Caneel Hill Trail, St. John Overview
Caneel Hill Trail is one of the most popular trails in Virgin Islands National Park on St. John featuring panoramic views of Cruz Bay, Trunk Bay, & the surrounding islands. Caneel Hill Trail (which leads to the top of Margaret Hill) is a spectacular sunset spot, perhaps the best in all of Virgin Islands National Park. The hike up to the viewpoint is moderately difficult at nearly 1700ft of elevation gain and plenty of rocks and roots to trip over.
Time Needed: 2-3 hours
We explored Caneel Hill Trail after Hurricane Maria and cover what it looks like now in this post.
In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know about Caneel Hill (and Margaret Hill) and the hike to it including:
- Caneel Hill Trail Tips & Things to Know
- Best time to visit Caneel Hill Trail
- Getting to Caneel Hill
- Caneel Hill post-hurricane Maria
- Photos of Caneel Hill Trail
Sunset Caneel Hill Trail | Virgin Islands National Park, St. John USVI
Things to Know Before Visiting Ram Head
Pack food and water for the hike, you’ll need it.
- TRAIL FUEL: Make sure to pack more water than you think you’ll need if you plan on hiking all the way to the bay. We recommend packing some snacks (or a picnic lunch) as well.
Closed-toed sandals or hiking boots are your friend.
- FOOTWEAR: We recommend wearing hiking shoes/boots if you plan on hiking to the popular overlook featured above. While a fair section of the trail is through sand, much of it is not and could cause problems for folks wearing flip flops.
Please, Wear Sunscreen.
- SUNSCREEN: Goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway – wear sunscreen! The Caribbean is unforgiving on unprotected skin. We’ve made that mistake enough times to make lathering up a top priority. We highly recommend this one that we’ve been using for years and buy in bulk.
Depending on the time of year/day you might want to pack insect repellent.
- BUG SPRAY: We didn’t have too much trouble with mosquitoes but some people do so you may want to be prepared with sunscreen. We recommend this eco-friendly, DEET free insect repellent we’ve been using for years.
Caneel Hill Trail & Margaret Hill | Virgin Islands National Park, USVI
Best Time to Visit Ram Head
The best time to visit Caneel Hill Trail is in the evening around sunset. Caneel Hill Trail (to Margaret Hill) is perhaps the best place on St. John to watch the sunset. From the top, hikers can take in the panoramic views of Cruz Bay, Trunk Bay, and the surrounding islands as the sun sets.
Getting to Caneel Hill Trail
The Caneel Hill Trailhead is a 5 minute drive on the main park road (North Shore Rd) from Cruz Bay where the main island ferry lands. Visitors can use the small parking lot at the trailhead if bringing their own vehicle or island taxi service.
This trail can be done as an out & back or an end to end with termini near the Caneel Bay Resort and in Cruz Bay itself.
Exploring the Caneel Hill Trail
The Caneel Bay Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park and on all of St. John. The route takes hikers from sea level up through the rocky forested jungle to sweeping panoramic views of Coral Bay & St John Island above. This hike should not be attempted without the proper footwear (hiking shoes or hiking boots). Hikers will regret wearing flip flops on this trail.
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Margaret Hill from Caneel Hill Trail | Virgin Islands National Park, St. John USVI
Caneel Hill Trail After Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria had a devastating impact on the Caribbean islands, especially St. John, home to Virgin Islands National Park. Many of the photos of the park you’ll find feature locations that have been totally changed since the hurricane hit the island in 2017.
With that being said, the Caneel Hill Trail has been largely repaired from hurricane damage and is still stunningly beautiful – well worth the trip!
*all of our photos of the park feature it in its current condition, post-2017 hurricane Maria damage
Nearby Caneel Hill Trail
Caneel Hill Trail | Virgin Islands National Park, St. John USVI
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VIRGIN ISLANDS 8K is a visually stunning journey through one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, Virgin Islands. Journey with More Than Just Parks as we explore this tropical paradise located on the outskirts of the Caribbean Sea. Swim with sea turtles, explore ancient jungle ruins, relax on white sand beaches, and soak in the island beauty. This is Virgin Islands National Park.
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