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Trip Report: 2020-12 Sugarloaf Mountain, MD

Sugarloaf Mountain is a monadnock, an isolated small mountain that rises abruptly from level farmland in Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland. It is described to be either an outlier of Catoctin Mountain, or the root remnant of an ancient Appalachian land mass. Privately owned by the Stronghold Corporation, the mountain park is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5, offering a network of trails, rustic tourism facilities, and parking facilities near the top of the mountain.

Date(s)2020-12-12
TypeDay Trip
ActivitiesHiking
Transportation1 Hour by Car (from DC Chinatown)
ConditionsHeavy Fog to Sunny, Cold, Dry Trail Conditions
DoggoStayed Home ?
GearDay Hike Pack, Cool Weather Gear
Repeatability8 out of 10
Overall7 out of 10

Sugarloaf Mountain is a frequent day trip destination for me. It offers a network of well maintained trails through varied terrain with excellent views of rural Montgomery and Frederick counties. The winery on the road in certainly doesn’t hurt by offering excellent opportunities for post-hike socialization. I rolled in Saturday morning around 9:45 while the mountain was draped in fog to meet with a friend for a moderately difficult six mile hike around the peaks. The pandemic has only increased the popularity of this close-in destination, but there were still convenient parking spaces open near the top of the mountain.

I did a poor job of remembering to take pictures on this foggy day hike. We started out on a leg of the white trail to hike the blue trail around the various peaks on the monadnock. About halfway through the trail the fog had receded far enough into the valley that we had a pretty good view from the numerous outcroppings and overlooks on the trail. The trail itself is rarely level, although the inclines are not very steep. The terrain is relatively rocky but not so difficult that you would require hiking boots. Mid-day the trail was not crowded but there were usually people within earshot.

We closed out our six mile hike at the Sugarloaf Winery with a wine flight, crab dip, crackers, and a heated tent. This was a short but sweet trip and we wrapped up on the trail by the early afternoon. Sugarloaf mountain is an excellent place to just get outside and see some trees without consuming your entire day.

David

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