Edmund Forest Reserve

Time: 4 hours each way. Length: 7 miles/10km. Difficulty: 3.

Trailhead: It may seem like it takes as long to get to the trailhead as it does to make the hike. Coming in from the west coast, you need a 4WD to make the 8km. drive inland, which takes about an hour. From Soufriere on the east coast, take the inland road to Fond St. Jacques, passing through the village of Zenon. In Fond St. Jacques, turn left at the metal-roofed cement bus stop. In 20-30 minutes you’ll eventually reach the ranger station. Depending on road conditions, it could a 1.5-hour drive from Soufriere.

Now that you’ve finally arrived, stop at the ranger station to pay. You may want to arrange for a guide (758/450-2231) because many side trails lead off the main path.

One of the side trails leads to the highest point on the island, Mt. Gimie (3,117 feet). This is a tough trek and not often made. If it’s your intent to scale the mountain, let the forestry department know beforehand so they can arrange a guide familiar with the trek.

The Edmund Reserve’s main trail goes through the Quilesse Forest Reserve and ends at the Des Cartiers Rain Forest Trail. It is not a difficult trek despite the length.

The trail is flat much of the way with convenient foot bridges for crossing the occasional stream. Walk for as long or as little as you like. If you do walk the complete length, you’ll either need to retrace your steps or arrange transportation in advance at the other end.

As this is the rain forest, expect to get wet. Rainfall here is 100-150 inches annually, not much compared to some islands, but a deluge to the drier northern end of St. Lucia (40 to 50 inches).

It is often cloudy here, but if you’re lucky and the weather clears, you’ll enjoy some wonderful vistas of Mt. Gimie and other peaks. And keep a lookout for the jacquot (the St. Lucian parrot) as well as hummingbirds.