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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)
Review the Sugarloaf Mountain hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 28, 2015
A great hike for those looking to expand their skills!  This path took us up rocky trails with scant markers (orange) and forced navigation skills to identify which direction to turn at crossings.  The blue trail was a challenging up/down trail with nice breaks as you hiked along ridges.  The views were fabulous!

I highly recommend hiking poles for those who are not in good hiking shape. 

It rained all day before our hike - so the rocks were slippery and some of the trails were streams!  But that is what GoreTex boots are for - Right?

By: Karl Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
4 stars for a great hike. Easy, no. Look at that profile again and the big dip and climb at the end. Whoa! The trail laid out here is a variation of the blue trail, or the Northern Peaks trail. I didn't do the variation, just the normal Blue Trail, a shorter 5 miles. I hadn't been hiking in a while and that was enough work for me. I liked the trail because there is a good percentage of "not-very-rocky" trail, about half, and the trail that is rocky isn't so bad. Some interesting views and plants. I see some complaints in the reviews of crowds. The shorter trails and highest peaks can be crowded on weekends, which is when most of the reviews are from. I went during the week and saw about 10 other hikers -- more than I expected for the relative remoteness of most of the Blue Trail. Shady during most of the hike. I'll do it again.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 07, 2015
This is my second time hiking at Sugarloaf and the trail was essentially the same compared to the same time last year. The orange assent trail leading to the summit may be slightly more washed out though. It was pretty crowded and there were several dogs on the trail, but everyone was picking up after themselves.

Took the blue blazed trail around again and added on the purple segment this time. I'd continue on the blue and leave the purple off if you want more of a work out.

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.

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Early June
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