Ride through Barkers National Park with ATV Cayman

couple on atv ride on beach
by Toni Keesee

Barkers National Park, located at the north end of West Bay, is a beautiful area that consists of 277 acres of natural island landscape. I’ve driven a car through the park and taken a horseback ride into the park, but I’ve never seen so much of it as we did when riding four wheelers through the protected lands with ATV Cayman.

four wheeler riders on island back road

The park is full of incredible mangroves (which are the island's natural defense against storm surges and play an irreplaceable role in the ecosystem). In addition to the mangroves there are hidden ponds, tranquil ocean views, and unique plants and organisms throughout the habitat.

With ATV Cayman we saw it all, and got a great education at stops along the way. I’ve only rode a 4-wheeler a few times in my life, but the crew with ATV Cayman gave our group some 101 and a practice run to make sure everyone was comfortable with their new ride before we headed out.

We zigged and zagged the gravel roads that wind through the mangroves before making our first stop at Palmetto Pond. When dried out the white bark of dead tree branches and stumps at the bottom of the pond look something like huge bones or tusks on the muddy bottom, earning it the nickname of Elephant Graveyard from the ATV team.

sun rays shining on road between mangroves

We continued on with glorious beating sun on our faces and the salty island breeze keeping us cool. We made our way through maze after maze of backroads between the mangroves and then finally reached the sea at the very tippy top of the island. Here we looked out to a tiny islet called Vital Cay. Our tour guide told us that we could swim around it, fish around it, even jet ski around it, but that no one was allowed to actually step foot on it. It’s crown owned and if caught standing on the islet one would be arrested. It was pretty fascinating to see such a tiny forbidden piece of land peeking out of the ocean.

tropical view of trees and ocean

We rode back through a tropical trail that nothing larger than our atvs could fit through. This was my favorite part. It was shady, the flora was beautiful and I felt like we were on a secret path. We were most definitely off the beaten path! We later emerged on the beach and road along undeveloped beach land with amazing views of the ocean. We stopped for some time on the beach to soak up the serenity.

walking trail to sea pond


On our way back to our starting point we got to see Sea Pond. We parked our rides and followed our guide on a walking trail until we saw the pond come into view. It was very peaceful and a nice surprise. I had no idea it was back there.

After successful exploration we got a chance to rev up our engines on a straight stretch back. Of course you got to speed up to your comfort level and ride at your own risk. I joked that I would go medium fast, and medium fast I went. The team calls this the “joy ride” and that it was. I giggled as I rode along avoiding the bumps in the road and feeling the wind pick up as my speed picked up.

If you enjoy getting out in nature, feeling the wind on your face and seeing hidden nooks of a place then you will love this tour. Give ATV Cayman a shout and set up a ride for your next trip. Stay safe and have fun!