There is a perfect place 45 minutes from St. George for those who can’t decide on relaxing by a pool or going to the river.
“Little Jamaica” is located near Littlefield and Desert Springs, Ariz. There, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. “Little Jamaica” is the nickname of a mountain spring that leads into a manmade pool.
Upon reaching the parking area for the hidden resort, it’s a short five to 10-minute hike down to the spring waterfall pool and Virgin River. The path isn’t much of a hike, but it can be slippery because of the streams that have been running through the area for so long.
Little Jamaica can be a fun place for families as the pool does not exceed more than 5 feet. The river’s current is strong, though, so be wary of little kids playing in the river.
As you start on the path that leads down to the water, you can hear the clear, rushing waters as the natural waterfall spills into the pool surrounded by boulders and sandbags that locals have placed to finish the pool.
“It was an adventure,” said Derrick Shelley, a sophomore elementary education major from St. George. “You drive into the desert and climb down a waterfall. What more could you want?”
The water is cool to the touch as you trudge across the little stream that leads down into the pool.
“The water was crystal clear,” said Breyden Nisson, a junior elementary education major from St. George. “It would be fun to play Marco Polo there.”
Upon reaching the bottom, there is some sand along the river banks to place any items that you may have brought with you. During rainy weather, the sand may not be there because of the height of the river, though, so travel light.
The river is muddy, thanks to the amount of sand and dirt that fill the unviewable bottom. The river has a strong current and can be as deep as 2 feet in some areas.
It is possible to hike down barefoot, but it’s not recommended. Hikers can make the trip with simple flip-flops or shoes they don’t mind getting wet, but be cautious, as it is slippery once you get to the water.
To get to Little Jamaica, drive south through the Virgin River Gorge and take Desert Springs Exit 9 in Arizona. Then, take a right off the freeway exit and an immediate left. Next, go under the overpass and take a right onto a dirt road and find one of three paths that lead to the parking area. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, feel free to go straight. If not, test out the second or third paths.
From this point, go through the break in the gate toward the west and follow the path until you can see and hear the water. Follow the water until you find the pool.
To take a four-wheel drive vehicle down by the river, follow Fleet Street around until it becomes Anderson Lane. Take the next left and find a dirt road on your right that should take you down by the river.
“I think it would be cool to take a big truck down there next time,” Shelley said. “That way, you wouldn’t have to carry everything down there.”
When the river is low enough, it is possible to take a truck down onto the sand. This would be nice so you could bring heavier items such as a barbecue.
As always, don’t forget to bring some water.