Sugarloaf Mountain

A bit south of Frederick, Maryland lies a 1,282 foot monadnock (an isolated mountain rising abruptly from the surrounding land, usually due to erosion) called Sugarloaf Mountain. Kind of strangely, the mountain is owned by a private (nonprofit) company and operated as a free park. It played a small role in the Civil War and was briefly considered by Franklin D. Roosevelt for the site of the Presidential retreat (Camp David is instead located on nearby Catoctin Mountain, which I’ve also hiked part of).

This June I drove out to Sugarloaf with Jeff and my high school friend Vanessa (plus her cute dog Wylie) to hike around Sugarloaf. We parked at the East View Parking lot and then started hiking.

We took the orange or Sunrise Trail which is a quarter-mile hike to the top of the mountain. It’s steep but quite short. We went back down on the green or A.M. Thomas Trail which is largely stairs. We saw a lot of rock climbers that I was pretty jealous of.

After that, we hiked around the Blue and White Trails, hitting the White Rocks and eventually looping back to the car park.

In total, we hiked about 5 hours. It was pretty steep in places but overall an easy hike, though we were pretty tired by the end. The nice thing about Sugarloaf is that you have a lot of options for hiking – see the trail map here. There is one trail open to horseback riders, and it’s also open to bikers for part of the year. A great day hike near DC!

Getting there: From the DC area – get on 495 and exit to 270 N, take the exit to MD 109 S (only about 20 miles) and follow the signs (it’s super easy although the entrance was a bit confusing for us – you turn in between two parking areas and drive past some fire trucks…). From parts north just get on 270 S and do the same.

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