Hiking STX- Annaly ...
 
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Hiking STX- Annaly Bay, Isaacs Bay, Hamms Bluff

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wcpalmer
(@wcpalmer)
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I posted this in the travel board and didnt get any response... so I am gonna try the relocation forum

I will be in St. Croix this weekend with my father. We want to get in as much adventure as we can but time is very limited.

We would like to do a couple little hikes to secluded snorkeling spots.. I just want to make sure they are worth our time.

I am wondering how is the hike to the Tidal Pools at Annaly Bay?
Would you recommend doing the full hike?
I have read that you can drive up relatively close in a Jeep to access them... how close can you get by car?
How is the snorkeling at the Tidal Pools at Annaly Bay?
Is it better to go at Low or High tide?

I would also like to snorkel Isaac's Bay, and read that there is a nice little hike from Point Udall to Isaac's Bay...
How is the snorkeling at Isaac's Bay?
How is the Hike from point Udall to Isaac's Bay?

And if time allows we would like to hike to Hamms Bluff to watch the sun set....

Any advice on these or any other hiking/snorkeling spots in STX would be very greatly appreciated.

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Topic starter Posted : February 11, 2014 5:00 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

I posted this in the travel board and didnt get any response... so I am gonna try the relocation forum

I will be in St. Croix this weekend with my father. We want to get in as much adventure as we can but time is very limited.

We would like to do a couple little hikes to secluded snorkeling spots.. I just want to make sure they are worth our time.

I am wondering how is the hike to the Tidal Pools at Annaly Bay?
Would you recommend doing the full hike?
I have read that you can drive up relatively close in a Jeep to access them... how close can you get by car?
How is the snorkeling at the Tidal Pools at Annaly Bay?
Is it better to go at Low or High tide?

Annaly Bay - on driving, I do NOT recommend driving a rental jeep or car - the dirt road is very rough, steep, full of DEEP ruts, and dangerous - and it is not a short drive down the hill. If you want to drive there I highly recommend riding with the Tan Tan Tour guys. They go there on several of their tours. They also will help you with the climb over the rocks into the tide pool, which are sharp, steep, slippery when wet, and can be dangerous. If you choose to drive yourself they are who will come pull your Jeep out of the ruts when you get stuck. 😉 They are also a really fun "adventure tour" - four wheel drive jeep adventure around the island, seeing many hidden sights along the way, including inside a Sugar Mill and some stops in the rainforest, as well as the tide pools.

I don't know anyone that snorkels the tide pools - they aren't very large, and the bottom is mostly sandy/rocky - it's more of a natural "hot tub" to go swim and sit in and enjoy. At higher tides the waves actually crash over the top of the pool cavern and you can sit under them and get soaked. Outside the pools the ocean is generally pretty rough - not sure about snorkeling. Others here may have more information.

I have friends who have done the hike and found it quite enjoyable, it is steep and rough in spots and fairly long but I don't think any special needs are necessary. I haven't hiked it myself so I will ask my friend who has gone many times for you if you don't get more information from someone else.

Adding: The hike from Point Udall to Isaac's isn't too long, about half an hour to an hour - the best advice I can give you on that one is when you park your car in the access lot, leave your windows open, car unlocked, and no valuables in the car. That spot is fairly isolated and unfortunately those cars are targeted regularly for theft. This is actually good advice for any of the spots where you and your Dad go hiking. 🙂

Have fun!

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Posted : February 11, 2014 5:28 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
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i too was going to suggest tan tan tours

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Posted : February 11, 2014 8:01 pm
wcpalmer
(@wcpalmer)
Advanced Member

Julie Kay,
We will be renting a jeep for the weekend, so I dont think we will do the tan tan tour when we already have a rental.

I dont think we will try to drive down to Annaly Bay... we might walk it if we have time. It sounds pretty cool.

I certainly want to do the hike from Point Udall to Isaac's... thanks for the tip about leaving the car unlocked. we are planning on doing that everywhere but its good to know that Point Udall is a hot spot for break ins.

Any advice on Hamm's Bluff and the old Lighthouse?

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Topic starter Posted : February 11, 2014 8:54 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

The Tan Tan Tour is more than just a jeep rental - you'll see places you wouldn't otherwise - and the guys that do it are a ton of fun! I don't know them or anything, I just really recommend it.

If you choose to go to Annaly by yourself just be careful - and seriously, don't try to drive it. You WILL get stuck, or even flip the jeep - I can find some pics on Facebook and link them here if you want to see. The Tan Tan guys know the ruts and road really well and I'm still amazed they can make it. At the pool, if the waves are high it can be dangerous - and there are hidden holes and tubes under the water. A young woman drowned there two years ago after being sucked into an underwater tube. Stick to areas you can see and explore. One end is deep enough to jump into feet first, but again be careful if the waves are high. And be careful climbing over the rock wall to the pool - bring water shoes, not any kind of sandal, you will be climbing over sharp slippery rocks. It is a fun and worth it, but it definitely is a more strenuous attraction.

If no one responds about Hamm's Bluff, I'll ask my friend who goes there. I've never been.

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Posted : February 11, 2014 9:06 pm
toninski
(@toninski)
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I hiked to Hamms bluff with my sons cubscout troop..it's an easy hike,but that was in Daylight..I would go in the day, then head down the hill and watch the sunset from rainbow beach..the road to the end at Hamms bluff is awful and the trail is hard to see. Just my opinion. The west sunset is a must though!!! But be safe and be at least back to rainbow beach or Coconuts or Teres Veho!

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Posted : February 11, 2014 10:13 pm
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

Tan tan tour is great! They take you places you won't otherwise go to . It's a blast, even for a local. When I have visitors, it is a great way to tourthe island.
The hike to the tide pools is about 2.5 miles one way and if you are not familiar with the hike, the path becomes a bit iffy at one point. Then getting to the pools is another obstacle.
If you want snorkeling, Isaacs bay is amazing. I think one of the best, if not the best on island. Be on the look out for fire coral. Other good snorkeling is the pier out west and cane bay.

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Posted : February 11, 2014 11:33 pm
bathiel
(@bathiel)
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I'll second (or third) the hike to Annally, and definitely do that instead of jeeping it. It's a wonderful hike--not too strenuous, except for in a few spots--and the payoff is worth it. Same goes for the lighthouse--it's a short hike, and the views are fantastic.

Isaac's is also well worth the trip. The snorkeling is really good there, but be mindful of the current. It can be very strong, so if you're not good swimmers, don't stray too far off shore. I've found it's easiest to walk to the eastern end of the beach and "put in" there so you can basically drift snorkel west with the current. Just be sure to get out before you hit the rocks at the western end.

If you're really into hiking, and you're both in good shape, I'd suggest the Goat Hill hike to Isaac's. It's a two-hour or so hike, and the view at the top of Goat Hill is amazing. The payoff after the hike is swimming at Isaac's. I've usually parked the car at Point Udall, then walked or jogged (about a mile) back down to the trailhead by the telescope. After swimming at Isaac's, you can then do the short walk from there to Point Udall to pick up the car.

You also asked about other snorkel spots. It may sound crazy, but I've consistently found the small patches to the north off Rainbow Beach to be really fun. They're an easy swim from the beach, and the water is clear and shallow. I've always seen interesting stuff there, including five turtles in one session, a moray, snakefish, and last week, a good-sized octopus.

Bernie

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Posted : February 12, 2014 1:38 am
stt007
(@stt007)
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Is the best access to jacks n isaacs from point udall or is there a better place to drive and then walk there?

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Posted : February 12, 2014 10:46 am
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
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You can hike to Jack + Isaac from the Grapetree side. Pass the old resort (that is being renovated) and park near the sign that tells you to use Pt. Udall side. There is a chain across the entrance to the trail. It is about 1.6 mi to Isaac. Great hike. I've never had my car broken into.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 1:14 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
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I've heard the Grapetree residents have blocked that trail - lately people have told me that they can't find it?

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Posted : February 12, 2014 1:18 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
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Well I guess I shouldn't advertise it too much. But it has not been blocked and if you know where it is, it is easy to find. There's a chain across the entrance to the trail, but you can walk around it. I go almost every weekend.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 1:30 pm
JulieKay
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Okay, yes I heard it was blocked off. The homeowners in Grapetree (I have friends there) don't want a lot of non-neighborhood traffic in the area...it is a private road. 😉

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Posted : February 12, 2014 1:46 pm
Darrin
(@Darrin)
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We just hiked Jack's and Issacs on Monday, and the tidal pools yesterday.

The waves were coming in pretty strong at Jack and Issacs, so snorkeling would be very risky right now. We saw someone get in and try, but they were out in less than a minute. It was a nice hike, but I wouldn't count on snorkeling right now.

I hadn't been to the tidal pools in a few years, and the trail head entrance has changed. When you get to the resort, right at the guard shack, you turn left to go up and park. To find the trail entrance, look for a patch of asphalt that runs up the hill. Keep looking to your right and you will see a wooden sign for the start of the trail. I would estimate it is about 50 feet or so from the start.

I would were some comfortable shoes for the hike, but take pair of water shoes to climb across the rocks to get to the tidal pools. As others have mentioned, they are rather shallow pools with just a few dozen fish in them. Not a really great snorkel spot.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 1:47 pm
islandjoan
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Yeah I can see how they wouldn't want a lot of non-neighborhood traffic and it is a private road.

But it's not blocked yet. And as long as crowds don't come, and aren't loud, and everyone parks on the other side of the road, I don't see why it should be a problem.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 1:50 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

Yeah I can see how they wouldn't want a lot of non-neighborhood traffic and it is a private road.

But it's not blocked yet. And as long as crowds don't come, and aren't loud, and everyone parks on the other side of the road, I don't see why it should be a problem.

Which is why they don't want people spreading the word... 🙂

it is a private neighborhood. I don't think I'd want cars parked all the time by my house I don't know. Would make me nervous.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 6:26 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

People have been going there for years. My parked car shouldn't make anyone nervous esp. when the homeowner across the street sees me leave my car and head to the hiking trail. I hope they don't shut out people because I would hate to have to go through Pt Udall side and get my car broken into. I have heard others report that even unlocked cars get batteries stolen.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 6:34 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
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I don't think it's people like you that are bothering them, Joan. 😉

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Posted : February 12, 2014 6:48 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
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Oh... that's too bad if others are going to screw it up for us, then.

But unless they install a gate, there will be no way to keep people away.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 8:32 pm
janeinstx
(@janeinstx)
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I'm exhausted just reading about all this hiking.

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Posted : February 12, 2014 11:46 pm
stt007
(@stt007)
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Tx for info on grape tree entrance. Took it today, great trail to Jack's! Is there an easy way to get to Isaac's from jack's?

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Posted : February 13, 2014 3:24 pm
islandjoan
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To get to Isaac Bay you need to keep hiking on the trail. Go straight instead of turning off to Jack's. It is a longer hike than from Pt. Udall, but it is not hard. You only have one hill to climb and it is not rocky. The whole hike is about 1.6 miles, I think.

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Posted : February 13, 2014 4:51 pm
stt007
(@stt007)
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Got it. Thanks! Beautiful hike. Perfecto mundo!

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Posted : February 14, 2014 2:04 am
wcpalmer
(@wcpalmer)
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Well I just returned from a glorious weekend in STX!

Thank you all for the information you provided on these hiking spots and snorkeling spots... it was very helpful.
We crammed in just about as much adventure as humanly possible for the time we had.

Our adventure started with SOAKING WET 2 hour ride on the "Vomit Comet" Ferry Ride from STT to STX... that was a riot in itself... we had an awesome time dodging waves and laughing the whole way with all the locals as we got pummeled by sea spray on our moonlit ride to STX. I'm sure everyone made note of the fantastic full moon this weekend (which really made the ferry ride special)!

We walked from the Ferry dock to our hotel (Company House Hotel, in C' Sted) since we arrived too late to be met by the rental car company.

Company House Hotel was just lovely... while the only truly warm shower I had the entire weekend was on the morning we left, I really enjoyed my stay there. The staff was incredibly friendly and made up for any shortcomings we found with the room... really my only "complaint" would be that the shower never got warm the entire weekend... but seriously, who cares when you are in paradise!

Point Udall and the East End was GORGEOUS! We had a blast snorkeling out there.
Darrin, you were right, it was a little too rough to snorkel Isaac's Bay, but we had a great time snorkeling on the north west side of Point Udall (I am thinking we were in Cramer Park... or a little east of there maybe)

The hike to Annaly Bay was Awesome as well! We missed the trail head at first, but after a minute of walking up that asphalt that runs up the hill we turned around and found the wooden sign, no problem. It was raining when we started our hike to the tidal pools so the trail was a bit slick and precarious in some spots. The weather cleared up by the time we reached the pools and we were rewarded by some truly stunning views and had a blast climbing on/jumping off the rocks at the pools.
Julie Kay, I am glad that we took your advice and didn't try to drive it. I think that would have been a little much for our stock rental jeep to handle after a fresh rain. Plus the hike out there through the winding, rocky, jungly trail was half the fun!

The hike to Hamms Bluff was well worth the walk. Quick and dirty... not too strenuous and had some nice shade the entire way. We got some of our best pictures of the entire trip up by the old light house and I was absolutely blown away by the view and wondrous sea breeze that hit you at the top.

Bernie, we tried to snorkel your spot north of Rainbow Beach (or what I thought was rainbow beach) after we spent some time walking around F' Sted one afternoon... I thought we were at rainbow beach.. but we were actually at a super touristy beach a little south of there near the pier and cruise ship... I was a little disappointed when we drove north of the beach we snorkeled and I saw the place you were talking about... My mistake, I will know better next time I come back.

We drove through the "Rain Forest" which was pretty sweet. We skipped the Domino Club and beer drinking pigs... but really enjoyed checking out vast and varied flora of that part of the island.

We made it down to The Agrifest which was a wondrous experience getting to immerse ourselves in Crucian culture, music, and super tasty food (I'm a sucker for meat pies... and probably had the best smoothie of my life)!

Cane Bay and the ride along North Shore Road was breath taking. I really enjoyed that area. We had a great meal at "Eat @ Cane Bay".. and stopped by "Waves" to enjoy a drink on their gorgeous back deck!

We finished off the trip with a "Sea Through Kayaking" Bioluminescent Tour of Salt River Bay which was a truly unique and fantastic experience.

Once again, I cant thank everyone enough for the advice and tips on making the most of our trip. You truly helped make this experience special for myself and my dad! I am in love with this island and it's people and can't believe I was able to experience it. Hopefully in the near future I can call it my home.

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Topic starter Posted : February 19, 2014 2:20 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
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This is awesome; this is exactly why people should be visiting St. Croix. Glad you had a great time. 🙂

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Posted : February 19, 2014 2:31 pm
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