Exploring nature is one of the best things to do in Montego Bay. The southern hinterland of the Tryall estate covers more than 1,000 acres. Comprised of forests, ridgelines, buffs, cliffs and streams, it is an undisturbed natural paradise indicative of the incomparable fauna of the island.
There are a number of ways to explore, discover and be inspired by this spectacular environment. Some you can enjoy at your own pace whereas others are escorted by our resident Environment and Conservation Manager, Karen Sharpe-Williams whose knowledge of Jamaica’s flora and fauna is beyond compare.
Forest Hiking Trail
Extending for about two and a half miles, this is a moderate Class 4 walking trail that will take you into the forests where gaps in the overhead canopy reveal spectacular views of plant species that are rarely seen in this part of Jamaica. As you follow the trail, you will experience close contact with rare and endemic flora like the red birch, silk cotton tree, the magnificent bamboo brakes and mighty guango trees. There are also flowering plants such as orchids – including the monk orchid, blooming bromeliads and various wild flowers. Also expect to see several species of lizards, butterflies, hermit crabs and be surrounded by the symphonic chorus of birdsong. A longer trail is also available for those who enjoy more strenuous hiking. This will take you deeper into the hills before descending to the Flint River with its gin clear cooling waters.
You may follow the trail alone or ask our resident environmentalists to accompany you.
Running for over two miles north to south, the early 18th century aqueduct carried – and still does – water to Tryall from a natural source at a dam on the Flint River high in the south hills. The aqueduct also sends down water to turn the massive waterwheel. For those who relish soft adventure and search for new experiences, we offer a guided tour walking the aqueduct to the source. This is a moderate to strenuous walk but the rewards are well worth it. As you ascend, you pass through dense bamboo forests that creak and moan like the timbers on an ocean-going frigate; these open into verdant valleys and forest punctuated by freshwater pools that cool and refresh. For ornithologists, this is a walk that affords the opportunity to spot and listen to many of the birds to be found at Tryall.
This tour is upon request and can be arranged at a time to suit you.
Tryall is classified as being part of Jamaica’s National Heritage; this one to two hour escorted tour will take you to the many notable structures that date from the time when Tryall was a working pen and plantation. You will see the Great House, the waterwheel which is the oldest still functioning waterwheel in Jamaica, remains of the boiling house and the 17th century Tryall Fort constructed by Oliver Cromwell.
Jamaica’s avifauna is one of the most distinctive in the world. Jamaica has more readily found endemics than any other Caribbean country and one of the highest totals in the world.
At Tryall there are four different habitats – woodlands, pond, riparian and grassland. Each affords the bird spotter a unique experience with the opportunity to see some 60 species.
The Jamaican names for our birds are inspiring and speak to our heritage. The Doctor Bird – national bird of Jamaica – is so named because the long tails resemble the frocks once worn by English doctors. The Big Tom Fool (Rufus-tailed flycatcher) is named for its habit of perching at the end of a low branch, taking a short flight to capture some passing insect and returning to the identical spot to swallow it. Other quirky names are Old Man Bird (Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo), Auntie Katie (Jamaican Oriole), the Duppy Bird (common Ground-Dove) and the beautiful Rasta Bird (Jamaican Tody). Others such as the Jamaican Euphonia fail to live up to their name as its call sounds instead like a car trying to start.
We offer a one and a half hour guided tour which can be booked at a time to suit you.