The Mount Edmund Forest Reserve is located in the heart of the high uplands of the island, near the Enbas Saut Waterfalls trail., You can see but more often hear the Saint Lucia Parrot, as well as many other birds.
Time: 3 ½ to 4 hours each way. Length: 7 miles/10km. Difficulty: 3/5.
It takes around 3 and a half hours in the company of a guide from the Forest and Lands Department to take you through the heart of the island into the forest reserve on the Western side of the island and to experience some of nature pristine opportunities.
The Edmund Reserve's main trail goes through the Quilesse Forest Reserve and ends at the Des Cartiers Rain Forest Trail. It is not a difficult trek despite the length, it is however quite a sight, Green lush valleys and fantastic waterfalls punctuated by towering amphitheatres of tall trees.
As you wander through the forest upland you can see numerous plants such as bromeliads and orchids ,Ferns and tree ferns, mushrooms and fungi, lianes and others attached to large buttress roots or branches, on the spongy forest floor, or even dangling on the sides of the trail.
The views that appear on the walk through the Saint Lucian cloud forest are quite incredible.
Just occasionally you are able to have long distance views of the Caribbean Sea and at one point along this trail one emerges out of the cool shade of the cloud forest to a magnificent view of the island's highest peak, Mt. Gimie. It pays to take a light jacket as it can be cool in the mountains.
Avoid shorts and T shirts as the walk can be cool. Wear stout footwear.
One of the side trails leads to the highest point on the island, Mt. Gimie (3,117 feet). This is a tough trek and not often made. If it's your intent to scale the mountain, let the forestry department know beforehand so they can arrange a guide familiar with the trek.
As this is the rain forest, expect to get wet. Rainfall here can be as much as 100-150 inches annually, not much compared to some islands, but a deluge in comparison to the drier northern end of St. Lucia which gets just 40 to 50 inches a year. The forest is often cloaked in slow moving fluffy white clouds.
The variety of plants is immense. Orchids and bromeliads fill every gap, creepers hand from trees and birds are everywhere.
The trail is flat much of the way with convenient foot bridges for crossing the occasional stream. Walk for as long or as little as you like. If you do walk the complete length, you'll either need to retrace your steps or arrange transportation in advance at the other end.
You have to get a guide for your walk in the forest.
Arrange for a guide in advance through the Forestry Department: (758) 468-5649/5645/5648
Trail Office Hours - 8:30 am to 2:00 pm - Monday to Saturday
Fee for Nature Trail - 25 EC Dollars / 10 US Dollars per person,
Half price for kids - Prices subject to change.
How to get to the Edmund Forest Reserve Trailhead:
There is currently no public transport to the reserve.
It may seem like it takes as long to get to the trailhead as it does to make the hike. Coming in from the west coast, you will need a 4WD to make the 8km drive inland which takes at least an hour.
From Soufriere on the east coast, take the inland road to Fond St. Jacques, passing through the village of Zenon. In Fond St. Jacques, turn left at the metal-roofed cement bus stop. In 20-30 minutes you'll eventually reach the ranger station. Depending on road conditions, it could a 1.5-hour drive from Soufriere.
Now that you've finally arrived, stop at the ranger station to pay. Arrange for a guide (758/450-2231) because many side trails lead off the main path.
Access - 30 min. from Soufriere by car / 100 min. from Castries
Map to Edmund Rainforest Trail.