The Creole garden
The path is bordered by farms, some of which have now fallen into disuse. Here you can see plant species that testify to human presence here, fruit trees such as mango and lemon trees, as well as banana and coconut trees.
"Do not be deceived by the overgrowth, which does not allow you to distinguish the individual plants. This Creole garden is not so much the fruit of fantasy as a work of science which understands the needs of light and shade: the fruit trees protect vanilla, bananas, soap wood, wild cherry, while the cocoa trees filter the light for the coffee bushes". Jacqueline Picard, "Parc national de la Guadeloupe", 1999.
Pachystachys spicata is member of the Acanthaceae family. It is an ornamental flower.
Black-eyed Susan vine
Thunbergia alata is a creeping plant also known as the Black-eyed Susan vine because of its purplish-black centre. Its petals are yellow or white.
Acnistus arborescens is a member of the Solanaceae family. It is recognisable for its large clusters of white flowers, which turn into clusters of red fruits.
Crête du Morne Soldat
Fine views of the Morne Soldat ridge.
This name refers to a number of species in the Piperaceae family.
As shrubs or small evergreen trees (ranging from 2-7 metres tall) with black, wart-like bark, rat's tails are a favourite among bats.
Access to the Grande Rivière de Vieux-Habitants.
A member of the Poaceae family, bamboo is more closely related to grasses than to trees. Made up of a woody, hollow stalk, its stem grows extremely quickly. It is both a highly resistant and invasive species in Guadeloupe and concerted efforts are being made to put it to best use in crafts and construction.
Ochroma pyramidale, a member of the Bombacoideae sub-family. A very distinctive tree of the Grande Rivière valley, its fruits form tufts of fuzz (kapok), which were once used for pillows.
Pool with resplendent colours
On the ravine just before the waterfall, the pool is a very pleasant spot for a nice quiet swim.
The Symphonia globulifera, more commonly known as the Chewstick tree, belongs to the Clusiaceae family. It is a tree that grows in thick, humid and swampy forests. Reaching up to 25-30 metres in height, it has stilt roots and a yellow latex trunk. Its flowers are bright red petals, with oval fruits that resemble nutmeg and that are yellow when ripe. It wood was one used as timber for houses and its resin was used in boat-making.
A member of the Musaceae family, Heliconia caribaea is a large grass that is typical of the Lesser Antilles tropical rainforest. A member of the same family as the banana trees, the plant can grow up to 5m high. Its inflorescence resembles a red ear or red ear with yellow trim, sometimes entirely yellow. Its flowers are visible all year round, especially between April and June.
Nautilocalyx melittifolius is a member of the Gesneriaceae family. It is a small, pink-purple coloured flower.
Mapou baril (Sterculia caribea) is endemic to the Lesser Antilles. Depending on the age of the plant, its leaves can differ in size. Its flowers appear in the form of a bunch of small yellow and pink bells. It produces quite distinctive fruits that cluster together generally in groups of four or five. They are lined with urticating bristles on the inside.
A short break
A nice spot for a break with a view of the Grande Rivière de Vieux-Habitants.
Psychotria uliginosa is a member of the Rubiaceae family. It is a rather rare plant in Guadeloupe, but can be seen in Basse Terre at Grand Etang or at Monts Caraïbes.
A member of the Musaceae family, banana trees are in fact giant plants, sometimes growing to around ten metres tall. It has no trunk as such, but overlapping leaves that keep it upright. It is similar to giant leek plants. It is a perennial plant with large leaves that are made up of 80% water. The flowers first point towards the sky before spreading downwards. Banana cultivation is an integral part of the economy in Guadeloupe. Its leaves are used in local handicrafts, such as in hat making.
Vallée de Beaugendre
Opening on to Vallée de Beaugendre and Piton de Bouillante (1088 metres)
Refuge des Trois Crêtes
The Trois Crêtes bivouac (shelter) has room for around 10 people to sleep in the heart of the rainforest.
It is strongly recommended that you bring your floor mat or hammock (plus fasteners), because there are only wooden bunks available on site.
N.B. The shelters have no running water or electricity available. They are not supervised and do not include a cleaning service. Please leave them clean and tidy !
The main attraction : the breathtaking views ! Panoramic, 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks.
Hiking trail colour: yellow
Take the old paved road. It heads through the valley, right through the heart of the farms which are mostly no longer operational. Cross the small river and keep going. Follow signs for "Trois Crêtes", turning right. Then cross the ford, which is used for water catchment. On the opposite bank, take the trail heading right. At the junction, turn left towards "Three Peaks". The trail runs along the river. Follow the signs to not lose track. Go past the wooden stairs. The path branches off to the left before climbing up towards the Corossol ridge. Pay attention to the slopes. At the intersection, turn right to reach the shelter. When you reach the shelter, a few metres further on the trail the views can be magnificent on a clear day. You can spend the night at the shelter, or continue towards Piton de Bouillante or even rejoin the Merwart trail (routes will be available online later).
If not, turn around to return to the same route. You may also wish to pay a visit to La Grivelière house (see opening hours).
Another option is to come down from the ridge of the Vallée de Beaugendre (see info "Trois Crêtres from la Vallée de Beaugendre").
This route is hazardous when it is raining. Do not plan a hike if it has been raining the day before or if bad weather is forecast. If water levels are rising, do not try to cross the river. Wait until they return to normal.
Extra care should be taken in this natural environment, as Guadeloupe is prone to natural risks. For the benefit of all hikers, responsible behaviour is requested.
Please note : the parking and swimming areas are not supervised.
Headquarters of the National Park of Guadeloupe
Montéran, 97120 Saint-Claude
0590 41 55 55
The reception and shop are open to the public :
- Monday, Tuesday and Thursday : 8 am to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.
- Wednesday : from 8 am to 1 pm.
- Friday : 8 am to 12.30 pm.
Services : reception, shop, toilets, free parking. Building accessible to people with reduced mobility.
Localisation GPS : Lat: 16,01634 N - Lng: 61,70753 W.
Access and parking
GPS coordinates of the start point : Lat : 16,07271 N - Long : 61,72853 W.
At Vieux-Habitants, head for "La Grivelière" in Valley of La
Grande Rivière. Keep going until the end of Route RD27 and leave your car at La Grivelière parking area.
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