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Dominica Hiking


By Brian Ramsey

Dominica, lying in the Eastern Caribbean between Martinique and Guadeloupe, calls itself the Nature Island and rightfully so. Its landscape is covered with lush untouched natural rain forest. Within those forests are tall cascading waterfalls, hidden fern grottoes, mountain lakes, boiling lakes, hot springs and mysterious regions of volcanic activity. All these natural wonders within a 29 mile by 16 mile island that has almost 300 miles of footpaths, so that in almost every part of the country, trails weave their way into gorges and across valleys, climbing up to 4,000 foot mountains, creating a hiker’s paradise.

In Dominica, there are trails for every level of hiker, varying from easy 30-minute walks to more moderate 45 minute to 2-hour hikes to strenuous 6-hour treks. All of these in a land that seems to bear fruit everywhere, so that all over you see oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, bananas, papayas, guavas, star fruit, breadfruit, passion fruit.

Three of the easy hikes in Dominica are Titou Gorge, Trafalgar Falls and Three Rivers Falls. The Titou Gorge adventure begins with a swim from the base of a waterfall through a series of natural ponds with high cliff walls. Just outside the entrance of the gorge is a hot spring that tumbles down a short wall so that you are able to mix hot and cold on this adventure. To get to Trafalgar Falls is an easy 15-minute journey along a well-maintained path. At the Falls two major waterfalls cascade side by side with one falling 125 feet and the other falling 75 feet. The Three Rivers Waterfall is reached after a half-hour walk from 3 Rivers. The trail is both beautiful and extremely easy, and involves a well made track and a little river walking. You can bathe under this 100-foot high cold shower and hear the sound of your screams echoing all around. The water drops close to a massive tree which forms a junction between 3 rivers

For those seeking a greater level of difficulty in their hiking experience the trek to Middleham Falls leads into the heart of the rainforest. The falls are striking - a narrow stream drops about 200 ft (60 metres) from a keyhole notch in the lip of the cliff. One writer has described the sight as seeing "a river go flying off the side of a mountain, tumble through the air and then smash into a frothy pool of water so hard, so fast, that it sounds like a jet engine". A shallow cave to the left of the falls makes a great place to sit and watch the action before diving into the water. Though there are two trails to Middleham Falls, the more popular trail begins off the Roseau-Laudat road. From the National Park Reception Centre, the trailhead is less than two miles from the falls. You start at 1,600 ft (490 metres) and climb to a ridge at 2,200 ft (670 metres) and then descend back down to the falls themselves. The round trip normally takes 2-3 hours, is relatively long and hilly, but the trail is not especially difficult.

Another hike of moderate difficulty is the Syndicate - Portsmouth trail, which follows the course of the Picard River as it descends towards Portsmouth. The magnificent rainforest through which this trail winds is the home of the rare Imperial and Jaco parrots, which you are likely to hear and possibly see. From overlooking the Picard River ravine the trail descends to the river itself, which is crossed frequently as it tumbles down towards Portsmouth. The trail was used by the Maroons in the nineteenth century on their raids against the British troops at Fort Shirley. The trail leaves the rainforest and passes through plantations before ending at the main road at the entrance to Portsmouth.

Advanced hikers will enjoy the seven (7) hour hike to Boli Falls. The trail begins in the beautiful village of Casgory, near La Plaine and passes through unspoilt rainforest to arrive at 3 stunning waterfalls and some gorgeous natural pools. There is even a local legend that a mermaid exists in the pools. Rated among the challenging hikes in Dominica is the Boiling Lake Hike. This six hour round trip journey covers a wide variety of challenging terrain. Beginning at 1,600 ft (490 metres) on a level rocky pathway it gets steep, rising gradually to 540m and then to 690m and then goes down to the Trois Pitons River. The trail then follows a ridge where you pass from rain forest to mountain forest eventually arriving at the highest point, 900m. This location offers a panoramic view from where one can see all of Dominica's peaks, the boiling lake steaming in the distance, and the distant sight of Roseau and the Caribbean Sea in the west, the Atlantic to the east, and Guadeloupe in the north. From there you descend to the Valley of Desolation that appears to be devoid of life. You continue on until you reach the Boiling Lake, which is the world’s largest boiling lake. The Boiling Lake appears like a cauldron of bubbling grayish-blue water that is usually enveloped in a cloud of vapour. This trail is the most spectacular in Dominica. It combines rain forest and mountain forest before crossing the bleak Valley of Desolation and reaching the spectacular Boiling Lake.

With such a wealth of natural assets within 290 square miles, Dominica is truly a hiker’s paradise.

See the video of the hike to Sar Sari Falls in Dominica


Learn more about Dominica by visiting our other Dominica Pages

Things to do in Dominica
An introduction to Dominica









Free Dominica Travel Brochures






























Free Dominica Hotel and Tour Brochures
















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Last modified: January 24, 2009