Thursday, August 7, 2014

Trails to see American Samoa NP’s wonders

Beachwalk on white sands of Ofu Island. Photo courtesy of American
Samoa NPS.
Among the best ways to see American Samoa National Park’s top sights is via a day hike. Just four short trails will allow you to enjoy each of the park’s highlights – coral reefs, white sand beaches, rainforests, and volcanic mountains.

Coral reefs
Seeing the colorful and exotic coral reefs up close requires scuba diving, but day hikers can obtain a unique and impressive view of them from above via the Tuma Mountain Trail. The 5.5-mile round trip heads to an outcropping that offers a vista featuring the coral lagoons as well as three islands.

White sand beaches
Among the most romantic of locations in the park, beachwalking is allowed on the white sands of Ofu Island between Va‘ota and the Asaga Strait. The beach stretches about 2.5 miles one-way.

Rainforests
Thanks to being located in the South Pacific, a tropical rainforest blankets the land portions of the national park. The Tuafanua Trail heads 2.2-miles round trip through a lush forest to a hidden coastline.

Volcanic mountains
American Samoa formed the ocean millions of ago thanks to volcanic activity. The Mount ‘Alava Adventure Trail, a 5.6-mile loop, heads up steps with ropes (for balnace) to the summit of one basalt peak, Mount ‘Alava. This trail is challening, and any children hiking with you should be teens who are in shape.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks guidebook.