Mahogany Forest Trail

Walking through a former mahogany plantation in Tortola's Sage Mountain National Park.

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Time: 30 minutes from the entry gate back to the parking lot. Difficulty: 2, steady climbing much of the way. Trailhead: Atop Sage Mountain on Tortola.

When you return to the main gate after hiking the Rain Forest Trail, turn right to the clearly visible Mahogany Forest Trail sign.

The trail begins behind another cow-blocking gate. As the path does not contain tree/plant identification signs nor is it graveled, it's slick during heavy rain. Arrowed signs prevent most wrong turns.

This trail leads to the highest point in any of the Virgin Islands, so it's steady climbing for the first 10 minutes, through the former plantation grounds where mahogany and white cedar were planted in the 1960s.

In many sections, the ground is dense with a layer of ferns, though the forest alternates between thick and sparse growth. A side trail off to the right leads to a viewing point at 1710 feet.

Returning to the main path, take the exit sign to the right, which leads to a barb-wired fence and gate. On the other side, turn left and proceed down the rocky trail to the parking lot.

This path, which can be slippery when wet, goes across open land and past a cluster of tree ferns, something unusual in the British Virgin Islands.

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