If you’re visiting St Lucia soon then you might be considering doing the Gros Piton hike.
Hiking Gros Piton is definitely one of the best things to do in St Lucia but it isn’t a walk in the park.
In this post I cover everything you need to know about the Gros Piton hike including what to expect, how difficult it is, how much it costs, how long it takes and more.
Gros Piton Hike – What To Expect
Gros Piton is the larger of the two iconic Piton mountains which sit on St Lucia’s western coast near to the town of Soufriere.
This impressive mountain sits at 2,619 ft (798m) tall and it is actually possible to climb it and reach the summit.
It’s safe to say at 2,619 ft, you’ll get a pretty incredible view of the island from up here.
The hike itself is broken up into 4 sections. Each section ends with a resting point with the final resting point being the summit of the mountain.
The resting points leading up the mountain provide amazing views of St Lucia and offer a nice stopping point for you to catch your breath and have some water.
When you finally reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with even better views.
From the summit of Gros Piton you can see the entire south side of the island, the Caribbean Sea and even the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Martinique to the north.
There are actually two different viewpoints at the summit. Once you get there, ask your guide to show you the second one for a different angle.
You can also purchase water (or the local Piton beer if you prefer) and fruit at the top of the mountain if you want to hydrate yourself before heading back down.
The majority of the Gros Piton climb is actually underneath trees which means it’s shaded most of the way.
Due to the heat in St Lucia, it will still be very hot and humid but the shade helps a lot.
You should try to do the hike as early as possible in the day as the heat won’t be as bad. Most people start at 7 or 8 AM.
If you do the hike during low season (June to November), then the trail will be very quiet and you might even have the entire summit to yourself.
During the high season (December to April), it’s a bit busier along the trail but it’s never crowded.
Prior to starting the hike, you’ll find several amenities at the base of the mountain. There’s a restroom, snacks, drinks and a walking stick rental stall.
Many hikers choose to rent a walking stick here as they can be useful for the hike. The hike itself is pretty strenuous and the sticks can ease the pressure on your legs.
Hiking sticks cost $5 each from this stall.
You’ll also find an ice cream stall and some other food and drinks at the base of the mountain. Most people grab something to eat here after the hike.
The trail itself is well-maintained throughout but does sometimes get a bit slippery if it’s been raining so make sure you wear appropriate shoes.
Gros Piton Hike Difficulty
The Gros Piton hike is moderate to strenuous in terms of difficulty. It is physically challenging and you’ll spend a lot of time climbing rocks rather than walking.
Overall the hike is suitable for most people as long as you’re in decent physical shape.
I spent hours reading through Tripadvisor reviews and there were many reports of people well into their 60’s completing this hike.
It does get fairly strenuous at points, particularly near the end but it’s nothing that most people can’t handle.
Physically, you do need to be able to take big steps up and down rocks at several points along the hike. You may also need to use your hands to pull yourself up in places.
There actually aren’t that many flat points along the hike, most of it is uphill and you’ll spend a lot of time scrambling up rocks or climbing up steps which can be tiring.
The hike gets progressively harder the higher up you go as the trail gets steeper and steeper. It starts off fairly easy but towards the end, you will be mostly climbing up rocks and huge steps.
It helps that wooden rails have been installed for a large portion of the trail so you can grab onto these at any difficult points to pull yourself up.
Overall, the Gros Piton hike is pretty intense so be prepared to be sore and achy the next day.
It could be worth watching the below video which gives you an idea of what to expect when hiking Gros Piton.
In the video, you can see exactly how the trail looks including the steep rocks to see if it’s something you’re comfortable with.
Something to bear in mind is that the views from halfway up are still spectacular so if you don’t think you can handle the entire hike then you can just aim for halfway.
At the halfway point, you get a great view of Petit Piton which is the second, slightly smaller, Piton mountain. On a clear day, you’ll also be able to see St Vincent in the distance.
The first half of the hike is easier and less strenuous than the second half so is ideal for those that can’t handle the whole thing.
In fact, a lot of people who do this hike don’t finish so it’s perfectly fine if you do this. You can even let your guide know at the start that you only want to do half.
Gros Piton Hike Distance
The entire Gros Piton hike is around 7 km (4 miles) long. This includes going up and coming back down.
Over the course of the hike, you’ll ascend around 700 meters (2,400ft).
How Long Does it Take to Climb Gros Piton?
It takes between 1.5 to 2.5 hours to climb Gros Piton. It then takes a similar amount of time to come back down so the total Gros Piton hike time is between 3 and 5 hours.
It takes a similar amount of time to come back down due to the trail being really steep so you have to climb down very slowly.
If you try to come down too fast, you might slip on a rock and hurt yourself.
The time it takes to climb Gros Piton varies depending on how fit you are. If you’re super fit and an avid hiker, then you can probably do it in 3 hours total.
Less fit people will take a bit longer and can take up to 5 hours total.
Can You Hike Gros Piton Without a Guide?
No, you cannot hike Gros Piton without a guide as it is mandatory.
A guide is included in the entrance fee that you pay when you enter so you don’t need to find your own guide.
Generally, the guides are very informative and will usually tell you lots of interesting facts as you do the hike.
They will educate you on the views, the Piton mountains, the plants and what they’re used for and St Lucia as a whole.
They’ll also tell you all about St Lucia’s national plant and the local wildlife. An insider’s tip is to ask one of the guides to show you the holes in the trees which sometimes contain tarantulas!
💡Tip: Tarantulas in St Lucia are rare and not dangerous. It’s unlikely that you’ll see one as they tend to hide from humans in tree holes.
As you don’t get to choose your guide (you’re just assigned one), occasionally you may get one that isn’t as chatty or doesn’t make as much of an effort.
Based on the reviews on Tripadvisor (which I spent hours reading), most people found the guides to be super attentive and interesting.
Only a few people said that their guides were a bit distant and not as informative.
Gros Piton Hike Entrance Fee
The entrance fee for the Gros Piton hike is $50 per person. This fee includes access to the trail and a guide.
If you’re under 12 years old then the fee is just $25.
You can pay the entrance fee with either cash or card.
Although it’s pricey, the hiking trail is part of a national park which is itself a non-profit.
This means that all the money goes towards maintaining the trail and improving the local community which is great to know.
You don’t need to make a reservation or anything like that. You can just show up on the day, pay the fee and you’ll be provided with a guide.
Related Post: Does St Lucia Take US Dollars?
Gros Piton Opening Times
The Gros Piton trail opening times are from 7 AM until 2 PM.
This means that the earliest you can start your hike is 7 AM and ideally you should be done by 2 PM.
Most people start their hike as early in the morning as possible (around 7 or 8 AM) as this gives them plenty of time to complete the hike and it avoids the midday heat.
How To Get To Gros Piton
You can reach Gros Piton by car. This can be either by taxi or rental car.
Gros Piton sits a 20-minute drive south of Soufriere, 1.5 hours south of Castries and 2 hours south of Rodney Bay.
To get to Gros Piton, make your way to the small town of Fond Gens Libre which sits at its base.
This town doesn’t show up on Google Maps for some reason so if you’re using it for GPS then select the ‘Gros Piton Nature Trail’ for directions.
As you get closer, there are lots of signs that point towards the start of the trail so just follow these and you should be fine.
If you hire a taxi then they should know where it is so you shouldn’t have any issues.
This will lead you to the base of the mountain where you can pay the entrance fee and get a guide.
Alternatively, you can pre-book transport to Gros Piton using a tour company like Viator.
Gros Piton Hike – Things To Take
Here’s a list of the things you should bring for your Gros Piton hike:
- Hiking boots – Although the hike isn’t too difficult, it’ll be much easier with the correct footwear.
- Bug spray – There are mosquitos in St Lucia so bring along your bug spray to prevent any unwanted bites. Mosquitos are particularly prevalent on the mountain.
- Sunscreen – It’s hot, there’s sun – it’s a no-brainer really.
- Water bottle – This is probably the most important thing. You really don’t want to get too dehydrated when climbing a mountain so bring plenty of water. I’d recommend around 2 liters of water each and if you need more you can purchase it at the summit or the base.
- Cash – You can buy drinks and snacks at the bottom of the mountain so you’ll want some cash on hand. You may also want to tip your guide.
Other than that you don’t really need much else. You don’t want to bring too much with you or it’ll be too heavy and make the hike even more difficult.
Gros Piton Hike Tips
There’s no denying that climbing Gros Piton is tough. It’s certainly no walk in the park but there are a few things you can do to make it a little easier.
Here are my top tips for hiking Gros Piton in St Lucia:
- Don’t do the hike on a rainy day. Not only will the rain clouds block some of the epic views from the summit of the mountain, but it can also be dangerous.
After it’s rained, the rocks become slippery and muddy and it’s more likely that you’ll fall.
- Stop at every resting point. There are 3 resting points leading up the mountain and one at the top (the summit).
It’s worth stopping at every single one to catch your breath and sit down for a while.
- Drink lots of water. You will become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water and this will make the hike more difficult (and in extreme circumstances, you could collapse).
- Go at your own pace. Usually, your guide will match your pace but if you find that they’re going too fast then just ask them to slow down.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how fast or how slow you do the hike as long as you’re having a good time.
Whether you reach the summit or not, even just attempting this hike is an achievement in itself.
And that’s it!
Thanks for reading this guide to hiking Gros Piton.
If hiking the Pitons isn’t on your St Lucia bucket list then why not enjoy views of the Pitons from elsewhere on the island?
Need more help planning your St Lucia vacation?