Annaly Bay Tide Pools
The Annaly Bay tide pools, sometimes called the Carambola tide pools, are a series of large, naturally formed pools found on the west end of St. Croix's beautiful North Shore. While accessing these pools is a bit of a challenging hike, it is worth every single step. On your way to the tide pools, you will hike through a portion of the island's rainforest and enjoy breathtaking views of Carambola Beach Resort, Davis Bay, and the seemingly endless Caribbean Sea.
Location: West End, North Shore
Distance: 5.2 miles (roundtrip from Trumbull Trailhead)
Approximate Time: 1.5-2 hours (roundtrip)
Highest Elevation: 266 feet
Trailhead: From the parking area at the Carambola Beach Resort, the trailhead will be up on the right just up the hill from the employee parking just before the guard gate. The beginning of the trail is marked with a sign saying, "Trumbull Trail" up a small embankment. If you can’t find it, ask at the guard stationed at the guardhouse for directions to the trailhead.
Directions: Follow the trail west through the forest. The initial hike up is steep, but the trail eventually levels out and after a mile or so and begins to descend to the coast. After about 30 minutes, you will come to an open grassy area. The main trail continues straight west, but look for a side trail on the left (south), usually marked by a piece of cloth tied to a tree branch. Turn left on that side trail, which goes downhill, ending at a dirt road. Turn right on the dirt road, and follow it down to the beach and the Annaly Bay Tide Pools.
At the far west end of the beach you will need to climb over or around the rocks jutting into the water to the tide pools. There are many natural hand and foot holds in the rocks for you to hold onto as you climb around the rock walls to the first tide pool. Please be extremely careful as you traverse the rocks because they are often sharp, wet and slippery, and the waves may be breaking against them as you climb. Take your time and make sure you are wearing sturdy, non-slip shoes or water socks.
Guided Tours: If you're not comfortable doing the hike, but would like to experience the tide pools, consider taking a guided hike. We recommend Fitness Integrated Tours, who will teach you about the history, culture, botany and local environment as you go.
The hiking trail winds through the lush, sub tropical rainforest where you will likely see millipedes, butterflies, hermit crabs, lizards, huge termite nests, and larger-than-life botanicals. As you hike, make sure to watch where you are stepping because the trail is steep and uneven in areas, and it’s often traversed by tree roots. You may also encounter nests of ants, but if you continue to move at a steady pace they shouldn't bother you.
As you crest the hill you will have a panoramic view from high above the Carambola Beach Resort towards the east. Then, the rainforest gives way to open areas of waist-high grass leading down to the rocky beach. The terrain of the trail, especially in the more open areas, can be rough, rocky, or muddy, and the trail can be difficult to find and follow. Make sure to watch your step and stay on the trail by looking for natural trail markings and foot-worn paths.
The beach at the end of the trail is comprised of smooth rocks and pebbles instead of sand, and the surf can be quite rough on this beach, so it is not great for swimming. But don't worry, the real draw of taking the time to get to Annaly Bay are the tide pools. At the far west end of the beach you will need to climb over (or 'Spiderman' around) the rocks to get to the tide pools. Luckily, there are many natural hand and foot holds in the rocks for you to use to hold yourself up as you climb around the rock walls of the cliff face to the first tide pool. Please be extremely careful as you traverse the rock walls because the rocks are often sharp, wet and slippery, and the waves break against them where your feet will be resting. Again, just take your time and make sure you are wearing sturdy, non-slip shoes or water socks.
The Annaly Bay tide pools are formed by waves and tide pushing seawater through a small crevice into a basin and trapping it there, thus forming swimming pool-sized tidal pools. Luckily, since the crevice continuously allows water to both enter and exit the basin, the water is prevented from becoming stagnate even though it is seemingly still and calm. Some of the tide pools reach depths of about 4-5 feet, so you can actually float and swim around inside the pools. There are more pools besides the first large one you come to, so you can continue climbing over the rocks to the west to check out the other pools. The pools also make for easy snorkeling if you bring your own gear. You may see colorful tropical fish, crabs, sea urchins, and more.
We highly recommend that first time visitors take a guided hike to the tide pools with Fitness Integrated Tours, as the terrain can be quite precarious. Not only will your local guide get you there safely, but you'll learn about the history, culture, botany and local environment as you go.
- While much of the trail is shaded, the tide pools and beach typically are not so be sure to wear lots of sun protection.
- There are no amenities, so bring plenty of water and a snack.
- Since the terrain is rocky and uneven, wear sturdy footwear that ties or straps onto your feet.
- For your safety, do not hike alone, and proceed only if you are physically fit enough to complete a hike safely.
- There is little to no cellphone reception along the trail, service in this area is spotty at best.
- Vehicles can be parked at Carambola Beach Resort from which you can walk to the trailhead.
- Do not leave any valuables in your car while hiking.
- Be sure to check the wind and sea conditions before taking this hike.
From the intersection of Route 80 and Route 69 on the North Shore (west of Cane Bay), go west on North Shore Road for about 1 mile to Carambola Beach Resort. Turn left into the parking area just before the guard gate. The trailhead is straight uphill from parking area.