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 2 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by EKM on 1/14/2008
Really nice hike. Basically, the trail (blazed blue) follows the ridge between several peaks, making for great views but also a lot of up and down. We were really feeling our legs afterwards! We hiked it clockwise, but next time might follow Chuck's advise and start with the red/green trail to the top of Sugarloaf and then the rest, though it wouldn't make for as stunning a finish.
Reviewed by bobbert on 11/12/2007
Nice hike, about three moderate hours...elevation gain is closer to 1300 feet, however.
Reviewed by George on 11/11/2007
This is probably one of the best hikes in the DC area. The hike itself is extremely easy and unfortunately short; it only took me about 30 minutes from the very bottom. What makes this a good hike is its convenience, as its not far from Washington DC. If you prefer to do real hiking or a long trip then you'll have to head out to the Shenandoah, otherwise if you want a easy hike in the DC area then Sugarloaf Mountain is perfect.
Reviewed by Chuck on 1/15/2007
A buddy and I hike this trail on January 14, 2007. I got some great photos from all the great views on the trail, I especially enjoyed White Rocks. Stronghold has done a great job of maintaining the markers and blue blazes. The only markers that caused a little bit of confusion were the 4X4 posts marked B1, B2, B3, etc. After a short while, we figured out what they were indicating. There are a total of 10 posts for the five mile loop, so each post indicates 1/2 mile traveled. We doubled back slightly at the end to climb the red trail and then down the green trail to the West View parking. If you are not use to walking up steep inclines, I would recommend that you start the hike on the green and red trail then complete the blue trail
Reviewed by Kyle Marlow on 11/12/2006
We hiked sugarloaf mountain on november 11th we loved the veiws but the maps were hard to read i reccomend the red trail the senic overlook is quite pleasent the only problem we had was going back to vigina we had to wait a while to go on whites ferry to get home but otherwise we had a wonderful hike but be carefull not to fall
Reviewed by AG on 11/3/2006
Nice hike, although make sure you read the map before you go, located at the trailhead. I ended up doing the loop twice due to bad signage at the last turnoff.
Reviewed by rr on 5/30/2006
We did the blue blaze and this hike is not for the faint of heart. We have recently begun hiking and had only hiked Trail A on the Billy Goat and wanted to try something new. Unlike the Billy Goat, endurance was key to this hike. It was a great hike and an even better workout! The views from White Rocks was amazing. Will definitely hike again but will be in better shape before I do so! Thanks for the info-- it was very helpful.
Reviewed by PatrickMMoore on 3/6/2006
We hiked a combination of the Blue and Yellow trails with our loaded backpacks this past weekend. We'd read good things and are now Sugarloaf-lovers because of the park's terrain, facilities and trail markings. I know we'll come back soon and often! Many thanks for the great info!
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