Sugarloaf Mountain - Leisurely Hike & Picnic at the Scenic Overlook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=39.2202562&lon=-77.42428389999998&site=all&smap=1&searchresult=Dickerson%2C%20MD%2020842%2C%20USA

We will see you on the mountain!

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Bob - thanks for putting together a nice hike. Tom - thanks for waiting for us when we arrived late. It was a nice day with a group of nice people. I am looking forward to the next gathering.

    April 15, 2013

  • Tom S.

    Thanks, Bob, for yet another great hike and your wonderful humor. Most people don't really understand what all you do to schedule, prepare and conduct a large event...you have the patience of Job, the thoroughness of the IRS and the wit of Mark Twain!!!

    And thanks also to all for your compliments. I enjoy sweeping because it is a great excuse for not being able to keep up! And it's always a pleasure to provide some goodies!

    Until next time...

    2 · April 15, 2013

  • Sheila

    Very enjoyable day, as it always is with this group. Perfect Spring morning too.

    April 14, 2013

  • Karen

    It was a fun and beautiful Spring day. Thanks to Bob for organizing. So nice to meet all of you.

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • Doris

    Hike was great, beatiful spring day to be out, nice people.
    Thank you Bob for organizing , thank you Tom for the chocolate...my favorite part :)

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The day was great: It was sunny, no humidity, no bugs, and, while warm, there was a comfortable breeze. The initial ascent to the top woke us all up, and we made it to the mountain's crest okay. We then zig-zagged on several color-coded trails, and visited the scenic outlooks along the way, including the Union Signal Corps lookout (and jail) where once Federals watched Lee and Stonewall with their troops wading across the Potomac on their way to the first Northern Invasion. After the walk, the hikers and all their dogs had the entire picnic area to ourselves (I have never seen that happen on a weekend before!) and we had an excellent lunch, with everyone sharing their goodies. Thank you, tom, for sweeping from a distance. It was enjoyable primarily because it was such a fantastic group of individuals that came out to enjoy this mountain on a fine spring day.

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks Bob for organizing the hike...I had a great time!

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    ~ Oooops... I forgot, "thanks for a wonderful sweep Tom! You are the classiest, most friendly broom I've ever met." If somebody says, "You swept me off my feet", you'll know exactly what they mean. :-]

    1 · April 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Now he is stuck in his living room and can't out because he can't get his head out of the doorway after your compliment! Seriously, I am always thankful for Tom's solid assistance, and today it worked out great, as he was able to shepherd the latecomers up the mountain while I kept them mesmerized up there with my yakking.

      1 · April 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Bob thanks for organizing the hike. Tom!! You are awesome! Many thanks for waiting for us and for being so patient! I completely support Veronica's comment above! Will post your coolest photo shortly!! :)

      1 · April 13, 2013

  • raaj

    Bob and Tom,
    thanks guys, I had wonderful hike and we all had laughs.
    kudos to toms baking.

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • Jim

    Bob, thanks for putting the hike together this morning!

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    great day for a hike and picnic. thanks for organizing this Bob!

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    ~ First on the agenda is to Thank Bob for putting this event together and answering repetitive questions! The weather, the walk, the company, the laughs, the food and again, the company were perfect. A must repeat! Canela and I had a blast meeting you all :-]

    Woof woof/gracias!

    April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can someone please let Bob know that Farah, Kathy T. & Farah' s guest are running may be 15ins late.

    April 13, 2013

  • Fara

    Hi Kathy, Kathy it was me who Called you arojnd 6:30 today & i had sent you emamışlar earlier today. I'll see you tomorrow at Vienna Metro station. Look forward to meeting you-:)
    Fara

    April 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Fara - I still have not heard from you about you and your friend riding with me. My departure time in the morning doesn't have to be as early if I don't have to stop to pick up passengers, so please contact me tonight if you still want a ride.

    April 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am coming from Warrenton (heading north on Route 15) if anyone wants to ride with me.

    Also, is this a hike that can be walked in athletic shoes rather than hiking boots?

    April 10, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Update - I will not be attending this hike so I won't be carpooling.

      April 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ok - thanks for lettingme know.

      April 12, 2013

  • Laura M.

    Have to cancel so hopefully someone on the WAIT LIST can take advantage of a beautiful day tomorrow!

    April 12, 2013

    • Laura M.

      Looking forward to seeing some beautiful photos of the hike. HAVE FUN!

      April 12, 2013

  • Doris

    Hi Laura, I would like car pool I'll share the gas expenses...I'm in Dale City, can meet you some where, please let me know. Thanks

    April 9, 2013

    • Laura M.

      Hi Doris, I am just in the door from a vacation to Massanutten with trips to hike daily in SNP. I have not signed into MeetUp for two days. I may change my RSVP to NO. Not because I don't want to hike but because I received an email about some training on Saturday for riding my motorcycle (I'm a new rider) and normally I do not have Saturdays off (end of my vacay). I will let you know for sure by tomorrow after speaking to the group heading up the training.

      April 11, 2013

    • Laura M.

      Hi Doris, I just confirmed by motorcycle training for tomorrow after speaking with the group instructors and feel I need to take this course since it is not often that I have Saturday available (normally get off work at 7am and need to sleep). It is a great course in "Group Riding" and necessary for safety reasons. I have to BOW OUT of the hike but I hope you are able to find another carpool to meet up with. Maybe someone up in Springfield etc... HAVE FUN!

      April 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It should be sunny and 62 degrees tomorrow at Sugarloaf Mountain. That is perfect hiking weather. Plan and pack tonight, so that way you do not have to rush in the morning. If you leave early on the day of the event, you can take your time to get there. Remember to bring a folding chair and a cooler with food and drink in it, to be kept in your vehicle for the lunch after the walk. For the walk, all you need is a water bottle. We will have VHF radios with us, and Tom will be a sweep, so that no one will be left behind. Godspeed to all, and have a safe trip.

    April 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am so sorry but I won't be able to make this hike. My grandson is being born today! Have fun and I'll catch the next one!

    1 · April 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks so much Bob - I'm really glad I did cancel - she's still in labor - this little guy is taking his good ole time coming into this world! All prayers and good thoughts welcome!

      April 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      We will definitely be thinking of and praying for your grandson and his mother. May all go well!

      April 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The Tax Man Cometh!!

    1 · April 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is what some folks call a friendly or sneaker hike, so boots capable of doing the Bataan death march are not needed. I plan to wear sneakers, so normal athletic shoes are fine.

    April 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Fara - I sent you an email from your meetup page, so please respond to my email about a ride. Thanks.

    April 11, 2013

  • Fara

    Kathy, pls confirm if either Sterling or Tyson's area will work & what time we should meet. Thanks!

    April 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      You may want to send Kathy an email directly rather than posting it on the general message board.......

      April 11, 2013

  • Fara

    Hi Kathy, Will it work for to meet either in Sterling or Tyson's area.

    Thanks!
    Fara

    April 11, 2013

  • Fara

    Hello!
    Bob, is carpool an option and are there plan set dor those riding together? I won't be driving and am interested in riding with others. Will be glad to contribute towards gas expense.

    Fara

    April 10, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yes, carpooling is encouraged. Posting your request in the comments works best.

      April 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Folks - I am closing the event to new RSVPs, and I ask that if you cannot make the hike please update your RSVP accordingly.

    April 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Folks - Bring folding chairs to supplement what the picnic tables that are up there can accommodate.

    April 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Right now, the weather for the mountain is predicted to be sunny and 62 degrees!

    April 9, 2013

  • Laura M.

    Looking for a carpool from Stafford NORTHWARD on I95. Anyone interested?

    April 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    If folks want to have a longer hike, since there is such an abundance of concentric trails around us, after our hike (and picnic break), those who are interested can continue exploring. The important part is to get folks outdoors, regardless of the distance walked, as this is a beautiful area. It has been a long winter!

    April 1, 2013

  • Sheila

    Me and the dog

    April 1, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Great!

      April 1, 2013

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