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Flagstaff Hill
Mountain/Rock

Flagstaff Hill

 
Flagstaff Hill

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Trinida, South America

Lat/Lon: 11.32930°N / 60.53983°W

Object Title: Flagstaff Hill

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 1201 ft / 366 m

 

Page By: Scott

Created/Edited: Feb 2, 2014 / Feb 2, 2014

Object ID: 885658

Hits: 417 

Page Score: 76.57%  - 7 Votes 

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Overview

Flagstaff 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.

View North
This photo was taken from the summit of Flagstaff Hill and is looking south across Man of War Bay.





Getting There

Tobago 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.

Pass Trailhead

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.

Interesting Tree
An interesting tree as seen from near the trailhead to Flagstaff Hill. It looks like a giant fan.


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.

Speyside Trailhead

See the information above for how to get to Speyside.

Routes Overview

Pass 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.

St Giles and Melville Islands
St Giles and Melville Islands as seen form the summit of Flagstaff Hill.


Speyside Route

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.

Flagstaff Hill
The upper slopes of Flagstaff Hill as seen from the south.

Red Tape

No 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.

Boa Constrictor
We saw this Boa while hiking Flagstaff Hill in Tobago on December 16 2013. It was the first time I have seen a boa in the wild. It was about 7 feet/2 meters long.

When to Climb

January 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.

Summit
Looking south from the summit of Flagstaff Hill in mid-December.

Camping

You 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 Conditions

Weather 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
Jan 88 31 70 21 2.98 75.6 21
Feb 88 31 70 21 1.70 43.2 18
Mar 90 32 72 22 1.14 29.0 14
Apr 91 33 73 23 2.28 58.0 14
May 91 33 75 24 3.97 100.8 20
Jun 90 32 75 24 9.20 233.7 25
Jul 90 32 73 23 12.13 308.1 26
Aug 91 33 73 23 11.16 283.5 25
Sep 91 33 73 23 9.37 238.1 22
Oct 91 33 73 23 6.86 174.2 22
Nov 90 32 73 23 7.87 199.8 25
Dec 90 32 72 22 4.72 119.9 22

Guidebook

It 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

Images

SummitBoa ConstrictorSpeysideSpeysideFlagstaff HillFlagstaff HillInteresting Tree
View NorthSummitSt Giles and Melville Islands