If you are looking for a short (but relatively intense) hike with incredible views, and a little historical value to boot, head for Hams Bluff. Located where St. Croix’s North Shore and West End meet, this 30-45 minute hike offers scenic vistas along the trail ending at the historic Hams Bluff Lighthouse, 360 feet above sea level.
A group of us hiked to Hams Bluff and I can confirm that just about anyone in decent shape can do this hike. However, I will warn you that while the distance is relatively short, the hike to the lighthouse is all uphill. The good news is that the trail is partially shaded, and the hike back is all downhill. The best news of all is that this hike is totally worth the effort for the stunning view of North Shore alone!
Once you reach the lighthouse, the views are breathtaking and the winds gusting across Hams Bluff provide a nice cooling effect after the exertion of the uphill hike. As you look towards the North Shore you can see the Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort, Annaly Bay, and Davis Bay. Looking towards the West End you can take in the beauty of Hams Bluff and see the waves crashing in Hams Bay. For an even better view you can climb up into the lighthouse itself, but please do so carefully! The lighthouse is inactive and so it is rusting and has subsequently developed holes in the floors and some sharp protrusions.
For planning purposes, it took our group of 8 about an hour and a half to hike up to the lighthouse, look around and take some pictures, rest and drink some water, and then hike back down to our vehicles. Our group ranged in age from about 35 to 60, and included people of all different fitness levels. Everyone had a great experience, and said they would do it again. In fact, this spot is so scenic that I would suggest taking a picnic breakfast or lunch with you and enjoying it once you reach the lighthouse.
To get directions to the trail and details about this hike and more, please visit our Hiking Trails Guide.
Make a day of it on the West End:
If you are planning on hiking to Hams Bluff Lighthouse but want a longer hike, you can continue on a trail leading from Hams Bluff to Maroon Ridge (or Maroonberg) which is located high on the scenic ridge Northeast of Hams Bluff. Or, once you have finished your hike to Ham’s Bluff, you can drive just down Route 63 to Estate Mt. Washington to relax and walk the labyrinth and/or take in some more history at these secluded plantation ruins. Best of all, you have access to a multitude of stunning beaches on St. Croix’s West End – so, take your bathing suit and go for a float to cool off after your hiking adventure!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor
Editor’s Note: While I was excited to finally make it up to Hams Bluff, I was saddened to see just how deteriorated the lighthouse has become. As a result, I am looking into the preservation and/or restoration of the Hams Bluff Lighthouse. If you have any information about efforts to preserve this historic structure, or any information that might lead me in the right direction, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.