OverviewThe standard route to Pigeon Peak and Man of War follows an old road cut (overgrown in places) through an old plantation (which the jungle has mostly reclaimed) to its end at a gully. Just before the gully and extremely steep and slippery trail heads south to a saddle.
From there the trail to Pigeon Peak is mostly nonexistent, but it’s a mostly open jungle walk to the summit, sometimes marked with ribbons on trees.
The route to Man of War is also mostly nonexistent, but it’s also a mostly open jungle walk to the summit. There were no ribbons on Man of War when we were there, but there were faint blazes on trees.
This is a half day climb to climb either peak, but you may want to make it a full day if you plan on climbing both peaks or walk all the way from the coast and back.
Getting ThereGetting 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 just west of the pass and turnoff for Flagstaff Hill. It is right across from the 39.5 km post and on the west side of the main road. The trail was not marked as of December 2013, but is an old road cut heading up the hillside.
The trailhead is within reasonable walking distance of Charlotteville or Speyside, but you may want to take a taxi up and walk all the way down. If driving, there isn’t much room to park at the trailhead, but you can park along the Flagstaff Hill road and walk to the trailhead.
Route DescriptionThe trail starts out as an old road cut heading southwest. The trail is steep as first, but begins to level out once on the ridge. Stay on the main track as it heads southwest somewhat following the ridge at times. The old road cut is overgrown in a few places, but the bushwhacking isn’t too serious and is short lived (take long pants for the hike).
After about 1.6 kms (about a mile), the trail/old road cut reaches a gully and disappears. Back up for a very short distance and find a very steep path heading south up the ridge past an “Immortal tree”. Climb up the very slick and steep trail to the saddle (take a walking stick especially for the route down!).
The steep path passes through a bamboo stand where you must squeeze through the bamboo. If this bamboo grows much anymore, it may be impossible to squeeze though, in which case you will have to go around it.
One at the saddle (leave an object here, such as a waterbottle, so you can locate the saddle on the way back), you can either go left to Pigeon Peak or right to Man of War.
If you have only time to climb one of the peaks, I would recommend choosing Pigeon Peak, though both are nice.
To reach Pigeon Peak from the saddle, head left (southeast) along the ridge. There is a very faded (mostly nonexistent) path to the summit of Pigeon Peak. Stay more or less along the ridge. There may be sporadic ribbons and tree blazes marking the route. Make sure to pay attention closely to the route, especially on the return trip.
The summit has a clearing in which there are some views of Charlotteville. Return to the saddle (which hopefully you had marked with an object).
Man of War
To climb Man of War from the saddle, head right (southwest). This is a less obvious route than the one up Pigeon Peak and appears to be much less used. Not long above the saddle, the route goes past a huge ant nest and under a big fallen tree. Stay on the indistinct ridge and climb to the summit of the peak. Make sure to pay very close attention to the route as it’s easy to get lost!
There are some beautiful palms around the summit. On the summit is a survey marker and maybe a pole. Make sure to pay close attention on the return trip!
The return trip from the saddle to the trailhead is very steep and slippery going downhill. It shouldn’t be done without a walking stick or trekking pole.