OverviewFlagstaff Hill is a summit that happens to have the word “hill” in the name, but it does have a lot going for it. First and foremost, it has the best views on Tobago. The reason for this is because it has been a lookout for hundreds of years, so the forest on top has been cleared. Most other summits on the island have limited views because of thick forest. Flagstaff Hill rises directly from the ocean, so it is more impressive than the elevation might indicate.
From the summit, you can see the ocean surround the peak on three sides. From the summit, some of the areas visible are Tyrells Bay, Little Tobago, Goat Island, Man of War Bay, Booby Island, and Pigeon Peak. The walk to the summit is also interesting and there are a variety of routes that can be taken. A radio tower as well as several rest/view benches and a picnic table are on the summit.
The slopes of Flagstaff Hill are still covered with rainforest, much of it virgin. There is much wildlife on the peak. We just happened to see a boa on the route, the first I have seen in the wild.
Flagstaff Hill can also be combined with a climb to Man of War and Pigeon Peak. Flagstaff Hill is the northernmost peak on Tobago.
Getting ThereTobago is served by both plane and ferry from Trinidad.
The most popular way is to fly. Caribbean Airlines has 24 flights daily from Trinidad to Tobago.
Several flights access Tobago directly from Europe, but strangely there doesn’t seem to be any direct flights from North America. You will probably have to connect in Trinidad.
Inter Island Ferry Service has three trips a day from Trinidad to Tobago.
Getting to the trailhead is fairly easy. From the Tobago Airport, take a bus, maxi taxi, or car to Charlotteville or Speyside (on the opposite side of the island as the airport). If taking a bus or maxi taxi, you will probably transfer at Scarborough. (If doing several hikes in the Charlotteville or Speyside area, taking a taxi is still cheaper than renting a car).
From Speyside, take the road to Chalotteville over the pass between the two towns. The trailhead is right at the pass. One the north side of the pass is the turnoff for Flagstaff Hill.
Pirates Bay Trailhead
The trail to the top of Flagstaff Hill from Pirates Bay starts at the Police Station in Charlotteville. See the above for directions of how to get to Charlotteville.
See the information above for how to get to Speyside.
Routes OverviewPass Route
From the pass mentioned above, simply follow the very lightly used and very narrow, but now pave road to the summit. There usually isn’t any traffic on the road and the walk is pleasant and interesting. There are many interesting plants and well groomed houses near the beginning. This is about 3 miles/5kms round trip, but much longer if you walk from Speyside or Chalotteville.
Pirates Bay Route
A trail heads to the summit from Pirates Bay. It begins at the Police Station in Charlottville. Walk towards the beach and take Top River Road to Bamboo Village. From there a series of trails climbs to the summit of Flagstaff Hill.
There is said to be a trail to the summit from Speyside. I do not know of its location. Inquire in Speyside and perhaps take a guide.
Red TapeNo permits are required and there is no red tape. Because there is no red tape make sure to be respectful of nature and the plant and animal life.
When to ClimbJanuary through May is the “dry” season, with February through April being the driest. December is an in between season. June through November are very wet and especially July and August. Even in the so called dry season, prepare for possibly heavy rains.
Although prices in Trindad aren’t as affected except during Carnival, if you are visiting Tobago, prices sky rocket between mid-December and mid-April.
Even though a bit wetter, early to mid December and May can be good months to climb since it’s not tourist season and prices for accommodation is much lower.
Because there is a paved route, Flagstaff Hill can be climbed year round and even during a rainstorm. This is a good peak to climb if you are worried about getting soaked on the other mountains. The route from Charlotteville would be more challenging in the rain.
CampingYou could likely camp on the trail to Man or War and Pigeon Peak,located to the south of the Flagstaff Hill area, though there isn't any running water and the ground is probably permanently wet.
Since people are living not far from Flagstaff Hill, I assume that you aren’t supposed to camp there.
There are plenty of places to stay in Speyside and Charlotteville. Charlotteville is said to be more attractive due to the beach, but Blue Waters Inn in Speyside is also very nice, has a nice beach, and offers good access to places like Little Tobago. We stayed at the Blue Waters Inn, but bear in mind that prices are almost double in the mid December to mid April season (we were there before the prices rise).
Mountain ConditionsWeather averages for Brasso Seco (on Trinidad) are below, but the mountains near Pigeon Peak will be much wetter and a bit cooler than Brasso Seco.
CLICK FOR SPEYSIDE WEATHER FORECAST
|Month||High (° F )||High (° C)||Low (° F )||Low (° C)||in. Rain||mm Rain||Rain Days|
GuidebookIt isn't cheap, but if you plan on doing much hiking in Trinidad and Tobago, The Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club Trail Guide is a very valuable resource.
The Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club Trail Guide