An Adventure Packed Activity, which begins in the village of Bells, where the hike
down the awesome Layou River Gorge starts to arrive at the trail leading to the historical Jacko Steps.
These steps were carved into a mountain by the Maroons (escaped slaves) in the 1760s.
The Maroons used the steps to get to and from their hide outs in the mountains.
The trail begins with a steep climb up the Jacko steps and through the rainforest,finally descending back down into the Layou River.
The Jacko Steps were named after a Maroon bearing that name, local historian
Dr. Lennox Honychurch give an overview of the Jacko Steps and famous maroon
“The maroons of Jacko’s camp cut high steps out of the side of the cliff
The steps were designed in a way to give security to those above and to provide
control over those attempting to scale the cliff. The historian Thomas Atwood
describes these steps in his book of 11791.
Each step was high above the other, forcing people to pull themselves up at every stage.
When the pioneer planter A. Campbell bought the land in the 1980’s
He got workers to cut each step at a lower level for more easy access and he ran cables
through iron loops alongside for added safety.
The cables are gone but the steps may still be visited.
One of the most important maroon chiefs commanding camps of escaped slaves in
the center of the island during the period of slavery.
Born in Africa, Jacko (also written Jacco) escaped from Beaubois Estate (Castle
Comfort) soon after his transportation to Dominica in the late 1760’s.
He established himself and his followers on a plateau near the present day village of Bells.
He was the main strategist for much of the maroon activity in Dominica during the
Maroon wars of the 1780’s and 1810’s.
When Governor Ainslie launched his big offensive against the maroons in 1812.
Jacko’s camp was one of the main targets.
On 12 July 1814 ageing Jacko was surrounded and killed after a desperate resistance.
Reports at the time said that he had been in the forest ” for upward of forty years.”
Five leaders of his camp surrendered and the loss of Jacko’s leadership
Time: 4-5 hours
This activity involves river crossings and sometimes river hiking it should not be attempted by persons who are not strong swimmers or suffering from heart conditions, back or knee injuries.
Special conditions for booking this activity apply