A trip to one of St. Thomas’ most famous landmarks, 99 Steps, is a work out that will get your heart pumping and your quads sore! The entrance to 99 Steps is located between Hotel 1829 and Government House. We don’t know why they’re called “99 Steps,” because there’s actually 103 steps.
The staircase, made of ballast bricks brought to the islands from Danish ships, was constructed to connect parts of the town. Rumor has it that when the Danish engineers designed the staircase, they hadn’t visited the island and were not aware of its steep and hilly topography, and their goal was to create a “grid system” to connect different parts of the city. As it turned out, it created an excellent look out point for pirates–namely, BlackBeard.
The staircase, which is very uneven, leads you high atop the harbor to the remains of an old tower stand. That tower was said to be used by Blackbeard as a lookout, and today, its part of the Inn at Blackbeard’s Castle and Blackbeard’s Castle itself, which is a national landmark. Today, the castle is home to the largest collection of life sized pirates, all crafted from bronze and copper.
On your way up the stairs, you’ll find more than a dozen stunning local flora that will definitely take your mind off the climb. And the view from the top? Incredible! It absolutely makes the climb worth it! It’s a touristy thing to do for a reason–99 Steps are awesome!