Juniper HoleMiddle Caicos
Juniper Hole is a large open-faced ocean cave on the northwestern point of Middle Caicos. This feature is one of the largest sea caves in the Turks and Caicos, and is a highly scenic area.
The coastal region near Juniper Hole is quite majestic, and hides secluded beaches, coastal cliffs, and many small caves. When the ocean swell is high, impressive waves can be seen breaking off the coast.
Juniper Hole is mentioned on many maps and charts of Middle Caicos, yet this fact is largely due to it being an ocean navigational point, rather than being a settlement or anything else of importance. The area is quite remote, and there are no roads to Juniper Hole, or any development in the region.
Getting To Juniper Hole
Juniper Hole is quite remote, and the only way to get to the site is to hike to it on the Crossing Place Trail. The Crossing Place Trail was a traditional route that connected Middle Caicos and North Caicos, with wading points between the channels dividing Middle Caicos, Well Cay, Conch Cay, and North Caicos.
The trail was used for centuries, yet gradually saw less and less use into the 1900s, and now only the eastern Middle Caicos portion of this route is occasionally visited as a scenic hiking attraction. Some of the exquisite features on the trail include the open beach cave at Mudjin Harbour, Dragon Cay, and the Blowing Hole, which is a hole in the limestone coast that’s connected to the ocean by a short underwater passage.
Another fascinating feature that can be seen at Juniper Hole are limestone ironshore formations.
Ironshore is the local name for an intricate and weathered type of coastal limestone rock, which exhibits extravagant and almost cartoonish spikes and the ironshore near Juniper Hole is some of the most distinct in the country, with spikes that can be almost 3 feet (1 m) high.
Juniper Hole and the Crossing Place Trail are quite remote, and there are many hazards and dangers to be aware of.
The terrain surrounding Juniper Hole and the Crossing Place Trail hides countless small sinkholes and pits, many of which are hidden in the low vegetation. When venturing into the area, it’s best to stay on the trail.
Three skylight holes are found at the crest of the bluff over Juniper Hole, with a dangerous drop to the water 40 feet (12 m) below. It’s possible to come across these holes abruptly when hiking, so be aware and exercise caution.
The marine limestone in the Turks and Caicos can appear rugged and robust, yet it’s often quite soft, and will fracture easily. Do not attempt rock climbing.
Another consideration is coral sumac, a poisonous type of tree that can cause severe blisters and skin conditions when touched. Coral sumac is very common in the area, and should be avoided. See Poisonous Plants, Insects, and Animals for more information and identification hints.
During rainy periods, mosquitoes can be quite bad near Juniper Hole due to seasonal brackish ponds found in the area. See Mosquitoes in the Turks and Caicos.
How Was Juniper Hole Formed?
Juniper Hole is a Karst Process cave, and likely began as a dry flank margin cave system, when ocean levels were lower than they are today. Initially, the cave probably didn’t have a natural opening, but was rather broken into by the elements or ocean after it was formed.
Evidence of dry cave features can still be seen at Juniper Hole and at many other locations on the Mudjin Harbour and Crossing Place Trail coastline. In most cases, these are columns, stalactites, or stalagmites, often with heavy overprinting by the action of the ocean and elements.
Middle Caicos is home to amazing geology, and some impressive Karst cave features, including Conch Bar Caves, the largest dry cave system in the Bahamas–Turks and Caicos archipelago, and the Middle Caicos Ocean Hole, which is likely the widest blue hole on Earth.