Sugarloaf Mountain: another Maryland winner

At the bottom of the hill

At the bottom of the hill

Sugarloaf is a small mondadnock, or standalone peak amidst land that has eroded around it. It is not as dramatic as the eponymous Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, reportedly one of the most climbed peaks in the world.  This peak has a different feel, due partly to some Civil War history in the area and partly due to a road that comes within a quarter mile of the summit at the lookout areas. While my wife was teaching a seminar an hour away, I took a morning to try some more Maryland hiking. I wasn’t disappointed.

The east lookout area

The east lookout area

Getting close to the top is not an issue, but the paths are still steep enough that they are not suited for somebody with bad knees or cheap flip flops.

A thorough trail system drapes over the upper half of the mountain.   From the East Lookout area, with a nice lookout and picnic area, two trails duck into the woods.   The Orange, or sunrise trail, heads towards the summit.  A connector trail goes downhill towards the white trail, which is curving around the mountain’s eastern flank at this point.   There are no views, but the woods are still lovely.


The white trail eventually connects with the blue trail,  which does more climbing.  From a broad notch near a nice rocky lookout, the red trail heads to the summit from the north .

Fellow climber

Fellow climber

Since I was visiting the nation’s capital, the combination of white, blue and red trails struck a nice chord.  At times, the final climb seemed steep, but it was short enough that the sweat I broke mostly came from heat and humidity rather than exertion.

The seep beginning of the red trail

The steep beginning of the red trail

The summit area is wide, and there are a few great views, mostly to the south.   A slow but steady stream of hikers passed over the top.   I didn’t stay long.

Jackie Chan the wonderdog on top

Jackie Chan the wonderdog on top.  Notice webbing for climbing anchors in background

View from the top

View from the top

On the way down, I noticed some rock climbers along a few cliff bands.

Rock climbing in the background

Rock climbing routes in the background

I descended the rock steps on the steepest trail, ending up near the western lookout.

Long set of stairs.

Now that’s a set of stairs!

Four tenths of a mile on pavement connect the two lookouts, making a nice loop a little under two miles.

The bottom of the descent trail

The bottom of the descent trail;  I guess the trail builders had some leftover rock.

The hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain is good, and the drive through the bucolic countryside is a bonus.   Clearly, Maryland has some great hiking.   Stay tuned for a write up on my next stop at the famed Paw Paw Tunnel with my wife and family.

About Josh Baker

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ― John Muir

Posted on June 29, 2013, in Climbing, Flora and Fauna, General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Historical sites, Outdoors and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi Josh, thanks for visiting my blog. I’m loving reading about your hikes and LOVE your pics.

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