Network of trails, all skill abilities. Maintained daily. Not terribly technical, even in the most difficult sections. Trail surface is hardpack, few water crossings, and perfectly tacky. An experienced rider can explore the entire network in less than 2 hrs. Trails will take you through citrus groves, deep jungle/rainforest, up to the ridge rim and down through colonial plantation ruins. Very cool. With exception of Tinker's Trail (which takes you to the ridge and back) the trails have fairly short/steep climbs and decents without any significant elevation change.
Bringing your own bike is kind of a hassle if you've never flown it before, but worthwhile since the rental equipment is less than ideal. Be sure to bring all of the spare parts that you might need (tubes, spokes, chain) there is no access to replacements.
The beauty of the Anse Mamin valley is overwhelming. The quality of riding here will only get better as more trails are cut through the lush jungle.
Don't let the pictures of 'tourists on bikes' on the website dissuade you from riding here. This trail network is a diamond in the rough with world class potential.
Not worth basing an entire trip on, but a must ride for enthusiasts who visit the island. A truly incredible experience, vastly different than any terrain in North America.
Summary: While on my honeymoon in St. Lucia the new wife and I took an amazing day trip as other reviews have described down the western coast of the island and ran aground on a deserted beach. The whole experience was incredible. The trail network was fun. The layout made sense so that you could ride the loop and peel off for a quick jaunt on a harder trail every so often. The riding was not overly stellar, but the setting and trial upkeep is unmatched! The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience even better. (There is a small guided intro, and then you are on your own) As mentioned Tinker’s trail was very steep. As far as I am concerned it was a stupid exercise in how not to build a trail. It was just foolishly steep with the switchback transitions too shallow. The view from the top was unbelievable though and worth the climb. The bikes they had were adequate, but nothing to write home about if you own an bike(s) that costs more than some peoples cars... we brought our own helmets, gloves and pedals/ shoes, as well as extra tubes, mini-pumps and tools. We had an opportunity to talk at length to the outdoor activities manager Paul. This was a treat. His insight into the culture and lifestyle was really neat. You could tell his experience with the outdoor industry was what helped make this truly a great experience. I will ride these trails every time I visit the island.
I just returned from a Cruise of the Caribbean onboard Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas. I wanted to ride this trail for months, but it was looking like an impossibility, as my ship did not arrive in time to meet the watertaxi, as the trailhead is only accessable by sea. THere are no roads in this part of the island.
Charles at jungle biking pulled all sorts of strings with the cruise line, to get me to the trailhead. That heroic effort mirrored the entire experience, described below:
The ocean is heaving. 8 foot swells flip the water taxi like a cork as we speed along the st. Lucian coastline. as we round the point, the beach comes into view. I am the only mountain biker on the boat. The pilot says to me in broken english "this is where you get off". He floors the throttles full reverse, as the waves crash over the stern of the small dive boat. The deckhand yells "JUMP" and pulls a lever, releasing the gangplank. I jump. I hear a thump as my gloves hit the sand next to me, and I scramble to get out of the way of the next incoming wave. By the time I get up and dust myself off, the boat is gone, and I am alone. For 5 minutes, I stand there. Taking in the solitude.
After a breif moment of reflection, I begin walking inland. After a minute, I find an empty Tiki Hut, and from behind it pops a man, clad in a security uniform. He asks my name, and knows right away by my dress what I am here for.
We walk behind the hut, and the jungle begins to close around us. I can barely contain myself, as the trailhead comes into view.....the most unreal sight I'd never expected. Huge 12 foot high wooden doors, similar to jurassic park, separate the isolated beach from the jungle within. The guard swings them open with a groaning sound, revealing behind them, a perfect ribbon of singletrack snaking off into the jungle.
We walked maybe 100 yards into the property, where a 200 year old ruin of a building awaited me. As I walked up the crumbling steps of this ancient sugar plantation, walked through the doors, and was immedietly surrounded by at least 50 thousand dollars worth of bikes. At least 30 Cannondale f-800s hung from the ceiling and in the bike racks. All decked out to the max, with XT hydro disk brakes, and lefty's I even spotted a few jekyll's in the mix...but I'm a hard tail man...and that's what I chose.
Recommended Route: After being outfitted with my new favorite bike, it was time to hit the trails. I donned my helmet and gloves, tested out the brakes and fork lockout, and spun off. The trail guide took me around the 1.5 mile inner loop, pointing out various trailheads that branched off of "main Street" Explained the easy-to-read trail markings (green, yellow, red, and Black) and what difficultys they represented. His final piece of advice was regarding the "black" trail. "tinker's trail" he said " is black for a reason. Only Tinker Juarez has climbed the entire thing without walking, and very few can make the decent."
I took that as a challenge.
As I got used to the bike, I got more courage. The Creeping fig loop has cool vines growing up the side of the cliff as you ride by,
Some of the downhill runs shoot you out through the ruins, while creek crossings and technical sections abound.
The true highlight of the trip (the entire cruise vacation) was "Tinker's Trail"
From sea level, it is a 1000 foot vertical climb. 1 mile up, 1 mile down. I remember being about half way up...walking switchbacks, thinking to myself "most trailbuilders use the shallow grades for the climbs" ...
Other recommended trails in the same area: "What could possibly await me on the descent?"
This was without a doubt, the most difficult climb of my life.
As I round a corner, I see a trail intersetion. There are signs, telling you at this point, you can either continue upward, or head back down. Trust me....you will want to go back down! DON"T You're halfway there....and the best is yet to come. You climb among boulders as big as houses, through loose rocky switchbacks, but The view at the top is spellbinding. I would say that the view of the Mighty Pitons rising out of the caribbean is worth EVERY climb you have ever made.....oh yeah, then you get to come back down!
The climb took me 45 minutes. The descent took 6.
It was hair raising, white knuckled and fast. The first 4 switchbacks are so steep and tight, that if you can't trackstand, you WILL fall. After you swing around each one, let the brakes go, and hold on for your life. Over 5 minutes, the trail changes from dry rocky, to tacky and rooty, as you decend below the jungle canopy. Stay off the brakes over the roots, or you'll find a shortcut to the caribbean....and enjoy the best mountain bike ...no ... JUNGLE bike ride of your life!
Review Date June 20, 2003
Overall Rating 2 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Visitors rate this review 1.00 of 5,
Reviewed by: Ray
, from MA
Summary: You hit the nail on the head with your description of this trail network. The whole day was a fun experience though, from the 45 minute boat ride, to being dropped off on a secluded beach and having an island native (guide) meet you on a mountain bike. The natives are about as knowledgeable about bike maintenance as I am about coconut farming.....so if you use their bikes , check the tires for air at a minimum. On to the trails: the lower trails were great for my wife for she is a beginner. The guides do teach you a lot about the jungle vegetation and how they processed the fruits on the plantation, so that made it interesting for me. But the trails were very lame. I then rode The Tinker Trail. This trail is best suited for experienced climbers. If you are a novice or don't have an iron lung, your better off hiking up than riding. It's 1.5 miles and about 1,000 feet vertical. The guides say they go up it all the time, but I saw no signs of tire tracks....they later admitted to hiking it more often than biking it, needless to say, no guide would accompany me up the Tinker trail, so I did it solo. It wasnt technical, it was steep in sections, the conditions were slick dirt, and there with switchbacks every 25-50 feet. So the downhill was pretty much hanging off of the back of the bike with both brakes fully deployed. If you are looking for a fast paced run, you wont find it until the bottom sections. It took about 20 minutes up and 10 minutes down. Great views at the top of Tinker trail, swimming in the ocean after the ride, a great lunch at a neerby resort and an awesome boat trip back to the city make the day trip well worthwhile. $75.00 included everything mentioned.
Review Date June 11, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Corey
, from MI
Summary: Great Trail! Perfect mix of rolling trails and difficult single track all set in the beautiful jungle of St. Lucia. Rather than rocks and roots to avoid, it's mangos, papayas and old coconut husks. More difficult trails branch off of the easy loop, so it's easy to wander off and meet up with your riding buddies a little further down the trail. On-sight equipment is pretty decent. 2003 Cannondale, "Lefty" front suspension, XT components, disc brakes. Definitely a worth while excursion if you on the island or in the area. The local Jungle Bikers will leave you in their dust...if you're up to the challange! Oh, biking in 95 degree/jungle humidity makes the experience even more unforgetable.
Recommended Route: Traveled: May '03 Meet St. Lucia Jungle Bike guide on the beach just North of ANSE CHASTANET.