Summary: Sugarloaf Mountain is an attractive draw for DC dwellers as it is perhaps the closest mountain to the district. As such the more accessible scenic overlooks are often crowded (though still worth visiting). So, if you want to avoid the crowds, just pack a lunch and take the blue-blazed Northern Peaks trail to the White Rock overlook. This traill will afford you the opportunity to see some of the more remote and less traveled areas of the mountain and enjoy some equally stunning vantange points.
Being a monadnock (a mountain exposed after surronding areas erode away) it is characterized by a considerable amount of exposed rock. Unlike many of the other mountains in the area, you will find mostly quartzite here, though the occasional metabasalt can also be found.
The trails are well maintained and the scenery is quite nice. You will enjoy the cover of large Oaks as well as the beautifal Mountain Laurel and abundant ferns, and soon a return of the American Chestnut.
Trailhead: Sugarloaf Mountain lies within Frederick County, on the southern border. The easiet way to get to the mountain is via route 109, either south from Interstate 270 or norther from Route 28. Route 109 will lead to Comus where you will head West on Comus Road. Comus Road will take you to the base of the mountain and the Stronghold entrance (Stronghold is the private corporation which owns the land). Upon reaching the Stronghold entrance (an odd meeting of five roads), bear right into the road marked as "Mountain Entrance". Follow road up mountain to West View parking area. Trail head will be just to left of covered pavillion, the trail is blue blazed. (Lat:39.26179 Lon:-77.39773)
Trail Guides for Sugarloaf Mountain: Northern Peaks Trail:
Sugarloaf Mountain Offical Web Site
by Stronghold Inc. (Stronghold Inc.)
PATC - Sugarloaf Mountain
by Andy Hiltz and Donn Ahearn (Potomac Appalachian Trail Club)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Stronghold, Inc. 301-874-2024
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Brian Talbert, who has posted 20 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by BLev on 9/4/2012
very nice hike. Would highly recommend wearing hiking shoes as opposed to sneakers. There is a lot of loose stone and even with proper shoes my ankles rolled a few times. Good elevation changes. Great scenery. Hike is challenging.
Reviewed by Annie D on 4/25/2011
First time hiking this trail yesterday and I totally loved it! The Northern Peaks trail was well maintained but no easy walk in the park. My group was with a first timer who was a bit out of exercise, so that part of the group verged off on the Yellow Trail when it intersected Blue (Northern Peaks) about two miles in while the rest of us proceeded up to the White Rock overlook. This worked out quite nicely, so keep it as an option if you or some of your group might be a bit overwhelmed.
Reviewed by Dave on 4/15/2011
I've hiked Sugarloaf many times, but Apr. 14th I came to a place on the Yellow blaze tr. heading clockwise after the intersection of the Blue & Purple Tr. intersection where the Yellow blaze (perhaps a quarter of a mile) beyond going down hill came to a double blaze (2 yellow dots) (looking at the map it's about where there's a Y4) and no more yellow blazes. So, where the double blazes were painted on the tree on the right, I took off on a clear path to the right and no more yellow blazes?? After an hour and a half bushwacking, crossed the yellow blazed trail. I'm 81 yrs. old, have hiked more trails in CO, NM, AZ, PA, VA to mention a few than 95% of US citizens and was stymied Thursday?? I really don't expect a reply to my quand
Reviewed by UK on 3/5/2011
It is a pleasant hike and one has the options of choosing a very short and steep hike or a minimally inclined and long hike with few steep sections. The trails are very well maintained and the area has a very well defined trail map at various parking spots. Its always good to carry one with you. Our hike started at 7 am and the place was very foggy. It was a beautiful hike. The gates at the main entrance were still closed so we had to walk about a mile to get to the east parking lot. Overall a good one time hike if you would want to avoid the monotony of hiking without much elevation gain.
Reviewed by JR on 10/10/2010
Stinkbug heaven. Keep your car closed or risk an invasion. Nice hike.
Reviewed by GDB on 7/30/2010
This is a nice hike with a fair number of twists and turns and small altitude changes. The scenery is very good and changes quite a bit. I got a kick out of the sign saying a bear cub was sighted and that any additional sightings should be reported. A word of warning, a lot of this trail is loose stone varying from 1" to 8" which can beat up your feet if you're wearing wearing a less than stiff sole, try to wear hiking boots or similar.
Reviewed by JL on 7/20/2009
Very nice loop hike with excellent view, nice breezes, and good shade. Decent amount of trail traffic saw another group every 5 minutes or so. Look forward to doing it again in another season.
Reviewed by Blonde on 5/29/2008
Beautiful area! Found the hike easy. Followed the blue trail. We were confused at the end and ended up walking out of our way(about 5 miles)(make sure you have a map) Wildlife included: hawks, squirrel, ground hog, female cardinal, and a rattle snake. Well maintained trail. Didn't see any poison ivy. No trash anywhere! Would like to come back and hike in the winter when the leaves fall so can see more of the view. Hmmm...maybe would also like to see in the fall.
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