Discover Dominica’s 7 Best Walks
From leisurely coastal strolls to hardcore hikes towards remote boiling lakes, our selection of the 7 best walks on Dominica has something for everyone.
It’s only a 45 minute gentle hike up to the top of West Cabrits from Fort Shirley, which itself is a fascinating place for history buffs (see below). If you are driving you can leave your car at the visitor center (where you must show or buy your site pass), before heading up the trail through the stone archway and finding the sign indicating the West Cabrits Trail to the left. Your route takes you up through the trees, and you’ll probably see a few hermit crabs and lizards along the way to the top. At the summit there’s still an old cannon, although 200 years ago there was also a battery, hospital, barracks and artillery.
2: BEST WALK FOR NATURE LOVERS: SYNDICATE NATURE TRAIL
Located at the foothills of Dominica’s tallest mountain in the park that shares its name – Morne Diablotin – a hike along the Syndicate Nature Trail is a must for anyone interested in all that makes Dominica the Nature Isle. Winding through gommiers, karapits and other giant trees, you might see any number of up to 51 species of local and migrant birds including blue-headed hummingbird, purple-throated carib, rufous-throated solitaire, and lesser Antillean bullfinch. And it’s biggest draw is that it’s probably the most reliable (and easily accessed) place on the island to see both the Sisserou Parrot (our National Bird) and Jaco Parrot, both of which are found nowhere else except Dominica.
3: BEST WALK FOR CULTURE LOVERS: CABRITS NATIONAL PARK
The history of Dominica is encapsulated in the story of Cabrits. Amerindian people settled here over 5000 years ago. Columbus sailed past. At different times its garrison was controlled by the British and French, and the area saw many struggles in the long fight for independence. A loop trail
follows a circular route past some of the main buildings and sites within the historic garrison, passing military barracks, the parade ground, a viewpoint of the site of the Battle of The Saints, before returning back to the Main Gate.
4: BEST 1/2 DAY WALK WAITUKUBULI SEGMENT 14 – CAPUCHIN TO CABRITS
A lovely 4 to 5 hour coastal trail from Capuchin to Cabrits. You’ll stroll along the stony shore past traditional fishing boats, through the villages of Toucari and Clifton, and get a magical view across the sea to the islands of Marie Galante, Les Saintes and Guadeloupe in the far distance.
5: BEST WATERFALL HIKE – MIDDLEHAM FALLS
It takes about an hour from Laudat to hike through the rainforest to the dramatic Middleham Falls. It can get pretty steep, but that makes the swim under the falls at the end all the more rewarding. It also means these falls get less crowded than some of the others, such as Trafalgar, that take less time to get to. Depending on what time of year you are here, the strength of the falls varies greatly, and your experience can range from very mellow to intensely invigorating.
6: BEST LONG WALK FOR THE SERIOUS HIKER: SEGMENTS 8 OR 9 OF WAITUKUBULI TRAIL
Of course for the truly dedicated, who also has 2 weeks to spare, no hike in the entire Caribbean rivals the Waitukubuli National Trail, whose 14 sections join up to stretch 115 miles across the entire island. Of all of the 14 sections, perhaps segments 8 and 9 are the most challenging and rewarding. Segment 8 takes walkers from First Camp to Petite Macoucherie through virgin rainforest with panoramic views of the east and west coast. It’s only 6 miles in length, but you should expect it to take 9 hours, with the climb of 3,300 feet though mountainous thickets and elfin woodland.
Segment 9 carries on from Petite Macoucherie to Colihaut Heights, traveling a further 6 miles past farms and rainforests frequented by parrots and wild pigs, to Kachibona Lake and the largest gommier tree on island, with a circumference of 28ft around its trunk. Be aware these are challenging hikes, and really should only be attempted with an expert guide. Of course they’ll also make the trip much more interesting, as they can introduce you to the fauna and flora of the island.
7: BEST DAY HIKE – BOILING LAKE
This is a pretty hardcore six or seven hour hike from Laudat through UNESCO natural World Heritage land to one of only two boiling lakes in the world. The lake was formed from a flooded volcanic fumarole filled with bubbling greyish-blue water and usually swathed in a cloud of vapour. You cross mountains, gorges and sulfur springs on your way, and as you leave the rainforest onto the dramatically titled Valley of Desolation, where the lake is found, it is like entering another world.
All these walks can be enjoyed while staying at Secret Bay, and as we use only the best guides on the island, you can be sure of a safe, rewarding time, whichever routes you choose.