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Sugarloaf Mountain, MD

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
6.8 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
3.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,265 ft
Stronghold Incorporated
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e.g. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Enter Sugarloaf Mountain through the main gates. Park at the East View parking area, which is 3/4 of the way up Sugarloaf Mountain. You can also park at the West View parking area to take the easier Green Trail, instead of the Orange Trail. 39.2605, -77.3903
Note: The park opens at 8:00a.m.

Sugarloaf Mountain is the prominence visible in the piedmont as it rises out of the plains southeast of Frederick MD. The mountain and trails are maintained by Stronghold, Inc. a non-profit setup by Louise and Gordon Strong in 1946 to preserve the mountain so it could be enjoyed by everyone. The mountain has many wonderful hiking trails that can be combined to create many different loops. The hike we have here is a 6.8 mile variation of the blue Northern Peak Trail loop.

From the East View parking area, start the hike up the orange blazed trail as it steeply ascends the mountain for 0.3 miles and ends at the red blazed trail (if you don't want to make the hike up the steep orange blazed trail, park a the West View parking area and take the green trail to the summit, where it turns in to the red trail).

At the red trail intersection at the end of the orange trail turn left for 100 yards to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, and views to the south. Return down the red trail, passing the orange trail you ascended, for 0.3 miles where it ends at the intersection of the blue Northern Peak Trail and McCormack Overlook.

From this point turn right and follow the blue trail. The blue trail will meet the white blazed trail in 0.1 mile where it turns left and becomes the blue/white trail. In 0.1 miles the white trail turns left, and the blue right. Turn right continuing to follow the blue blazed trail. The Stronghold, Inc. trail map is also marked with location signage. The marker on the blue trail will be 'B2', use these to help navigate the loop.

The next intersection will be with the yellow and purple trails. Remain on the blue trail towards White Rocks. 1.2 miles from this intersection arrive at White Rocks. There are 2 overlooks here.

Continue on the blue blazed loop as it descends the mountain and turns left on a mountain road in another 0.8 miles, then makes a quick right, and turns off the road to the left back into the forest. The blue trail will now climb for 0.9 miles to the junction of the white loop trail. Turn right on the blue/white trail for 0.4 mile at which point the white trail splits off to the right. Remain straight uphill for another 150 yards to the West View parking area.

From this point hike down the road for 150 yards and at the hairpin turn remain straight on the one-way section. Follow the road the remaining 0.3 miles to the hike start point and East View parking area.
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Hiker Reviews For The Sugarloaf Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: naley819 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 08, 2015
We hiked the Blue loop (5miles) to White Rocks for fantastic valley views. The beginning and end of the trail was still snow covered and icy but the trail edges provided enough traction for allow passing. As a beginner, I found this hike moderate to difficult at times and was able to complete in 3 hours. Great Rhododendron and quartz outcroppings! I will come back in the spring when things are in bloom.

By: 8 Feet & 4 Paws Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2014
We parked at the bottom of the mountain and took the white trail up the hill. Found the orange path by some parking lot. The orange path is a fun ascent that is steeper than expected, but we all enjoyed it. The dog thought it was difficult and he needed a lot of rest at the overlook to prepare for the rest of our hike. We were happy to have the 2-year-old in the backpack for this orange trail. We took the green trail back down, which was less then enjoyable with the steps - prefer natural terrain. Green trail took us to a picnic area/parking area and had to search a bit for the white/blue trail. Took the White traiil back to the parking lot we parked at the bottom. This was a nice hike, but way too many people. We all prefer more solitude on hikes and the trails were very busy. Didn't get to enjoy the overviews with the number of people at the summit.

By: Aaron Knowlson Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 03, 2014
We took the white trail out of the parking lot, then the orange to the summit. Then we made our way to the blue trail and looped around the park via the yellow trail. Overall, a very nice hike with some nice views at the summit and some of the parking lot overlooks. The summit also has great rocks for sitting and eating snacks just wish the landscape was a little more visible!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 02, 2014
Headed out to Sugarloaf to check it out and see what it's all about. Followed the prescribed hike and had a great time. We took our time and enjoyed the White Rocks overlooks. Finished in 3 hours. There are definitely some challenging sections. The orange section at the very beginning is very steep and i think a lot of the trail has been eroded from foot traffic and rain. Overall a very enjoyable hike that offers a little bit of everything. I'd like to go back and do this in the fall.

By: AA Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 09, 2014
First time. Loved it. Got there right after 8 on a moderately chilly day to beat the crowds. Was the first one up to the parking area. Took the Orange Trail up to the summit. It is moderately steep and would be a challenge for elderly people and for those who are really out of shape. Then I took the Green Trail (which I didn't like because it has stairs where it descends) to the Blue Trial. Then I took the Blue Trial north and then west all the way to White Rocks. Although it's not that big of a challenge for people in shape, it's pretty good exercise. I am a 6'2," 205-lb. athletically built 36-year-old man and I got a serious Charley horse later that day when I was napping. The view from White Rocks is pretty. It overlooks farmland to the west. Then I went south on the Blue Trial to the White Trial, which takes you east and then south back to the east parking lot. Including the Orange Trial, it's probably the best and most taxing route on this little mountain. It's about 7 miles in total. I completed it in 4.25 hours, which is not that fast but it was my first time and I was taking everything in and going off the trail some (including to urinate). The parking lot was full when I got back and I started seeing a lot of people when I got on the White and White/Blue Trails heading south toward the parking lot, so be sure to get there early. Great time and plan to do it again one day.

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