Sugarloaf Mountain Hike to Maryland Views

Sugarloaf Mountain Hike to Maryland Views

A Sugarloaf Mountain hike delivers great views of the Maryland countryside and a convenient network of trails that allow very short or longer hikes. A road leads to two parking areas about three quarters of the way up the mountain. Picnic tables near the parking areas are perfect for non-hikers or folks with limited mobility who want to enjoy nice views.

Summit view Sugarloaf Mountain MD

Summit view Sugarloaf Mountain Maryland

 

Short Sugarloaf Mountain Hike Options

When our kids were young, or grandparents were in town, we generally chose shorter trails and allowed more time on the summit. The rocky summit has lots of spots with nice views that are great for picnicking. Keep in mind that the best views are near the edge so keep a close eye on little ones. Toward the middle of the summit area (away from the edge) are more rocks that are fun to explore. There’s even a little “cave” perfect for a photo opp.

Kids cave on Sugarloaf Mountain summit

Kids cave on Sugarloaf Mountain summit

 

There are two short trails to the summit that start from the parking areas. The easier trail is from the West View lot, the second parking area you’ll encounter on your drive up the mountain. The Green Trail is a 1/4 mile hike up a series of steep stone steps cut into the rock. Create a short loop trail by hiking up the Green Trail, across the summit, down the Red Trail, then turn left on the Blue Trail to return to the West View parking lot.

Rocky summit Sugarloaf Mountain MD

Rocky summit Sugarloaf Mountain MD

 

A second option for a short hike to the top is to park in the East View parking area and follow the 1/4 mile Orange Trail. This trail is very steep and somewhat washed out, so don’t try this one unless you have good footwear. Extend your hike to a loop by continuing across the summit, down the Red Trail, turn right on the Blue Trail, and right again on the White Trail for the return to your vehicle.

Orange Trail Sugarloaf Mountain MD

Orange Trail Sugarloaf Mountain MD

 

The trails are well marked but intersections and overlapping segments can be a little confusing, so download the Sugarloaf Mountain hike trail map to take along. Printed maps are also usually available at the base of the mountain.

East View picnic area Sugarloaf Mountain

East View picnic area Sugarloaf Mountain

 

Extend Your Sugarloaf Mountain Hike

If you’re interested in a longer hike, the Blue Trail is an excellent option. The trail meanders around the top section of the mountain, connecting with summit trails. The Blue Trail loop is a five mile hike, but you can adjust your distance by combining with other trail segments.

Blue trail Sugarloaf Mountain MD

Blue trail Sugarloaf Mountain MD

 

 

Our favorite circuit is to park in the West View lot and combine the Green, Red, and Blue Trails for a nice mix of views, woodlands, and rocky hiking. The trail is moderate with some nice up and down sections that will give you a little workout.

Other options are the 2.5 mile White Trail loop, which passes near both parking areas and the entrance, and the 7 mile Yellow Trail around the base of the mountain.

Tips for Your Sugarloaf Mountain Hike

Here are a few tips to increase the fun-factor on your hike:

  • Trails are mostly dirt and rocks through forest. They will be slippery and muddy if it’s been raining.
  • As with all Virginia hikes; the woods are humid and buggy in the summer. Best seasons for the Sugarloaf Mountain hikes are late spring, early summer, and fall.
  • Hike in early June to enjoy beautiful mountain laurel in bloom.
  • Avoid the mountain or arrive early on beautiful Saturdays and holidays. We arrived at 10:00 for a Mother’s Day hike and parked easily. By the time we left at 2:00, every road and space was packed with cars and people.
  • For minimal walking with great views, stop at the East View parking area and have a picnic.
  • There is a small lookout platform near the West View parking area which is worth a visit.
  • Port a potties are available near both parking areas; plan to take your trash home with you.
  • The road is one-way and passes the Stronghold Mansion. Louise and Gordon Strong created a non-profit that keeps Sugarloaf Mountain available to the public and maintains the roads and trails.
  • Leashed dogs are allowed, so bring your furry buddy along.

Sugarloaf Mountain stands alone in the Maryland countryside, a monadnock that remained after surrounding land eroded. With no surrounding mountains, you won’t find the spectacular views of the Blue Ridge. But on a clear day a Sugarloaf Mountain hike offers pleasant hiking and lovely views, just an hour from Washington DC and Northern Virginia.

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Maryland USA Travel | Hiking | A Sugarloaf Mountain hike delivers great views of the Maryland countryside, picnicking, and a convenient network of trails that allow short or longer hikes.

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3 Responses to “Sugarloaf Mountain Hike to Maryland Views”

  1. mrollyson10gmailcom July 31, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    This is a great post! I love Sugar Loaf and if any of your readers are new to hiking this is very nice. Lots of shade and plenty of different opportunities for all skill levels. We brought our hammocks so we could set up out of the way and got a great overlook without being in anyone’s way. Happy travels!

    • Fun in Fairfax VA July 31, 2017 at 9:53 am #

      Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback! Bringing hammocks along is a brilliant idea. There are so many trees and quiet spots with nice views. Well played!

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  1. Northern Virginia Fall Foliage: Best Places to See Fall Colors In the Region - October 31, 2017

    […] Sugarloaf Mountain rises above the surrounding Maryland fields, delivering pretty views by car or on foot. Drive to the East View Parking area for a picnic with a view. More expansive summit views are a short but steep hike from one of two upper parking areas. […]

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