The Caribbean's Longest Trail Is An Unforgettable Experience For Any Nature Lover

With a moniker of "The Nature Island," it's no surprise the Caribbean island of Dominica is a hiker's paradise. From short to long hikes, you'll find the best the island has to offer with the viewpoints, waterfalls, and historic sights on the 114-mile Waitukubuli National Trail. This trail snakes from one end of the island to the other, creating the longest trail anywhere in the Caribbean. Centrally located within the chain of Caribbean islands, Dominica is situated with the Caribbean Sea to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Its immediate neighbors include the Guadeloupe Islands and Martinique, which is home to the beautiful Vatable Forest, so hiking the Waitukubuli National Trail can be part of an island-hopping adventure, or your chosen destination for a backpacking vacation.


If you're already considering Dominica for its spectacular eco-friendly resorts or simply the world-class hiking, it also becomes more enticing as one of the safest Caribbean islands for a stress-free vacation. And stress-free should be the goal of any vacation. So, whether you're looking for a leisurely hike as part of your itinerary or you want to check off another of the best hikes throughout the Caribbean, the Waitukubuli National Trail offers segments that range in difficulty to meet every level of hiking ability.

14 segments of the Waitukubuli National Trail

From end to end, the Waitukubuli National Trail is broken into 14 segments that connect Scott's Head, the island's southern point, to the Cabrits National Park on the northern coast. A few sections of the trail are rated 'easy' and considered family-friendly. For example, the nearly 4-mile walk on Segment 10 takes visitors from the village of Colihaut Heights on the west side of the island to the Syndicate Trail inland. Here, you can catch sites of Jaco and Sisserou Parrots in the forest, and take in expanses of farmland. Similarly, Segment One offers nature and wildlife, along with a view of nearby Martinique. 


On the other end of the difficulty scale, experienced hikers can traverse segments 12, eight, or nine — all of which are very difficult. Strenuous for sure, but your efforts will be rewarded by landmarks like the largest Gommier Tree on island, Kachibona Lake, river swimming opportunities, valleys, plateaus, and estates. 

In between these two extremes, you'll find trail segments that range from moderate to difficult, each highlighting the natural splendor of the island. These trails introduce hikers to history and culture, with access to an old slave trail, the Morne Trois Pitons National Park World Heritage Site, natural hot springs, waterfalls, and villages.

Logistics of hiking the Waitukubuli National Trail

If you're planning to hit the Waitukubuli National Trail for a day hike, expect to be on the trail between three and eight hours, depending on the trail you choose. If you want to do a thorough hike, it will take approximately two weeks to complete the entire trail. This is a hiking experience that differs from other well-known long-distance hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, or Tour du Mont Blanc. That's because, while it offers a diverse landscape, flora, and fauna, it also features a tropical climate, complete with stifling humidity, very warm temperatures, mosquitos, and the distinct aroma of sulfur emanating from the island's volcano. In spite of these challenges, a trek through Dominica's interior offers a unique experience and a more intimate understanding of the island's dynamic character.


Safety is always a consideration when hiking, so be sure you're equipped with the best gear for taking a hike while on vacation, and take extra precautions if you're hiking solo. You will need to register before hitting the trail and also pick up a trail pass from the Forestry and Wildlife Division and locations near trailheads.