Jamaica Trail Running

Jamaica may be known for its tourist friendly coastal resorts, but adventurous travelers know that the island’s interior mountains and jungles are a sight not to be missed. Trail running in Jamaica ranges anywhere from mild jogs to expert level treks. Roots, vines, high elevations, and mucky trail conditions make most of Jamaica’s trails challenging to run, but if you’re looking for a fun, not-too-treacherous way to immerse yourself in the Jamaican scenery, we’ve mapped out a few of the most “runnable” trails. Some of these trails are more remote…make sure you bring water.

Mount Zion Trail: The Mount Zion Trail doesn’t have the traditional vista or natural feature as its destination, but it offers a great opportunity to experience authentic Jamaican culture in a rural hillside community. From Montego Bay, a potholed road near the Cinnamon Hill golf course leads up a jungly hill to a tiny village consisting of little more than a school and a rum shop. Stop in for a cold drink before jetting back down the mountain. The trail is about 7.7 km (4.8 miles) out and back. MAP

Oatley Mountain/Holywell Park: Though it’s only about a 1.2 km loop, the paved/gravel Oatley Mountain Trail is a nice “trail running” option that offers big scenery without too much tricky footwork. But don’t let the length or the terrain fool you — this 1,400 meter mountain is a proper challenge! The reward is a nice panoramic vista of St. Andrew and Portland from a viewing platform. The trail is part of Holywell Park, located 17 km north of Kingston. It’s a section of Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, which has 15 km of walking & hiking trails to add on to your run. Visit the ranger station at the trailhead for a map. Park Information. Trail Information.

Catherine’s Peak: Though the summit of Blue Mountain Peak is considered the most top-notch hiking in Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, it’s an expert level trail run. In fact, some hikers only climb it with a guide. A good alternative for trail runners is Catherine’s Peak, which starts from the Jamaican Defense Force army camp. From there, a 1.5 km concrete path winds through dense jungle to the misty summit. Towards the top, the trail becomes quite steep and can be slippery in wet weather. Watch your footing!

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