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The traditional Blue Mountain trek is the 7 mile hike to the peak with an increase in altitude of 3000 ft. Jamaicans prefer to reach the peak at sunrise so the 3-4 hour hike is usually undertaken in darkness. The unfolding dawn is very beautiful and on clear mornings, expansive views capture both the north and south coasts. It is well worth the effort although the garbage and graffiti on the little cabins at the top are a disappointment. On leaving the cleared mountaintop, the return trip reveals the botanical richness of the mountain. The trail passes through an elfin forest of stunted soapwood and rodwood trees, their low canopy resulting from extreme climatic conditions. Gradually, the cloud forest takes over with its dense, shaded undergrowth of mosses, lichens, ferns, lianas and lesser trees and gives way to primeval tree ferns, bamboos and shrubs that peter out at the forest line above Whitfield Hall.