Route: Sugarloaf Northern Peaks + Summit Loop (MD)

Submitted by Katie Pajerowski on Sun, 10/23/2022 - 02:42pm
Maryland, US
7.89 mi
Vertical Gain
1,923 ft

Sugarloaf Mountain is a Registered Natural Landmark and a standout in central Maryland due to its unique geology as a monadnock, a mountain created by erosion of the surrounding land. Not only that, it’s a rare gem where you can get this kind of elevation gain less than an hour’s drive from DC/Baltimore. 

This loop combines the Mountain Loop Trail (white), the Northern Peaks Trail (blue), and orange and green summit trails in order to traverse the full park and hit each overlook, maximizing length while avoiding any doubling back. This is a well-marked route that boasts >1900 ft of cumulative elevation gain over 7.9 miles, with some challenging rocky sections and some smoother, more runnable trail. This route also offers a great option for doing multiple loops to anyone who is training for something longer with a lot of elevation gain. The loop can be accessed from any of the four parking areas; I parked in the East View Parking and went counterclockwise, hitting the summit within the first mile, which I recommend as the summit trails are the most popular and will get more crowded as the day goes on. (Going this way also means you get a big climb over the last 1-2 miles which certainly keeps it spicy). The orange trail marker in the attached photo is the start/finish point from the East View parking area.

GPS Track


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Profile picture for user tracydimond

I'm planning on doing this loop unsupported on either Saturday or Sunday morning.

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Profile picture for user mj4tay

I think I’m going to be taking a stab at this, on a week day to avoid crowds at the end of January, dependent on weather and work scheduling.