East of Soufriere and Fond St James, the Edmund Trail is a guided 10km (3.5 hour) trek through the pristine Edmund Forest Reserve. The route leads from near Fond St James in the west to Mahaut in the east. Many trekkers hike one-way and arrange for a pickup on the other side. Along the way, expect to find numerous plants such as bromeliads and orchids. As the route traverses eastward, there are several vistas of the Caribbean Sea and a magnificent view of Mt Gimie. The trail is mostly flat, with some foot bridges.
This is a strenuous hike. It is best to start around 8am to beat the heat. There are many side routes to explore, if the guide is willing (otherwise, a Specialist Guide is required).
The trailhead is about 8km inland from the west coast. The drive time is at least 30 minutes from Soufriere and 100 minutes from Castries. The roads may be impassible during the rainy season from July to December so make sure to call ahead on road conditions.
To reach the trailhead from Soufriere, follow inland road east to Fond St Jacques. Continue along the narrow track on the left near the zinc-roofed cement bus stop in the village center for 5km to ranger station. The trailhead is about 10 minutes past the ranger station.
A permit is requried to hike on forest reserve trails. A professional guide may also be required, and is strongly recommended in any case. Both are easy to obtain for a small fee from the Forest & Lands Department at (758) 450-2231 or 450-2078, or by contacting the National Trust at (758) 450-5005. It is a punishable offense under the Forest Soil And Conservation Ordinance Act to attempt to access the forest reserve trails without a permit and, when required, a guide.
A guide is required in the Edmund Forest Reserve.
Note, if you plan to use a GPS device on St Lucia, the MAP DATUM is DOS 3 Lighthouse 1955 St Lucia.