The Mangrove Forests
On our Mangrove Tour we take you through two of the wetland eco-systems on the flat south-western tip of the island. On the Caribbean coast, the Bon Accord trail system offers a great glimpse of the Bon Accord lagoon. The track is covered overhead by mangrove trees, so no matter what time of day the ride is always cool. The trail is used mainly by crab hunters, fishermen and of course us. However, it is not always clear, it can be flooded in the rainy season. It is great for bird watching and beautiful sunsets but notorious for insects in the morning and late evenings.
On the Atlantic coast, the Kilgwyn trail system takes us through a number of old coconut estates and some of the last undisturbed mangrove forest in Tobago. This area was one of the sites of the earliest Amerindian settlements in Tobago and is littered with old single tracks and there are even a couple of sugar mills from the colonial era.
We incorporate both of these trail systems into most of our beginner rides, however, there are also more technically challenging detours through the mangrove roots that can be used by the more advanced rider.
The connecting routes and trails that we use are all incredible in their own right but too short and too numerous to mention. These connectors allow us to move from the Caribbean side of the island to the Atlantic side without having to deal with the busy roads in the vicinity of Crown Point International Airport however, many of them are on private land and are always at risk of becoming non- existent due to development accessibility varies as development increases. So lets enjoy them while we can!
Heading North! - Time To Climb.
The trails in this area all involve a bit of climbing. None of them are too long, so we link them up one after the other, legs and lungs permitting!
Chala’s trail is one of the best short distance trails we have on the island. It’s a trail created by villagers to access their homes via single track. It can be entered either by a short jeep road climb or a road climb on top. Either way fun is guaranteed.
Tabancas is a fast trail, slalom type single-track that twists and weaves through the village and offers a great view of Trinidad on the Atlantic horizon just before the last descent.
Above Black Rock village is a jeep trail linking the hillside villages of Whim and Bethel. This is a very scenic route that allows views of both the windward and leeward side of the island. The descent into Whim is fast and flowing, abruptly ending at Glenn Road.
Both the villages of Black Rock and Plymouth have lots of short fun backtracks running through them. Most of these tracks are on private property connecting homes, churches and parlours.
Along Tobago’s interior runs the Main Ridge; it is the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere. The mountain range elevation is anywhere from 1,200 to 1,900 feet and is mostly covered in secondary forest since Hurricane Flora wiped out most of the old growth forest in 1963. These are some of the best extreme trails we have to offer and there are lots more to discover.
They all involve long road, jeep and single-track climbs and when we say extreme trails, these trails require most of you to drop your saddles on the descent.
We begin with Elvis Goats’. This trail sits atop a ridge above Culloden at 575 feet and involves technical single track ascents and descents. We do a couple more trails before and after Elvis Goats’ depending on the route we choose, trails with names like Sweet Man Hill, Chubbies, and Greedy’s.
Changing location now to Castara, where there is an epic rainforest trail at about 1700 feet above sea level. This trail is hidden in the rainforest and has a very steep ascent to the top followed by 20 – 30 minutes descending through jungle single tracks then a lightning fast grassy jeep trail high above the village at about 800 feet. This trail has only been ridden a few times before and is a very exciting addition to our knowledge of off road trails in Tobago (dry season only, January to May).
Lastly, Chocolate Cake. The later part of this trail consists drops and chutes through rocks and trees. It’s all single track from the trail head at plus 900 feet and the ride can take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. At the bottom of the trail is Big Bay beach a.k.a. Cotton Bay, which is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Tobago. Access to Big Bay is very difficult by land so there’s hardly anyone there.