Brewers Bay Hike
EXPLORING BREWERS BAY
Ahoy! And Welcome Aboard!
Looking for Adventure?
Getting bored of basking in the sun on crowded beaches? Tired of exploring the same places that every tourist goes to? Maybe it’s time you headed to Brewers Bay on St. Thomas. It’s easy to reach, more of a local hangout than a tourist trap, and way more adventurous than sitting at a bar all day. Just ask Captain Tara, one of our crew members, who recently spent a few hours hiking the Brewers Bay Trail. You’ll find her pics here, along with some of her comments.
A Few Facts about Exploring Brewers Bay
Brewers Bay is located on the west end of the island near the St. Thomas airport. Surrounded by green hills on the right, the picture perfect bay is nestled within the 388-acre campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. On the far left of the beach, you’ll find the Maclean Science Center. Despite its affiliation with the university, the beach is often ignored by visitors, making it feel rather secluded and blissful – unless cruise ships are in port or you visit the bay on the day of the Annual Texas Chili Cookoff when some 6000 people flood the area for the popular fundraiser, typically held in late summer.
The crystal clear waters of Brewers Bay are home to numerous Green Sea Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles making it a fun place to snorkel, while swimmers love the calm seas and sandy seafloor. Boasting one of the widest shores on St. Thomas, the bay also allows ample space for tossing balls or frisbees if that’s your pleasure. Like all beach outings, make sure you bring plenty of reef-safe sunscreen as there is limited shade available.
While there’s no fancy resort attached to the bay, there are enough amenities to make it appealing. For starters, there’s a very nice public bathhouse that features flush toilets and outdoor showers, and on most days, at least two food trucks are present offering everything from local pǎtés and johnny cakes to fried chicken and bowls of rice and beans. Drinks and snacks are also available. But, you will need to bring your own chairs, snorkel gear, umbrellas, and towels.
Hiking Brewers Rock
If sitting still isn’t your thing, hiking Brewers Bay Trail (also known as Brewers Rock) is a must-do for your vacation checklist, though it’s not for the faint of heart. “Challenging,” “dangerous” and “adventurous” are just a few words hikers have used to describe the steep, rocky path that leads to one of the most scenic views on the island.
Here’s what our Captain Tara had to say:
“It was hard but so much fun! There were a lot of bugs – ants, hornets, termites, millipedes. You name it, we saw it! I actually love bugs so it didn’t bother me. Lol! We saw endless lizards and even saw a frog. The trail is extremely rocky and most of it is climbing over boulders, until it breaks into a section of red dirt and roots where there is a rope tied to a tree that helps to keep you from slipping. About halfway, there is a tree that will stop you in your tracks! All of the air plants growing out of rocks and hanging from the trees were beautiful. The view from the top was incredible. Being higher than the planes landing at the airport was really neat.”
If this sounds like nirvana to you, read on to get more details so you can plan your own adventure.
Quick Answers to Typical Questions:
Access & Transportation: Admission is free and parking is available along Brewers Bay Road. There’s also a roped-off driveway that offers parking. Taxis will take you to the area, but arrange to have the taxi pick you up at an arranged time as they don’t frequent the area. Bus service is also an option about .3 miles away on the University campus, but ask for a schedule to be informed about catching a ride for the return trip home.
Trailhead & Terrain: Look for the abandoned building on Brewers Bay (a former sugar factory belonging to John Brewer’s Estate). The trailhead is nestled between the trees and the path is a “gut,” which means when it rains, water flows down through this area washing away dirt and sand. Only rocks remain so climbing on and over boulders is a must! When the terrain changes to dirt, you’ll have to use ropes to navigate the upward climb. (Degree of difficulty is somewhere between Moderate to Advanced)
Time Required: Allow one hour for each direction or 2 hours total, longer if you want to hang out and enjoy the view.
What’s Up With The Rumors About A Cave? Much ado about nothing …. While legends about “the cave” at the bottom of the hike being full of dead bodies, treasures and mystery, the truth is the cave-like structure is rather disgusting as it’s filled with trash as though it once (or still is) a homeless encampment.
What To Look For: Blue and red painted markings mark the trail to keep you from getting lost. Animals and critters you can expect to see include: land hermit crabs, scorpions, lizards, wasps, and lots of bugs! Warning: Use bug repellant and do not touch plants along the way as Jack Spaniard wasps build their nests underneath the leaves and if disturbed, they’ll sting you multiple times!
Plant Life: Negotiating around fallen trees and numerous vines is all part of the journey, but don’t forget to enjoy the lush growth surrounding you which includes Gumbo Limbo trees, otherwise known as the “tourist tree” because it turns red and peels, and wild pineapple plants (non-edible) which were used during plantation days as natural fencing because of their prickly exterior.
Hiking Essentials: Be sure to bring a hat, plenty of water, reef-safe sunscreen, bug repellant, sunglasses, snacks and sturdy shoes for traction.
Beach Essentials: Make a day of it and plan on enjoying the beach after your hike. If you drive, keep essentials like bathing suits, towels, umbrellas, chairs, and snorkel gear in your car.
Is It Worth The Effort? Absolutely! The view from the top of the hike is extraordinary, so make sure you take a few pictures. Not only can you see the planes landing at the airport, but on a clear day you can even see St. Croix. It’s one of the best aerial views of St. Thomas and the surrounding islands, making you feel like you’re floating in the clouds.
End Notes: If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends. Then visit our website and book a boat day with Stormy Pirates Charters – we’ll put the gang plate down and escort you in style.