Annaly Bay Tide Pools: Ultimate Hiking Guide to St Croix’s Most Unique Attraction
My husband and I love getting outdoors and really enjoy finding little gems at the places we visit. Annaly Bay Tide Pools in St Croix is one of those gems. It requires a little bit of effort and advanced planning, which weeds out some of the bigger crowds. Once you arrive, you will appreciate the pristine rugged beauty of this beautiful little pocket in the world. To make this hiking excursion seamless, I have shared my detailed guide on how to find this unique attraction in St Croix.
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How to Access the Annaly Bay Tide Pools Trailhead
Park right outside the entrance of the Carambola Beach Resort St Croix on the northern end of the island.
The guard will direct you to a parking lot to the left of the entrance. The trailhead is a short walk from the parking lot.
Parking lot for Annaly Bay Tide Pools in St Croix
After you park, you will follow the paved road to the left of the parking lot. Shortly after, there is another paved road that splits off to the left from the main paved road.
Ignore it and keep to the right.
Stay right on the paved road to access the trailhead
Keep following the main paved road.
Keep following the main paved road until you see the dirt trailhead on the right.
After the short walk on the paved road, you will encounter a dirt trailhead on the right-hand side.
It is not very obvious and is only marked by a short wooden post, so pay attention.
Marker for the trailhead
Although we did not do this, you could also start inside the Carambola Beach Resort St Croix and cut through their water treatment section to access the trail. It does shave off some time.
We enjoy hiking and elected not to do this.
Alternatively, you could drive the road all the way down to the beach, but this is extremely risky because the road is in almost impassable condition.
You need a pretty high-clearance SUV if you attempt this. Also, make sure you carefully understand your car rental agreement because heaven forbid anything happens to your SUV during this off-road attempt.
Yeah, I wasn’t up for that risk, so we passed on this option.
Lastly, another option is to go through a company that offers off-road tours like Tan Tan Tours.
This is the easiest and most direct way to enjoy Annaly Bay Tide Pools.
Step-By-Step Hiking Experience to Annaly Bay
Follow the 2.7-mile Trumbull Trail through the lush rainforest. You will get hot and sweaty, but at least most of the trail is shaded.
Trumbull Trail to Annaly Bay Tide Pools in St Croix
We saw some cool trees with spikes called Monkey No Climb and some hermit crabs along the way.
Monkey No Climb Tree
Annaly Bay Tide Pools Hiking Trail
As you hike towards the top of the hill, you will pass by a beautiful viewpoint of the Carambola Beach Resort St Croix below.
View of the Carambola Beach Resort St Croix from the Annaly Bay Tide Pools hike
The trail will eventually lead to a dirt rocky road.
At least when we went, there was an arrow someone formed out of pebbles to designate which direction to go.
Turn right on the dirt rocky road as indicated by the arrow formed out of pebbles.
Follow this road, which will lead you to a pebbly beach with crashing waves.
As you are facing the water, walk to the left along the beach.
Pebbly beach next to Annaly Bay Tide Pools
Rock scramble over the last section, which will bring you face-to-face with the gorgeous naturally made blue-green tide pools.
The rock scramble is a little dangerous. Do not attempt this at high tide; only do the rock scramble at low tide. Use common sense and be safe.
Some people tried to climb up higher on the rocks to avoid getting wet. This seems more dangerous. I would advise rock scrambling on the lower rocks which are more stable NOT on the higher rock cliffs.
You are going to get wet. At a few points, I timed my foot placement based on when the waves were receding.
Swimming in Annaly Bay Tide Pools
Then hop into the clear refreshing water after your sweaty hike and enjoy!
You can see a few little fish swimming around and some hermit crabs hanging out in the rock crevices. There are sea urchins, so be careful.
There is also a second tide pool if you continue to round the corner past the first tide pool.
Cascading waterfall created from the ocean waves crashing over at Annaly Bay Tide Pools
Check out the super clear water!
Second Annaly Bay Tide Pool
How Much Time to Allow to Hike Annaly Bay
It took us a little over an hour to reach Annaly Bay Tide Pools.
In total, we spent 3 hours on this excursion (2-hour hike roundtrip + 1 hour at the Annaly Bay Tide Pools).
You need to be in relatively good shape to do this hike. The hike can be challenging in sections due to uneven sections with exposed roots, slippery areas, and a short rock scramble section at the end where you have to purposely plan your next step as the waves crash in.
What to Bring on the Hike to Annaly Bay Tide Pools
SUNSCREEN + HAT + SUNPROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Although it is mostly shaded on the hike, you are in full sun once you arrive at the beach and head to the tide pools. My favorite sunscreen is Elta MD UV Clear sunscreen! Coolibar shirts work great for protecting your skin during these outdoor activities. I work in derm, so everything I’m recommending I actually use!
SMALL WATERPROOF/WATER-RESISTANT DAYPACK
I would advise a waterproof or water-resistant bag to transport your items. You will get wet. I used my Zomake daypack which worked out pretty well. My Zomake bag is not waterproof but is water-resistant. It was never submerged in water, but the bag did help protect my gear from the few waves that happened to crash around me.
HIKING SHOES (THAT CAN GET WET) OR WATER SHOES
Bring plenty of water. This excursion requires effort, and you will get hot and sweaty. Be prepared and bring a water bottle.
Wear your bathing suit underneath your hiking clothes. Then you are ready to go once you are ready for a dip at the tide pools.
SKIP THE SNORKELING GEAR
Some people recommend it. You could bring it, but I don’t think it’s worth carrying it for several hours to see a few fish. If you love snorkeling, check out my article on all the Top Snorkeling Sites in St Croix and the Travel Snorkeling Gear I bring on all of my island trips.
Final Thoughts on Annaly Bay Tide Pools
A must-do. If you love getting outdoors and enjoying a little adventure, this excursion will be right up your alley. Because this activity requires a little effort, Annaly Bay Tide Pools is not overly crowded. Of course, this could always change over time, but when we went, there were only a few other couples.
Plan in advance, bring the items I suggested, go during low tide, and enjoy one of St Croix’s most unique attractions.
Still trying to figure out how to incorporate the tide pools into your vacation?
Check out my St Croix itinerary below.
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Questions about our experience at Annaly Bay Tide Pools?
Let me know in the comments below!
We are headed to St. Croix in a couple weeks. My husband really wants to do this hike, but I’m nervous about the rock scramble at the end. Is it really short? Do you have any pictures of that area? Thank you for all of your great advice!
Thanks for reaching out! The rock scramble is short. It is a little nerve-wracking, but I’m a big baby when it comes to that stuff.
I would only go during LOW tide and wear sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. There are maybe two sections where I had to time my foot placement to step on/off a rock really quick as a wave receded.
I had to use both my hands during the scramble, so I don’t have any photos right in the middle of the scramble. However, I do have GoPro footage of Annaly Bay Tide Pools that also shows part of the rock scramble right before we headed back. After we headed back and got back on the beach, I did turn around and got a short video of people starting the rock scramble.
If interested, DM me through Instagram, and I’m happy to share those short clips.
Everyone says go at low tide. How TF are you supposed to know when that is and when it will be?
Great question. There are several websites that share tide tables predicting when low and high tides will occur based on the day and time of year. Here’s one example: NOAA Tides.
REI also has a great article on how to read a tide table: REI How to Read a Tide Table.