiking, and running; so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The 2.8-mile out-and-back trail starts near Colombier, or you can access alternative ways to the top from Loterie Farm. The main trail takes about two hours to complete.



Grandes Cayes (Easy)

Tackle this 3.2-mile out-and-back trail near French Cul de Sac. The easy route takes about 75 minutes. It’s a popular trail for hiking and walking, but you can still find some tranquility during quieter times of day.



Bellevue Border-Crossing Hike (Easy to Moderate)

This hiking trail starts just off the main road into Marigot and leads past a small wooden bridge over an old stone wall (also referred to as a “slave wall”). Follow the trail to the Dutch side. Keep an eye out for flags before crossing the border.  This takes about an hour.



EPIC Hikes

The local Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) Foundation hosts a monthly free guided hike. The hikes are open to the public and feature a different trail each month. Joining the EPIC hikes is a good way to connect with nature and nature lovers. Learn more about EPIC’s schedule on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/epicislands.



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