Where is this trailhead?! The Hams Bluff Lighthouse once stood sentinel on the north shore of St Croix, US Virgin Islands, aiding ships around the coast. Now, the lighthouse may be in ruins but the views are still phenomenal!
Finding the trailhead, however, is a little strange if you’re used to more maintained trails. No worries! Let me help you figure out how to hike to the Hams Bluff Lighthouse so you can get that amazing photo that will be your desktop background until your next vacation. 😉
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The Hams Bluff Lighthouse Trail: What to Bring
A few prerequisite items before finding your way to the Hams Bluff Lighthouse hike.
Rent a car if you’re on the island for more than a weekend. There’s so much to do in St Croix and having a car is your best option for getting around the island. The Hams Bluff Lighthouse is on the northwest corner of St Croix, so it’s a long ride from Christiansted. A taxi could drop you off, but you’ll have to call another and wait for it to arrive after you finish your hike. Not ideal.
2. Sturdy shoes
This is not a difficult hike but the way to the lighthouse is mostly uphill. Highly recommend real shoes, not flip flops. There’s no water crossings and it’s easier to hike uphill in shoes with grip, whether that’s sneakers, hiking sandals, or hiking boots.
3. Bug spray
The trail is covered forest, and bugs love hikers. Apply bug spray before starting the trail. The flat end by the building is grass, and bug spray can fend off ticks, too. I like this kind because it goes on dry and not oily.
Amazing views are meant to be shared! The best camera is the one you have in your hand. Cell phones have pretty decent cameras nowadays, and let’s be honest, how many of you go anywhere without your phone? A good DSLR is better for capturing trickier shots, like the faint outlines of St Thomas and St John on the horizon!
Not a difficult hike or a long hike, but this is the Caribbean so it’s hot all year round. Bring a bottle of water per person. You’ll never regret having water and not needing it, but you WILL regret needing water and not having it.
Where is the Hams Bluff Lighthouse Trailhead?
Now that you are prepared for this hike, let’s find the trailhead.
Drive north from Frederiksted along the coast on Highway 63/Hams Bluff Road. The drive is almost a straight shot up the coast and only takes about 20 minutes from the center of town.
As you pass Monk’s Bath Bay, look for the turnoff to the left. If you dead end into the construction company, you’ve gone too far and missed the turnoff. (I did this.)
Turn left to continue onto Hams Bluff Road until it dead ends into an abandoned building. Park here in the lot. Remember these important tips when visiting St Croix and leave your car unlocked with no valuables in it. There may be another car or two, but this hike is not typically crowded.
The trail begins on the east side of the abandoned building and may be marked with a blue pallet sign. It’s off-putting that this starts at an abandoned building, but I never felt unsafe here.
I definitely wandered around the dead end of the road, saw the abandoned building, went down to the beach instead looking for a trailhead, and finally asked someone at the beach and they told me to just go around the deserted building. 😅
How to Hike to Hams Bluff Lighthouse: What’s that Rustling in the Bushes?
So now you’ve found the trailhead and are ready to hike.
The Hams Bluff Lighthouse trail is shaded by trees and the forest is moderately dense with lots of green bushes and undergrowth. It is uphill on the way to the lighthouse, but just keep thinking about how it’s all downhill on the way back to your car.
The hike up typically takes around 15-20 minutes, and you’ll have plenty of time to rest and admire those views at the top.
A tale of caution (but nothing to really worry about): you may hear some rustling in the bushes.
On my hike to Hams Bluff Lighthouse, I heard some rustling and basically ignored it. Birds or squirrels or whatever, right? Then the rustling gets louder and closer, and this is clearly a larger animal than a bird.
Flash backs to Jurassic Park come to mind. After all, we did just pass what looked like the bunker, and its tall undergrowth, so now I’m thinking maybe it’s a raptor because that’s logical. 😂
The rustling continues and draws closer and finally, a couple of goats come strolling out of the undergrowth onto the path a few yards ahead of us! Apparently, the goats are allowed to roam from their nearby homes and that’s totally ok.
Go figure. Goats, not raptors. 🤣
So, if you hear some unexpected noises in the forest as you hike, it’s probably just a friendly goat!
What to See at the Hams Bluff Lighthouse
The end of the forested trail will break out into a clearing at the top of the hill and you’ll see the Hams Bluff Lighthouse first. A few yards further and you’ll get your first glimpse of the deep blue Caribbean and the north shore of St Croix.
The lighthouse is not preserved or maintained in any way. It’s literally a rusting metal tower, turning into its own work of art as it ages. Climb at your own risk! The views from the ground are just as good as the views from the decrepit tower, and much safer.
Looking to your right (east) along the north shore of the island you will see verdant green mountainous cliffs, very á la Hawaii, and that deep blue Caribbean Sea that everyone dreams about when stuck in a cubicle at work.
Looking north on a clear day, you can just make out the outlines of the islands of St Thomas and St John, the other two US Virgin Islands. St Croix’s siblings are a great option for your next Caribbean vacation, offering their own unique experiences. 😎
Hike Back Down & Stop at the Beach
The hike back is easy as it’s all downhill from the lighthouse! After you’ve had your fill of views and taken ALL the pictures and hiked back down to your car, take a few minutes to explore the nearby beach as well.
Then go find one of the best spots for snorkeling in St Croix.
Did You Make it to the Hams Bluff Lighthouse?
This area is continually changing, from season to season and year to year. Let me know below if the directions were helpful and you successfully found your way to the lighthouse and the views!
About the Author: Rachel Means
With six-figure student loan debt and only 10 PTO days per year, Rachel started traveling the world. A decade later, she’s paid off her loans, changed careers, and been to 36 US states and 14 countries. She’s an expert at planning and budgeting for travel and loves to help others do it, too! Read her full story here.