The trail to the BOILING LAKE is perhaps the most spectacular of Dominica’s hikes. Officially described as “a stenuous 3-hour each way hike”, it does include a lot of steps and plenty of ups and downs. However, the trail is very well-maintained, and, after warming up on some of the island’s shorter walks, this one is well worth the effort, and, for most people, not as tough as might be expected.
Perhaps the best thing about this trip is the variety. The path starts with a long section winding through the rainforest of the Morne Trois Pitons national park, where you’ll see all sorts of tropical trees and flowers, such as endemic species of fern, bromeliads, palms, hear vibrant jungle sounds, including the enchanting mountain whistler, and the distinctive ting-ting beetle, and it is not long before the heady scent of the forest takes on a sulphur tinge.
You’ll cross rivers (there’s plenty of drinking water to be found throughout), and get occasional glimpses of the views to come. As you begin to ascend Morne Nichols, the flora begins to change to montagne forest, and you find yourself traversing a ridge that offers spectacular views, until you reach the summit, from where one can see all of Dominica’s peaks, the boiling lake steaming in the distance, and the distant sight of Roseau and the Caribbean Sea in the west, the Atlantic to the east, and Guadeloupe in the north. It is breathtaking. Of course, the weather makes a huge difference, but even on only a relatively dry day (just a few scattered showers), it is special.
From here, the trail descends, quite sharply in places, until you come down into the VALLEY OF DESOLATION.
It is not as desolate as one might imagine ; there is enough rainfall on this island for true desolation to be unlikely anywhere. The rocky valley floor follows a hot stream, and is punctuated by bubbling pools, and fierce, steam-spouting geysers. It doesn’t take long to cross, unless you find yourself mesmerised by a plethora of geothermal activity, and the trail picks up again where the montagne returns. Shortly you reach a group of small falls and pools, where the water is warm, and one could easily pass hours soaking up the minerals and letting the powerful hot water drop down onto your head and shoulders for a wonderful massage, a treat that you might want to save for the return journey.
On winds the trail, criss-crossing the warm river, up and down through the forest, until you come out on another lunar-like valley. Across here and around the next ridge and you’ve reached the final destination. You stand on a clifftop, confronted by a misty scene of steam. The wind changes, and the lake is there before you. It is really boiling, like a vast cauldron, storming geothermal waves pulsating through the body of water, rolling, churning, other-wordly.
US$ 150 per person, and includes transport to & from trail head, guide, packed lunch, and tax