Gorda Peak National Park
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
The highest point on Virgin Gorda at 1,370ft; Gorda Peak is located on the northwestern ridge, south of North Sound and north of Soldier Bay. Donated by Laurance Rockefeller in 1974, Gorda Peak is one of the last remaining examples of Caribbean dry forest in the region, which makes it a high priority for conservation internationally.
Research conducted by the National Parks Trust through the United Kingdom-based fund, the Darwin Initiative revealed regionally restricted and endangered plant species, including Calyptranthes thomasiana and Zanthoxylum thomasiana, both of which are on the US Federal Endangered Species List. Gorda Peak is also home to the world’s smallest lizard, the endemic Virgin Gorda gecko (Sphaerodactylus parthenopion).
Low rainfall in this location is accompanied by the constant drying effect of the prevailing winds, creating a forest canopy that is lower and more open. The variety of vegetation types found within the Park varies with the elevation, from a dry scrub forest to a moister forest at higher elevations, including species such as Cocoloba microstachya and Tetrazygia angustifolia.
Following trails that lead to the lookout tower at the Peak, hikers are rewarded with a panoramic view of the BVI, particularly the popular anchorage at North Sound. On a clear day Anegada is visible on the horizon to the northeast. A picnic site is located at the junction of the east and west trails.
Area: 260 acres