I decided not to stay on the beach as the sign just outside of Caneel Bay Resort for the Caneel trail was on my mind. My wife had done the trial years ago and said the view was spectacular. So I dropped my son and his friend off at Hawksnest Beach while I ventured the trail for my first time. I did a loop that took me first to the Water Catchment. (A wrong turn took me to Centerline road) but I ventured back and finally made the climb to Margaret Hill – worth the effort. My total time on the trail was just under two hours.
Here is my hike in words, images and video. If you get the chance take the trail.
I parked at the entrance to the trial on Rte. 20 just across the entrance to Caneel Bay. I had Margaret Hill as a destination, but first stopped at Water Catchment. I realized later that the trail sign at the trail head needs to be combined with the a trail map (see below and combination on the left) as I at first did not understand how I got to the Catchment first, then up to Centerline Road. I went back to an unmarked cutoff where I should have gone right, not left . However, it was all worth it as I eventually made my way to the wonderful view at Margaret Hill.
Quickly into the hike you encounter an old stone retaining wall.
You then begin your ascent on a well groomed trail.
Following the path takes you to the Water Catchment. The catchment is an extensive concrete slab that catches rainwater, leading it into a basin for temporary storage. The water is piped through the force of gravity to the Caneel Bay Resort.
There are views from various spots when you get close to the top. I was able to slip between some rocks to experience some great views before a small side trail gives you access to a “Platform Rock” with panoramic views.
A short Margaret Hill trail video
The Caneel Hill portion of this trail can be accessed from Cruz Bay and is a bit more challenging. The easiest way to get to the Margaret Hill views is to access the trail from Centerline Road. When you exit the gate at Hummingbird Hill Villa, turn left. Then turn left onto Centerline road. The trial entrance will be on your right. Enjoy your stay on St. John, USVI!