Looks like the rainy weather will give way to sunshine on Sunday, so let's enjoy an Autumn hike on Sugarloaf Mountain!
The route: We’ll spend most of the hike on the Northern Peaks (Blue) Trail, which starts at Westview parking area and offers 5 miles of nice scenery and hiking. Near the end of the hike we'll take the Red Trail to ascend to the very top of the mountain, and then take the stairs along the Green Trail to descend back to Westview. See the pdf trail map linked in the notes section below.
This rocky, heavily-wooded mountainside trail has 990 feet in elevation gain and although rated moderate, it is challenging in spots, so take a sanity check and make sure you are up for this hike!
The hike is 5 miles of smiles and should take about 3.5 hours to complete, including a short break at White Rocks to enjoy the view.
How to get there: From the I-495 Capital Beltway, take I-270N to Exit 22 South and turn onto MD-109/Old Hundred Road to Comus Road. Take a right on Comus Road, which will take you to the base of the mountain and the Stronghold entrance. Upon reaching the Stronghold entrance:
(1) Bear right into the road marked "Mountain Entrance" and follow the road to the Westview parking area.
(2) At Eastview, turn sharp left to go on to Westview.
(3) Bear right into Westview. Meet at the covered pavilion.
Photos of the above turns: http://tinyurl.com/mblmwjj
Photo hike: http://tinyurl.com/pje29gt
What to bring: Water, comfy shoes with some tread on them, and your furry friend (leashes required). Sunscreen and shades are a good idea. I recommend insect repellent - you may think they are gone for the year but, trust me, they aren't. Consider the layered look and a light snack for the break at White Rocks.
Weather: The forecast is sunny and a high temperature of 67 degrees, with 15-25 mph west winds, occasionally gusting to over 40 mph. Updates: http://tinyurl.com/ohhsca2
Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers.
Administrative stuff: There are restrooms (the portable type) at the park entrance and at Westview parking area.
• Sugarloaf Mountain Park, 7901 Comus Rd, Dickerson, MD ,[masked], http://www.sugarloafmd.com/
• Sugarloaf trail map (pdf): http://tinyurl.com/ld9j7jq
• Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage map: http://tinyurl.com/mfzx75n