Looking down on Stromatolites
Several paths to Beacon
Download Hiking Map
of Stocking Island Here:
(You can get a copy at the Tourist Office in George Town)
Osprey Nest on Beacon
Water station for birds (add some fresh water if dry)
Great views from dune top trails
Hiking on Stocking Island
If you like to hike, the trails of Stocking Island are incredible. The island itself provides a natural barrier to Georgetown harbour and is about 3 1/2 miles long from tip to tip.
What makes this hike so incredible is the variety of terrains from long expanses of surf beach, to hidden coves to sanddunes to salt flats to shaded paths under full canopy of dry-rain Forrest...it is a photographer's dream.
There is a navy beacon mid island that operated as a marker for ships dating back to the salt industry in the 1800s, although it looks more recently restored compared to the salt beacon on Little Exuma. It was also used by the airport as a guide before more advanced forms of flight tracking. There are several paths up to the summit which offers incredible views in every direction. It is a worthy destination.
A great map available at the tourist office (or download at the bottom of this article if you want to preplan a hike.) The trails are well marked and benches have been built at some of the most stunning outlooks.
There are bird watering stations along the trails. It is a bird watcher's paradise. There is an Osprey nest at the top of the beacon which seems appropriate lording over the island.
There is always something to discover but other sites that are worthy of their own blog include Stromatolites, Starfish Beach, geocache treasure and the Blue Hole. There are also blowholes, shelling, sandbars, surfing and even a tree swing. Too much to see on a single hike.
If you don't have your own boat (which can be rented - see the directory) then water taxis can be picked up at the dock in George Town 'on the hour' seven days a week. Return Taxi service is $12 per person.
You can arrange a start and end point at an appointed time. St Francis Resort and Chat & Chill both can radio the water taxis and also both have great food and cold drinks, so they are good end points for a long hike.
It is about an hour hike from St Francis to the beacon and an hour back, but shorter and longer hikes are available. From Chat & Chill you need to wade through the narrows which is waist high at low tide it is then a quick 2 minute hike to the surf beach and great views. (If you are getting dropped somewhere else and working towards Chat and Chill it is worth checking the tide charts so it's not too deep to walk comfortably across the hundred foot gap)
There are no poisonous snakes, but do watch out for poison bush which if touched leaves a rash like poison ivy. (I have never had a bad experience but washing the oil off with soap and hot water seems to be the remedy coupled with an antihistime.)
As always, please take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints, so others can enjoy this incredible experience for generations to come. Please stick to the marked trails as there are several private homes on the island and you will be less likely to disturb nesting birds.