Sugarloaf Mountain (Maryland)
Sugarloaf Mountain, about 45 minutes northwest of Washington, DC, is a good choice for a half-day getaway to the countryside. I wouldn’t say Sugarloaf is a mountain–it’s only 1300 feet above sea level–but it juts out above the surrounding farmland so it’s visible from ten miles away.
I initially intended to take the dogs to Little Bennett Regional Park, right off I-270, but when I got the entrance I realized it was more of a campground then a hiking trail area, so I decided to head to Sugarloaf. On the way, I made an impromptu stop at the Clarksburg, Maryland Farmers Market. There were a few stands selling produce such as apples, winter squash, radishes, and hot peppers. I bought a few things and treated myself to a pumpkin muffin for the road. On the way to Sugarloaf I tried a chili pepper for some stupid reason. It was so hot that I had to pull over so I could get into the trunk and eat the muffin I just bought to dull the pain. Why didn’t I eat the pumpin muffin first? Well, I’m an idiot.
The farmland around Sugarloaf is really beautiful. Top that off with the fall foliage popping up in mid-October, there are some great photo opportunities everywhere.
One way to get up to the top of Sugarloaf is to drive up ove up the windy road to the East View parking lot, near the summit. The park can get really crowded on a nice weekend, so I suggest getting there early. I arrived at 10am and the parking lot was already full. For good reason. The view from the top of the mountain is unparalleled for the area; I could see for dozens of miles towards the east.
I thought the woods were nice, but it was a little confusing figuring out which trail to take from the parking lot to get to the summit. I took the 2.7 mile-long White trail, which wraps around the summit. Despite the white markings on every 100 feet or so, I didn’t know where the trail was taking me, so rather than getting lost or too far away from the parking lot, I got onto the Blue trail which met up neatly with a parking lot near a nice vantage point looking west.
If you go
On the way up to the mountain, you pass Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard (Dickerson, MD). I didn’t stop there today but have been there before. I thought the wines were pretty good and the scenery was top-notch. I think the best way to arrange your day is to go hiking first up on the mountain and then visit the winery on the way home.
- Dogs: The mountain is dog-friendly, so make sure you bring enough water for your dog(s). I brought a gulpy.
- Bathrooms: There are porta potties near the parking lots on the mountain.