Taking the Trail
The Bermuda Railway Trail provides a look at Bermuda that you cannot find any other way. From the wild vistas of the North Atlantic on Ferry Point in the east, to the verdant tree tunnels along the ridge of the island in Paget and Warwick, to superb views of the Great Sound from the Trail in Somerset, the Railway Trail shows sides of Bermuda you might otherwise miss.
The linear park runs from one end of Bermuda to the other, apart from the city of Hamilton, where 70 years of development have obliterated all trace of the railway. Out in the countryside the Trail provides options for walkers, cyclists, even roller bladers and, thanks to various signs and plaques, provides a glimpse of Bermuda’s history as well as today’s scenery.
You could walk the full 20 miles or so in a day, though I never have, but probably you will want to break your journey into more manageable pieces. You probably do not want to take the Trail at night, since it may not be fully lit.
You can get to the various Trail entry and exit points using Bermuda’s excellent bus service. Get route and schedule information from the Bermuda government website.
Visitors cannot rent cars in Bermuda, so you won’t be looking for a parking lot near the Trail. If you have rented a scooter, which visitors can do, there is always somewhere you can lock it before beginning your walk. I would recommend taking the bus, though, so you won’t have to walk back to where you started.
Guided walking tours of the Trail may be available from private companies, although the only ones I could find are from Fantasea Diving & Water Sports. (They get good ratings, but I have never used their services, so please don’t take this as an endorsement.)
See the Trail FAQ to learn more about the Trail, including what attractions are nearby, where you may find restaurants along your route, where to look for toilets, and safety considerations.
The Trail divides naturally into two geographical sections, east and west of Hamilton, and then into a number of subsections. Government tourist guides divide the Trail into eight or nine sections, and my Trail Photo Tour presents the Trail in more or less the same way.
Going from East to West:
St. George’s to Oil Docks takes you from the old capital up to the Atlantic shore on Ferry Point. The old right-of-way through the Oil Docks area is closed to the public, so from the fence you will have to retrace your steps to continue along Ferry Road.
Oil Docks to Ferry Point continues along the railway route west of the Oil Docks. You will pass the ruins of Astor´s Halt, where Vincent Astor’s private narrow-gauge railway met the Bermuda Railway, and end up at Ferry Point Park, with its Martello Tower and a view of the bridge piers where the railway swing bridge crossed Ferry Reach.
Coney Island to Flatts takes you past Bailey’s Bay, where railway passengers disembarked to visit the nearby Crystal Caves and, across the new footbridge, on to Flatts, where you can find the Bermuda Aquarium (BAMZ).
Flatts to Palmetto Park. The Trail now climbs up a bit higher, and across the water you can see Dockyard away in the distance at other end of the island. At Palmetto Park the Trail stops, and you can either continue on foot along the roads that follow old railway route, or take a bus into the capital.
Hamilton no longer has any remnants of the railway, but you can either bypass the city, on a route suggested in government guidebooks, or follow the line of where the railway used to go. Hamilton is a good place to begin, end or break your walk if you are looking for lunch or a rest.
Rural Hill to Khyber Pass takes the Trail west of Hamilton, though you have to walk east along Front Street and Crow Lane to get to it. At Rural Hill you will go under South Road through the one remaining Bermuda Railway tunnel. This section of the Trail is surrounded by lush vegetation.
From Khyber Pass to Frank’s Bay you will begin to see views of the Little Sound and pass close below the Lighthouse at Gibb’s Hill. At Frank’s Bay the Trail follows alongside or close to Middle Road for a mile or so.
Most of the Frank’s Bay to Somerset Bridge section is paved after Evan’s Bay, so it is a good choice for cyclists. As you descend the steps close to Somerset Bridge you will see the remaining Bermuda Railway bridge piers in the water.
Somerset Bridge to Somerset Station is the final section, and it too is paved. You will pass below Fort Scaur, see vistas across the Great Sound, and finally arrive at the end of the Trail in Somerset Village.