Above it all: Hiking to Virgin Gorda's highest point
At 1,375 feet above sea level, Gorda Peak is a moderately easy hike with a seriously picturesque reward at the end. The hike takes about 30 minutes each way, assuming you start at the upper parking area on North Sound Road. (By parking area, I mean the narrow strip of asphalt between the actual road and the mountain where no sane human would ever park. Yet, somehow, you will.) Once you reach the top, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the entire region, most notably the anchorage at North Sound. And if you have excellent eyesight, you might even see Richard Branson over on his private island, sipping a mojito. Half of the hike is, of course, uphill, so bring good shoes and watch your step. Tree roots and loose natural debris are scattered along the trail. Our little posse of nine included a 5-year old, and he was able to make the climb without complaint, albeit a bit more slowly than the rest. There's a picnic table about halfway up, and a slightly precarious (yet perfectly safe) wooden lookout tower at the summit that enables hikers to gain that last bit of necessary elevation to peek over the tree line.