The Trails of Nelson Dockyard National Park
Great hikes are found in the English harbour and Falmouth National parks The book “Nelson’s Dockyard National Park Guide to Plants and Historic Sites” gives all info on the nature trails and can an be found at the Antigua Museums in the Nelson’s Dockyard and in St. John’s.
About the Trails
Each trail has a sign at the entrance and you can start at whichever end of the trail you desire. The paths are cleared and maintained by the Royal Tot Club of Antigua. Hiking boots are required on all trails and care must be taken near any cliff sides. All hikers do so at their own risk. If you wish to do two trails (maybe to get back to your starting point), the Jones Valley Trail followed by a return trip down the Lookout Trail is a recommended loop.
Middle Ground Trail (2 km)
Difficulty: Moderate, 100m elevation change.
Middle Ground Trail follows the crest of the hill giving you many elevated coastline views. There are multiple historic sites along the trail as well including, One Gun Battery (a small fortification), an old barracks area and Fort Cuyler. The trail ends at Pigeon Beach. The terrain is dry forest and hikers should beware of loose rocks.
Jones Valley Trail (1,5 km)
Difficulty: Easy with some boulders, 130m elevation change.
Jones Valley Trail starts on the road to Galleon Beach at the base of the hill. It follows a gulley up the hill where you see a large old dam. The path continues up the hill until you reach an old cemetery and then a cistern. You end up on the road to Shirley Heights. The terrain can be damp before the dam, but then turns into dry forest.
Lookout Trail (1 km)
Difficulty: Easy, with a few boulders, 150m elevation change.
This trail starts on the road very close to Galleon Beach. It is the shortest trail but goes straight up a hill. The main draw of this trail is to see the iconic Shirley Heights view from a new unique angle. The trail ends at Shirley Heights Lookout and the terrain is dry forest.
Carpenter’s Rock Trail (2 km)
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult, 150m elevation change.
Carpenters Rock Trail begins at the shoreline on the opposite side of the harbour from Fort Berkely. It heads up to Fort Charlotte before continuing on to Carpenters Rock. From there you head up the hill following the rugged coastline where you visit Nanton Point, Antigua’s southern most point. Enjoy the views as you head up to the old hospital and finish on the road to Shirley Heights. The terrain is dry forest.