Virgin Islands National Park High Point Trip Report

Crown Mtn in Park fragment (1,556- ft) and Bordeaux Mtn in main Park (1,320 ft)

Date: December 1999
Author: John Garner

I also got the HP of Virgin Islands National Park on this trip. The vast majority of the park is on Saint John Island, on land donated by one of the Rockefellers. The HP of St. John is Bordeaux Mtn, 1277', and is in the park. However, a small parcel of land on Crown Mountain, St. Thomas Island, was donated to the public a few years ago. The land was stuck in with the national park for administrative purposes, but it is not marked or developed.

The highest point of St. Thomas is the summit of Crown Mountain, 1,556 feet. The plot of land owned by the park is just to the east and just below the summit. I was wandering around aimlessly near the top, looking around a bunch of cell and radio towers that were there, and I lucked into meeting a person with VITEL, the local phone company. They pointed out the plot of land, which is the only area not fenced off at the summit.

I can't even begin to give a trip report for the National Park HP. All I can say is that the topo is not anywhere near correct anymore. I got lost, found myself, got lost again, and then I got my rental car stuck. Without warning or signs, the road turned into a steep, wet drop that would be tough on a 4WD, much less a cheap little toy car like the one I rented. I wound up at the bottom of the hill with no way back up, and had to get some help from some locals to drag my car up. The locals were hysterical. Most of the locals on St Thomas are black, but the ones up in the mountains that helped were white, but they still had the same island lilt. Imagine an old white guy with a crew cut saying "ya mon".

April 11, 2003 comments

In response to questions that the Crown Mountain NP fragment had reverted to the Navy:

When I was in the USVI , I was told that the top of Crown Mountain still belonged to the NP, though there are certainly no facilites up there. I also visited the top of Bordeuax Mountain on Saint John, the highest point inside the park there. I didn't keep a trip report, but it's accessed off a road branching off the main center road, runnning along the east side of the mountain. You look for an old, overgrown trail into the jungle on the west side of the road, and bushwhack to the top. The entrance to the trail was marked by a ribbon on a tree branch; no idea if it's still there. I did both points in 1999, if memory serves.

April 15, 2003 comments

Regarding driving on St. Thomas, I've been there several times, and spent some time there. If you are a confident driver with experience in heavy city driving, don't worry - you'll be fine, just remember to drive on the left, take it easy, and keep your eyes open for the other guy.. Both hps (Crown and the trailhead to Bordeaux) are accessed off well-paved roads. Just don't try to take a shortcut from Crown Mountain back to Charlotte Amalie, like I did. Go back down the paved west side road and go around, unless you have a serious 4WD. St. John is much easier.

That said, it's NOT a good idea to drive either place at night, especially St. Thomas. It's the "'hood", plopped onto a beautiful tropical island. In daylight, you're fine on the roads. At night?? I wouldn't.