• Photo of Soufriere hike - east to west coast
  • Photo of Soufriere hike - east to west coast
  • Photo of Soufriere hike - east to west coast
  • Photo of Soufriere hike - east to west coast
  • Photo of Soufriere hike - east to west coast
  • Video of Soufriere hike - east to west coast

Time  6 hours 31 minutes

Coordinates 1940

Uploaded April 20, 2017

Recorded April 2017

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3,252 ft
196 ft
0
1.8
3.6
7.11 mi

Viewed 805 times, downloaded 15 times

near Turema, Charlotte (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)

This is absolutely one of the best hikes you can do in the Caribbean. Starting at the visitors center on the east side gives you roughly a 1,200ft advantage to starting on the west coast as you drive up to the start of the hike from the coast a couple of miles north of Georgetown. It's also much easier to find the start of the trail than the west side which is not marked and you have to walk a good half mile or so up a dry river bed until the trail heads up to a ridge on the left side of the river bed.

The trail up the east side starts easily and is well made. After crossing a river bed about 20 mins in the climbing gets steeper and a little more difficult but it's never hard and is very easy to follow. You can feel the vegetation change on the way up until you emerge from the forest onto the flank of the volcano itself - covered in ferns and low shrubs. After about 2 hours depending on your climb rate you reach the edge of the caldera and hopefully amazing views if you've picked a day with less cloud cover. It is usually windy and much cooler here - a lightweight jacket is very useful. You can retrace your steps from here but much better is to continue around the crater rim heading clockwise.

The trail round the crater can feel pretty exposed, especially with the wind blowing but it's not nearly as bad as it looks once you get going. Of course if it's really windy and cloud cover is total then it would be more challenging. The first part heads uphill for a short while and you then continue up and down each crest around the crater. After 30 mins or so you reach the spot where you can descend to the crater floor via a very old (but thick so probably ok) length of rope. If you don't mind the scramble down and up and have the time it would be well worth exploring the crater. The dome in the middle still smokes on the south side - would be cautious approaching here.

The descent to the west coast starts a short while after at the top of the next crest. Although not marked it's very obvious to see. It's relatively steep and there is some loose stone and ash but really not a major challenge at all. Quite suddenly after about 45 mins descent you enter the rain forest again. Here the trail has been massively improved and it really is a straightforward path to follow, The entire route more or less sticks to the top of a steep ridge and apart from a couple of short sections where the ridge narrows with steep drop offs each side is very easy to negotiate. Bamboo steps have been installed on the steepest sections.

At the bottom of the trail you arrive at a dry river bed and follow this down to the sea, between high walls of pyroclastic rock cut by the river. After this it's a 15 minute walk down the beach and across a river to the Richmond beach area.

The west to east traverse of the volcano is more challenging due to the additional climbing required and the difficulty of finding the start of the trail from the dry river bed. If you decide to do the trail this way round you may want to take a guide with you. The Richmond Vale Academy http://richmondvale.org/contact-us/ could assist with this and they also offer accommodation at this remote north end of St Vincent.

Although the hike is straightforward it does involve a considerable amount of ascent and descent and is very remote. Bear in mind that this is effectively a mountain climb and conditions can change very quickly. St Vincent is notorious for spectacular amounts of rain from time to time and extreme caution should be exercised in these conditions particularly using the dry river bed.

Getting to and from the hike - easiest to organize a taxi to drop you off and pick up on the other side. Approx cost is around US$150. Allow 1.5 hours from Blue Lagoon to east coast start point, and as much as 2.5 hours back from Richmond on west coast. Either way when doing this hike plan for a very early start to give you enough time (and a safety margin) to complete the hike.

For a video see https://youtu.be/klB3m1QE6P0

View more external

2 comments

  • Photo of Richmond Vale Diving and Hiking center

    Richmond Vale Diving and Hiking center May 27, 2017

    Hello James,

    It seems that you really enjoyed the hike. We are very glad that you enjoyed the new trail of the Volcano, we also tried to promote people to enjoy the hike and be able to see all the wonders of St. Vincent from the top!
    Also thank you for letting people know about us, we are very happy to take people to the hike and also bring them some accommodation.

    Have a great day
    Richmond Vale Diving and Hiking center

  • Photo of Peter Neubert

    Peter Neubert Mar 1, 2020

    I have followed this trail  verified  View more

    We did the whole thing from Kingstown with public busses in one day since we came on a cruise ship.
    A guide at the crater called us crazy. And crazy it was.
    We took a local bus from Kingstown Bus Station to Georgetown, from there another bus to Rabacca, from there we walked and hoped for a lift (we got one for half of the distance).
    Then we followed exactly James' track, no problem.
    But arrive in Richmond Beach we were lucky to get some fishermen giving us a ride to "Chateaubelair"-Village (about 5 km). From there it is easy to get a bus back.
    Our walking distance was 17 km, we needed a good 4 hours (we are usually faster than average).
    Do it if you want an adventure.

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