A friend had told me that Dominica was a wonderful island and that the Boiling Lake trek was not to be missed! So we booked an apartment in Roseau, scheduled some diving, printed the directions for the main route, and hopped on some planes. 2 days later we arrived at our destination and informed our landlords that we wanted to do the trek.
We were encouraged to hire a guide for this trip but we frequently hike in foreign countries and had heard that the trail was easy to follow. So we hired a driver/guide to take us to the trailhead. He gave us his card so we could have someone call him when we were done and asked us if we had food, water and rain gear. Yes, yes, and yes. Then he pointed us in the right direction , continuing up the paved road past the barriers.
The Boiling Lake trailhead
Trois Pitons park entrance
We started around 7:45 a.m. by walking past the barrier at the end of the parking lot up towards the Titou Gorge. At that hour of the morning we were the only ones there. Passing a few shelters near the gorge, we then turned slightly right and immediately started the upward climb. The trail ascended some steep, muddy steps and at one point my husband stepped right out of his shoe as it was sucked into the mud. Not too far down the trail we entered the Trois Pitons National Park.
After about 1.5 hours we arrived at the Breakfast River, just as the route description predicted. Trying to keep my feet dry I hopped across some rocks, only to slide on the last one and land in the water. After that I gave up trying to stay dry.
We arrived at Morne Nicholls in a swirling fog and couldn't see a thing.
View from Morne Nicholls
Once again, the route description was very accurate as we slipped and slid down the next, most difficult part of the trail on the way to the Valley of Desolation. This mini volcanic area had steam vents, mud pots and warm streams. If you are on a guided trip, you will get your face painted with mud, the reason being whatever story your guide chooses to tell you.
Valley of Desolation
Warm pool in Valley of Desolation
We continued downstream, just walking though the water crossings as they occurred. Many of the crossings were warm but none were hot enough to burn.Less than half a mile from Boiling Lake we couldn't tell that the trail crossed a stream, and we went uphill on some exposed bedrock. Once up high we could see the trail so corrected our error. This little detour added 15-20 minutes to our day.
Route across Boiling Lake stream
The lake was amazing but it was difficult to get a "boiling" photo due to the fog.
Boiling lake 2015
Waterfall at Boiling Lake
On the return trip we avoided detours and got a few photos during occasional breaks in the fog. Still no rain, but misty with a lovely breeze. The Breakfast River was a great place to freshen up, but the mud won out farther along the trail.
The Breakfast River
Overall it was slow going on the steep, slippery trail, which would have been much worse if it had rained. It took us 6.25 hours including our little detour and we certainly didn't rush. We wore trail running shoes that were reasonably grippy and shorts and t-shirts. The GPS had acted strangely in the beginning of the hike so I turned it off and back on at Morne Nicholls. After that it appeared to be working properly. When I looked at the track which is included above, it read 3.4 miles one way.
Despite the fact that it never rained on us, we returned to Titou Gorge with mud-caked legs and wet filthy feet. By that time there was a little crowd there, and 3 ladies selling beer, soda and local goods who kindly called our driver. The sun was finally peeking through the clouds, so we changed into swimsuits, donned a mandatory, free life vest and swam in the gorge.
Inside the Titou Gorge
We dried off, changed clothes and walked back down to the trailhead where our driver SeaCat
was waiting for us.
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