We hiked this same mountain exactly one year ago, and everyone had a fantastic time, so let's repeat the adventure once more.
Spring is here, and we hope that the weather will be amenable for an excursion through the forest and mountains. Everyone of all ages is welcome, and there is no fee for this activity. Bring your picnic lunch in a cooler, and, after our walk, we can eat at the picnic tables at the scenic Potomac Overlook that towers over Eastern Maryland (next to the East View Parking Lot). The views are stupendous. Bring water for the hike, as well as a camera. It is recommended that a backpack or waistpack be used so as to have one's hands free, and walking sticks are not necessary. No special equipment is needed; and sneakers are fine for this hike.
On our last hike here, we found the hidden stairs in the woods.
Bring a picnic lunch in a cooler, and keep it in your vehicle, so that we can have a picnic after the hike. While there are picnic tables with benches at the overlook, one can also sit on the rocks at the overlook.
At our last picnic here, everyone brought enough goodies to share.
Here is a map of the trails for your perusal:
Sugarloaf Mountain Trails Map
We will walk about four or five miles at a moderate pace on this beautiful, privately-owned mountain. If anyone wants to walk more, after the picnic, we have that option as well. We will go on several different color-coded trails, so as to visit every one of the mountains' scenic overlooks. We are meeting in the East View parking lot at 9 AM, which is located beside the trail head. No one will be left behind on our leisurely walk. Well-marked maps will be provided to all participants. The mountain tops at 1,282 feet, but we start at the 900 foot elevation, so the ascent is very moderate, using rock outcrops. The initial incline consists of some good rock scrambling, but it is like walking up a few flight of stairs. As noted, this extended stroll is great for walkers of all ages and abilities. Children are welcome, but they must be kept under close supervision. Pets are welcome as well, but they must be on a leash no longer than six feet at all times. Guests are fine. Please be advised that the property owners mandate that, on the day of our adventure, there are to be no mountain bikes, no fires of any kind (including cigarettes), and no alcohol on the mountain. The initial 1/4 mile will be a steep ascent on a rocky trail, and you will need to have your hands free. I mention this thought in case you bring walking sticks. For the incline, the best gauge for comparison purposes is walking up (and down) several flights of stairs. As a matter of fact, this is one of the best conditioning exercises one can do, and weather does not affect it - and it is free.
In the above picture, we see our hikers at last year's hike negotiating the boulders at the initial ascent. While the initial ascent is a bit steep, reaching the top makes the effort worth it.
Sugarloaf Mountain has been designated a Registered Natural Landmark because of its geological interest and striking beauty. A monadnock mountain, it took approximately 14 million years to form. On our hike, we'll visit all three prime scenic areas, and take in the breathtaking beauty of the countryside, including the rugged quartzite cliffs on the summit. Dominant tree species on Sugarloaf are primarily red and white oaks, as well as black gum, tulip poplar, black birch, and eastern hemlock. There are over 500 species of plants, including many wildflowers. White tailed deer are abundant on the mountain, as are flying squirrel, red fox, eastern cottontail, and raccoon. The forest birds include the great horned owl, pileated woodpecker, wild turkey, and red shouldered hawk. This is also the habitat of the coyote, copperhead, and timber rattlesnake, so we will keep to the trails.
The resemblance of Sugarloaf Mountain to Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain" is uncanny, both physically and historically, so this hike should be a rewarding experience for us in many facets. From one of the scenic lookouts, we will stand where sentries once watched Robert E. Lee cross the Potomac River on his first offensive campaign of the Civil War. Indeed, wounded and dying soldiers from that conflict were hospitalized in a log cabin that still stands at the mountain's foot.
Years later, our government was going to build Camp David here, but it decided to do it in the Catoctin Mountains instead. You will learn why on the trail.
All attendees need to have a profile photo posted for identification purposes that will appear under the RSVP list. Here are the directions, and please note that the miles given are approximate:
From Washington, D.C. - Take the 495 beltway to Route 270 North. Go North on Route 270 for about 22 miles. Get off at Exit 22, turning right at Route 109 South (also called Old Hundred Road). Go about 3 miles and turn right at Comus Road (also called Route 95). After about 2.5 miles, stop at the Stronghold parking lot entrance to Sugarloaf Mountain. As you enter the Stronghold entrance, use the middle entrance that has a gate with a sign to the left that states “Mountain Entrance.” Follow the signs and drive up the one-way winding mountain road to the East View Parking Lot, for about 1.3 miles, to our meeting point and base camp.
From Baltimore, MD - Take the 695 beltway to Route 70 West to Frederick, MD. Go South on Route 270. Get off at Exit 22, turning left at Route 109 South (also called Old Hundred Road). See above for the rest.
Here is the entrance to Sugarloaf Mountain at the end of Comus Road.
This event will take place if there is no precipitation or inclement weather, as hiker safety is our prime concern. Accordingly, all attendees will be notified the night before the hike no later than 9 PM if there are any changes in our plan.
Here is the weather report for our hiking area updated in real time:
We will see you on the mountain!