Tips for Hiking Gros Piton in St. Lucia

Gros Piton, St. Lucia

Gros Piton is a lush, steep mountain rising 2,619 feet above sea level on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.  I hiked Gros Piton and enjoyed a challenging but rewarding climb.

Gros Piton is a Unesco World Heritage site, and as such hikers must register at the base of the mountain, pay the $30 USD per person fee, and hike with a guide.  Guides are waiting at the base and reservations are not required.

Gros Piton, St. LuciaOur guide, Larry, was a native St. Lucian who grew up in Fond Gens Libre, the village at the base of the mountain.  He hikes Gros Piton nearly every day, and the day we hiked, he chose to hike in his soccer cleats.  He treated it like a morning stroll, but for the rest of us, it was a challenging climb.  We enjoyed having Larry along to guide just the four of us, and he answered all our questions about St. Lucia and gave us an interesting history lesson on the battle for freedom fought among the French, British, and natives in St. Lucia.

All the information we read recommended we start the climb early, but our desire to sleep in won out and we started our climb around 9:30 a.m.  Larry recommended we bring 1.5 liters of water per person (you can buy bottled water at the start of the hike), and we could have drunk that much and more.

The hike takes you up 2000 feet in roughly two hours.  There are four designated stopping points along the way with benches to rest, although some hikers stop more often.  The trail is improved, with handrails and many steps built into the mountain, but we were still climbing over small boulders and taking steep steps on the path.

Gros PitonThe first quarter of the hike is sunny and very warm.  The last three quarters we were mostly in the trees, which made it a bit cooler, but St. Lucia is humid and we were dripping sweat by the time we reached the top.  I wish I had brought a small washcloth or handkerchief to wipe my face as we climbed.

We made it to the top in one hour 40 minutes.  At the top there are two viewpoints; the first viewpoint gives you a great view of St. Lucia looking inland at the mountains, but if you walk ten more minutes across the top of the mountain you will be rewarded with eye-level views of Petit Piton and the ocean, which is a more stunning view than the first.  Many hikers are tired and skip this second view, but we were so glad we didn’t miss it.  We stayed up top for about 45 minutes enjoying the views, taking pictures, and resting before heading down.

The hike down was definitely easier, but our calves and legs burned from the steepness of the descent.  Our guide said he had taken children as young as five before, but I think little legs would struggle. I wouldn’t take my children under age eight.  This hike is not a dangerous one, just one you would want to be in fairly good physical shape for. The feeling of accomplishment for summiting Gros Piton is a vacation memory worth making.

Gros Piton, St. Lucia

Looking for beautiful, affordable lodging for your trip to St. Lucia?  Check out this vacation rental we loved.  It’s got the best view on the entire island.

Good to Know

Where: Near the village of Fond Gens Libre. The turn off is hard to miss. There is a sign for the Tet Paul Nature trail (not where you are going) and a smaller one that says Fond Gens Libre/Gros Piton Hike. The GPS coordinates are about 13.819474,-61.044518

When: Start early if possible. Guides are ready to go by 6:30 a.m.

How much:  $30 USD per person, in cash

How long:  At least 4 hours round trip

Amenities:  Restrooms, bottled water and snacks for purchase at base of hike

6 comments

  • Thanks for the tips and comments on the gros piton hike. I plan on doing the a gros piton wedding photoshoot with my future husband as seen here – http://www.grospiton.com/1/post/2013/12/making-history-with-a-gros-piton-wedding-photo-shoot.html#.UqY3pJGUs8M

  • Pingback: Top family travel memories of 2013 | Tips For Family Trips

  • Katie,

    Were you staying on the island or were you there on a cruise? We are going on a cruise in April and we are interested in Hiking Gros Pitn. We are concerned that with travel time from the port we might not have enough time. We have 8 hrs in the port.

    • Tiffany,
      I was staying on the island, but I feel confident you could do this if you have an 8-hour window. Plan for the drive from Castries to Gros Piton to take about 1 hr 20 min and you should plan on four hours to hike up and back. Doesn’t give you a ton of extra time, but enough that you can do it. There are two viewing points at the top and we spent almost an hour at the top of Gros Piton. You could shorten your time there if you felt like you were in a hurry. Good luck!

  • Il 21 settembre 2014 ho fatto la mia “scalata” al gros piton, accompagnato da mia moglie e dalla guida, Larry, un ragazzo di 19 anni molto in gamba e professionale.
    Parlo di scalata perché a mio avviso non è stata una passeggiata( pratico climbing e sport d’alta montagna) ma per chi non è pratico abbastanza impegnativa. L’ascesa è stata di 550 metri in 5km circa.
    siamo partito dal campo base quota 250 metri ed arrivati in vetta 809 metri, in 1h e 40 minuti , mentre la discesa fatta sempre sullo stesso itinerario si è svolta in 1h circa.
    Il costo della guida è di 30US$ a testa.
    Noi ci siamo fatti prelevate da un autista dal st. James Morgan Bay e ci ha riaccompagnati alla fine dell’escursione. Costo totale compreso della guida 230US$ X due persone.
    È stata una bella esperienza anche se appena partiti ha iniziato a diluviare e non ha smesso fino a che abbiamo terminato la discesa.
    Il tutto lo abbiamo prenotato via mail sul sito realstluciatours.com

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