Blue & John Crow Mountains

Blue Mountain Peak Trail/Portland Gap

The Blue Mountain Peak Trail (final ascent from Portland Gap) is a 5.6 km (3.5 mile) hike, taking approximately 2 to 3 hours. It ends at the famous Blue Mountain Peak, the highest peak in the island (2,256m). Portland Gap is the last rest stop and overnight stop for the hiker looking to conquer Jamaica's highest point. It is a recreational area, which offers very rustic accommodation in beautiful natural surroundings for the nature lover.

Portland Gap Ranger Station
Portland Gap Ranger Station

Hikers begin their ascent from various points, with Penlyne Castle being the usual start of the 12.5 km (7.8 mile) hike to the Peak. From this village, hikers pass through a number of hillside farms growing coffee and vegetables before entering the natural forests which cover the upper slopes of the Blue Mountain range. Much of this is very high quality upper montane rainforest which gradual transitions to elfin woodland near the Peak. The climb to the Peak may also consist of a variety of transport methods, varying from walking to 4-wheel-drive vehicles.

Distance and Recommended Modes of Travel

LocationDistanceMode of Travel
Papine to Mavis Bank 17.7km (11 Miles) Bus, Car, 4WD or Walk
Mavis Bank to Hagley Gap (road) 7km (4.3 Miles) Bus, Car, 4WD or Walk
Mavis Bank To Penlyne Castle (trail) 4.5km (2.8 Miles) Walk
Hagley Gap to Penlyne Castle (road) 4km (2.5 Miles) 4WD or Walk
Penlyne Castle to Abbey Green (road) 3.2km (2 Miles) 4WD or Walk
Abbey Green To Portland Gap 3.7km (2.3 Miles) Walk
Portland Gap to the Peak 5.6km (3.5 Miles) Walk

On the journey to the Peak, you will see spectacular scenic views and diverse flora and fauna. Many species of birds, characteristic of the area, can be seen all the way up the trail. Jamaica’s National Bird – the Doctor Bird; the Jamaican Tody (Robin Red Breast) and the Mountain Witch represent only a small portion of the colourful and diverse birdlife found in the area. Ancient ferns and a variety of mosses and lichens give impression of a primal wilderness. The Peak Trail passes through old growth forest. It is a very special and unique area which we want to remain as natural as possible. It is said that on a clear day – you can see Cuba from the Blue Mountain Peak.

Peak Trail
Peak Trail

The Portland Gap Recreational Area is a popular point on the Blue Mountain Peak Trail situated 5.6km (3 miles) from the Peak. A variety of rustic accommodation is available for rent at Portland Gap. Outdoor toilets, showers and kitchen facilities are also available.

Portland Gap
Silford ‘Bigga, – Caretaker at Portland Gap

Portland Gap
Portland Gap

Fees

Please note that the User Fee is stipulated under the NRCA Act, Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park Regulations and therefore a payment required by Law. Further, these are the funds the JCDT uses to help maintain the Trail.

Please note also, all fees are subject to change without notice and conditions apply.

Type of FeeCostNotes

User Fee (Peak Trail)

Residents: JA$200

Non-residents: US$20

(N.B.: the National Park's regulations stipulate these fees and as government funds provide only 30% of the National Park's budget, we will have to continue with these rates. The Residents' fees are likely to be increased soon. All fees are collected and retained by the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust, a registered charity which manages the National Park and World Heritage Site on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.)

Fees can be paid at the JCDT office prior to visit or at Portland Gap to Ranger or Bigga - please ensure you receive a ticket.

Currently, JCDT has arrangements for tickets to be purchased only from Jay's Guest House and the fees are included in tours sold by Forres Park and Sun Venture Tours.

Bunk Room - 12 persons $2,400 per night Closed for renovation - new fees will be announced soon.
Bunk Room - 18 persons $3,600 per night
Rooms with floor space only (4) $1,500 per night
Sponges (for sleeping) $50 per sponge per night
Camping Sites $200 per person per night If you have your own tent

What to wear and bring:

  • Warm Clothing – Temperatures at the Peak have been known to drop to the freezing point.
  • Rain Gear – Wet weather is quite common
  • Flashlights and dependable batteries
  • Water Bottles
  • Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes/hiking boots
  • Sleeping bags or blankets if you are spending the night

RULES AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Please register at our Ranger Station in Portland Gap
  • Do not disturb, harm or capture any animals or birds
  • Do not disturb, cut or remove any plants or trees
  • Do not litter. Please take your garbage home
  • Please do not bring pets to the park as they interfere with the wildlife
  • Minimal firewood collection is allowed
  • Digging is not allowed
  • Please do not destroy or vandalize the facilities that have been constructed
  • Please stay on the trail
  • No smoking is allowed on the trail or in the cabins
  • Make use of the toilet before walking the trail, there is no toilet along the Peak Trail
  • Overnighting at the Peak is NOT permitted

BJCMNP | The Blue Mountains Experience

The JCDT appreciates the involvement and support of our Partners, Donors and Sponsors

  • National Environment & Planning Agency
  • Forestry Department
  • Jamaica National Heritage Trust
  • Environmental Foundation of Jamaica
  • Forest Conservation Fund
  • Pear Tree Press
  • JEP Logo Tagline small
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