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Hikes on Guam: The Tarague Beach Trail

Basic Information

  • What: Tarague Beach Trail
  • Where: Guam, USA
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Elevation gain: None
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • More Information:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Topographic Map of the Hike

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Narrative

Another hike I completed from the guidebook “The Best Tracks on Guam: A Guide to the Hiking Trails“ was the one for Tarague Beach on the extreme northern part of the island.  Like other popular hikes described in the guidebook this one also requires access to US military property since it is located on Andersen AFB.  After having experienced Tarague Beach, the US Air Force should feel lucky to have such a beautiful part of the island as part of their base because it is stunning.  The beach is easy to find by following the “beaches” signs at the first traffic circle when you enter the base.  Eventually the “beaches” signs will lead you to an area known as “Sanders Slope” which is a road that has been built down the 500 foot cliff overlooking Tarague Beach:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The views from Sanders Slope of the Tarague area down below is stunning:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Here is a panorama I took of the view:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Once at the bottom of the cliff, the road comes to a T-intersection where a right leads to a shooting range and a left leads to Tarague Beach.  At Tarague Beach there is a large parking lot below the cliffs:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The Tarague Beach recreation area I found to be quite nice.  There are a number of picnic benches, camp sites, and even a club called Bamboo Willies:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The beach itself is composed of white sand:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Here is a view of the beach after I waded out into the water:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Swimming is allowed at the beach within a buoyed area.  This is because the northern part of the island is notorious for very strong currents and waves that have proven before to be fatal to include here on Tarague Beach. However, I did not come to Tarague to swim, I came to check out its hiking trail. The trailhead for the hike is located on the far eastern end of the parking lot.  It is very easy to spot since it is marked by this Pati Point Preserve sign:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Behind this large sign is another sign with a map of the trail:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Here is a closer look at the sign:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

From the trailhead the trail descends into the surrounding jungle:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

After a short walk through the jungle I found myself walking on the beach:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Something to note is that all the beaches on this hike are off limits for swimming due to the currents:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The swimming would not be very good anyway because of all the rocks protruding out of the water:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Besides seeing a lot of sand and rocks I also saw a lot of coconuts:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

It was pretty cool though to see how new coconut trees grow on the beaches of Guam:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

However, there was unfortunately more garbage washed up on some sections of the beach then there were coconuts:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Fortunately ost of the beaches along this hike are spotless and quite beautiful.  What else I was surprised by was that I saw no one else on this trail during my hike.  My only company on the trail this day were the crustaceans and crabs I saw walking along the beach during my hike:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Most of the hike though passes through the thick jungle where the pandanus tree was commonly seen:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

I am not a big fan of this tree since its leaves have sharp edges on them that can scratch exposed skin:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The other main tree that can be seen on this trail is of course a lot of coconut trees:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The trees are filled with coconuts which explains why Tarague many decades ago used to be a plantation for this fruit:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Another tree that was interesting to learn about was the nonak tree:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The trail has this sign that explains the importance of this tree that is native to Guam:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Here is a closer look at the wood of this tree that is supposedly great for fires:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Something else I saw a lot of as I continued down the trail was an incredible amount of butterflies:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The high number of butterflies I see in the jungles of Guam I think can be attributed to the low number of birds on Guam due to the invasive brown tree snake that has killed them off.  Without the birds eating them the butterflies may be allowed to expand at high number.  That is my theory anyway.  Anyone know for sure?  As it is though the high number of butterflies is cool to see:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Something else I saw a lot of was spiders which it has been proven that they have greatly expanded due to the lack of birds on Guam:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Due to all the plants and trees the trail can be hard to follow at times due to the lack of foot traffic it receives:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

However, there are a few signs with arrows on them that can be spotted to help keep hikers on the trail:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Eventually the trail reaches an old dirt road:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The road ends at a large opening in the jungle which is where at first the Chamorro village of San Miguel Tarragul was located.  Later a coconut plantation was established here. The plantation is long gone and the location has been turned into a  camping area:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

At the clearing there is a sign that explains how Atkins Croll and Company came to Guam in 1914 to supply the US military.  In 1917 the company bought the 300 acre coconut plantation at Tarague.  The plantation lasted until 1930 before closing its doors for good:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

This would be an ideal place to live on Guam because of how beautiful scenery is at Tarague:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Today Tarague is a fairly quiet place that instead of being home to plantation workers is now over run with spiders:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

From the plantation clearing the trail descends back into the jungle and the spider webs I had to deal with were outrageous.  I have never been anywhere with this many spiders.  After fighting my way through the spider webs the trail returned back to the beach:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Once back on the beach I was welcomed with yet another sign warning to stay out of the water:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Walking along the beach it is actually hard to imagine that these waters are as dangerous as they are because the ocean looked so calm the day I hiked the trail:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

As I walked along the beach I ended up passing yet another picnic area:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Near this picnic area I noticed some concrete in the sand that I read in my guidebook was once where a pier was located that was used by the coconut plantations to load boats at:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

It was also on this section of the hike that I saw the shell beach:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

These rocks looked like petrified shells unlike another shell beach I have seen in Australia that really was made of shells.  As I continued up the beach it turned back into sand:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

The walk along the beach for me ended once I hit this danger sign warning of an explosive disposal range:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

There is also another sign declaring the beach closed because it is a wildlife management area:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

From here the trail leads up to this clearing where there is a road:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

I walked up the road passed this picnic area:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

After a short walk up the road I came to a locked gate:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

This caused me to have to turn around and walk back to the beach.  From the beach I then proceeded to walk back to the trailhead with the Tarague Beach picnic area located below the high cliff ahead of me:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

On the way back to the trailhead I decided just to stick with following the shoreline since I was so sick of dealing with spiders for one day.  As I walked along the shoreline I made sure to appreciate just how beautiful the waters of Guam are:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Guam just has some incredible aquamarine colored water:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

I found the walk back to the trailhead along the shore as being much nicer than the one I had through the jungle.  Here is a final panorama picture I took from my shoreline hike:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

After I reached the trailhead I packed up my stuff and then proceeded to drive back up Sanders Slope to the top of the cliff line.  From there I then followed the signs that lead to the Tarague Overlook.  At the overlook there is a large marker that explains the natural history of the Tarague area:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

However, it was the views that I came to the overlook to see which were incredibly beautiful.  The entire stretch of the jungles and beaches that compose the Tarague area can be seen from the overlook:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

Also from the overlook there is a view looking back towards the flightline on Andersen Air Force Base:

Picture from Tarague Beach, Guam

 Conclusion

Overall the Tarague Beach Trail made for a nice hike.  However, make sure to bring a walking stick of some kind to knock down the continuous spider webs that block the trail.  For anyone that has arachnophobia do not go on this hike and instead just follow the beach.  I don’t have arachnophobia and even I was sick of dealing with spiders after a while.  I covered 4-miles in 2.5 hours which made for a nice half day hike for those with access to Andersen AFB.  The Tarague area is so far the most scenic place I have seen on Guam.

Click here to find more hikes at the Guam Regional Trail Finder

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