Little Jamaica’s spoiled beauty

When you reach the parking area, it’s a short hike down to the spring pool along the waterfalls and to the area known as Little Jamaica along the Virgin River. The path is easy but it can be slippery because of the streams that have been running through the area for a long time. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

In an area under the Interstate15 bridge, in the middle of the desert, lives an oasis on the river locals have named “Little Jamaica.”

Where the Virgin River runs through Beaver Dam and Desert Springs, Arizona, there lies a popular swimming spot where friends and family have gathered for years to get some relief from the heat of the Mohave summers.

The waters just under the highway bridge are usually crystal clear and icy cold from the icy mountain springs that feed into it from two different spots, one on either side of the bridge. The river’s waters can easily run wild and murky after a rain anywhere in the area or over the mountains.

Little Jamaica is filled with dense and vibrant foliage that allows only enough space between the brush for a foot path that runs down and along a waterfall that empties one mountain stream into the river on the west side of the I-15 bridge, right into about a three to five-foot-deep swimming hole. With the lush, green surroundings it resembles a tropical paradise; something very rare and beautiful in the desert.

Over the years more and more locals and non-locals have begun frequenting the area and leaving behind all their trace evidence. Around the make-shift parking area, along the foot-path leading to the falls, all around the small slice of paradise in the desert, the beauty is spoiled.

The make-shift parking area around Little Jamaica and the path to the river is littered with discarded clothing, plastic bottles and bags, beer packaging, broken bottles and even shattered automotive glass; and it’s getting worse every day. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The area is littered with discarded clothing, plastic bottles and bags, beer packaging, broken bottles and even shattered automotive glass; and it’s getting worse every day.

The issue of trash is not new, in the summer of 2016 Rotary members and the Beaver Dam Interactive Club members were just completing the Beaver Dam Jr./Sr. High School Beautification project when they found they had some spare time on their hands. Given a choice of what they wanted to do for the remainder of their excessively hot Saturday afternoon, they decided they wanted to clean up Little Jamaica.

In a previous article in the MLN, Linda Gault stated, “They hauled out at 8-10 big black trash bags full of garbage that people had left.”

The pool itself is nice. However, getting down to it is gross and the surroundings are just disgusting. There is garbage everywhere including beer cans, glass bottles and everything else you could imagine. The path is kind of difficult to get down to the pool, and you walk past filth everywhere, and it doesn’t just look dirty, it smells dirty.”

Some public education and another community clean-up project may be needed sometime soon.


  1. Cindy J Banks says:

    Thank you, neighbors, St George News told a story about LIttle Jamaica about three years ago. They showed video which looked great. I am so there are so many dirty selfish people around, but you folks make up for it. I hope to get down there one day, but no one has told me how to get there.

  2. Christina faught says:

    I’m glad someone is addressing this issue I’ve been here for over 20 years now and it has never been as bad as it is now me and my family pack out trash every trip we make to little Jamaica people are ruining it not only the pool and track to it but the river below it is trashed its not hard to pack out what you packed in people it will be gone if it continues

  3. Marinka Green says:

    People who visit the area and don’t pick up after themselves have no respect for anything. They are taking advantage of one of the few places that offer some refuge from the hot desert summer. It doesn’t really take that much time to pick up after oneself. So please be respectful of the area so people can continue to enjoy it for years to come.

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