The Salt Pond Trail begins at the eastern end of Salt
Pond Beach and heads inland (left) towards the salt pond.
It is an easy quarter-mile walk with no hills. The trail skirts
the western edge of the salt pond and continues on to the rocky
windswept beach at Drunk Bay.
Salt Pond at Salt Pond Bay
The bottom of the salt pond is made up of a layer of red algae
giving the salt pond a reddish-brown color. The distinctive smell
of the pond comes from another layer of older red algae, which
is found just below an intermediate layer of sand.
Look for the delicate blooms of wild orchids along the trail
and watch for donkeys, deer and birds, especially in the early
Because of its location on this arid and windswept part of the
island, Salt Pond is the most likely place to find 100% natural
St. John sea salt - no fat, no carbs, no cholesterol, no preservatives.
How Does the Salt Get There?
Saltwater enters the pond from the sea by seepage at high tides
and by waves breaking over the surface during storms. Salt
Pond is one of the only places on St. John that is below sea
level. This condition prevents significant amounts of pond
water from flowing back out to sea. Constant, intense sunlight
and ever-present trade winds encourage an exceptionally high
rate of evaporation. When rain is scarce, the water becomes
extremely salty. Water can only hold a certain amount of salt
in solution and when the salinity of the pond reaches that
point, the salt crystallizes.
As the water level continues to drop, and more and more water
is evaporated, a layer of salt is left along the edges of the
pond. The longer the dry period, the higher the temperature,
and the stronger the winds, the more this salt layer will extend
towards the center of the pond and the thicker the layer becomes.
You can collect salt during these times by scooping up the salt
with your hands, if it is still wet and soft. If the salt layer
is dry and hard, use a knife or other sharp tool. (If you've
forgotten to bring a container, just walk over to nearby Drunk
Bay where there is a great deal of flotsam, and you'll probably
find something you can use.)
After the salt is collected, drain off as much water as possible
and put it in the sun to dry further. You may be left with fine
powdery salt, which you can enjoy on your food immediately or,
if the dried crystals are large, you will first need to grind
them up or pound them out.
The salt obtained from salt ponds is particularly tasty and
healthy, containing all the minerals that are present in the
sea, which include all those essential to the human body. So
during the next dry spell, take the trail to St. John’s
best salt pond for collecting salt and bring some back home.
Salt Pond Mud Bath
Salt Pond Mud Baths The mud at the bottom of the salt pond is said to have beneficial qualities for the skin. The procedure as explained to me is to first apply the mud to the skin, then let it dry in the sun. Next return to the beach where you rub the dried mud into the skin and then jump in the sea to remove the leftover mud.
The trail continues to the rocky windswept beach at Drunk Bay.
The easterly trades bring ashore an abundance of flotsam, which
makes for great beach combing. Do not swim here. Breaking surf,
currents and jagged rocks and coral make it too dangerous for
Drunk Bay, St. John USVI
Drunk Bay St. John
Drunk Bay, St. John
Drunk Bay Sculpture
Drunk Bay Sculpture
Drunk Bay Art Drunk Bay has inspired the imagination of visitors to create dozens of coral sculptures, most of which can be found by going around the large rocks to your left as you enter the beach.