Brown Bay is one of St John’s hidden gems. With its off-the-beaten-path location and moderate hike – it just doesn’t get the number of visitors that hit Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest and Salt Pond. And in one sense it’s a shame – because Brown Bay has a great mix of hiking, adventure, seclusion and wonderful beach and water.
The Brown Bay Trail
Located on St John’s East End, most visitors reach Brown Bay via the Brown Bay Trail. The trail starts just off Rte 10 / East End Road about 3/4 mi. past Coral Bay center. There is a convenient parking area which leads to the narrow hiking trail that takes you up and over the ridge and down to Brown Bay.
The hike is moderately challenging – because you must climb to the ridge before descending to Brown Bay. I’d plan on 30 min. each way – give or take …
Brown Bay Beach
The beach is narrow and soft sand turning to pebble as you go west ( away from the trail). The shoreline has some wonderful shade and spots to hang a towel. The water is shallow and sandy turning to sea grass the farther you go from shore. Waves are usually lightest in the morning and when the wind is out of the south. Since it takes some effort to get to Brown Bay – I suggest bringing some refreshments – food/snacks and water. It’s a wonderful place to spend a day relaxing.
Brown Bay Ruins
At the western end of the beach you’ll find a rambling group of foundations, arches and a maze like system of stonework. The area is pretty overgrown with vines – but well worth a bit of exploration. A word of caution – the Jack Spaniard Wasps seem to love to make a home on the vines. They aren’t particularly aggressive – but it’s best to keep an eye out for them so that you don’t inadvertently come face-to-face with a nest!
Looking for other St John hiking trails?
The Virgin Islands National Park has dozens of trails to great destinations. Lace up your shoes and hit a trail to discover St John’s natural beauty, history and secluded beaches. For more information