Posted by: GeekHiker | July 20, 2009

HIKE: Sugarloaf Mountain

From a distance, Sugarloaf Mountain isn’t much to look at.  The peak, located at the end of an undulating ridgeline and standing at nearly 10,000 feet, certainly doesn’t have the traditional “peak” shape.  Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile and rewarding climb.

The view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain takes in the eastern half of the San Bernardino mountains, looking down over Big Bear Lake and the Santa Ana River Canyon, with San Gorgonio Mountain dominating the south side of the canyon

The trail starts following an old roadbed.  After securing your car, start walking south from the main road, passing over an old rusting gate.

Sugarloaf Mountain 01
Start of the trail, heading towards the gate.

The next two miles ascend steadily, mostly under the cool shade of tall pines, occasionally entering pools of sunlight.  The trail passes muddy trickles of water that breathe life into small grassy meadows.  Mid-summer wildflowers can be spotted easily along the hike.

Sugarloaf Mountain 02
Wildflower along the trail

Sugarloaf Mountain 04
Butterfly seeking nectar

Sugarloaf Mountain 05
Small meadow

Sugarloaf Mountain 07
Hiking under the tall trees

A little before the three mile mark, what appears to be another trail comes in from the left, also ascending.  Look for the small sign on a tree straight ahead pointing to the more obscure trail, heading uphill.  (As of this writing, there is also a large arrow, made of small rocks, pointing in the right direction.)

At about 3 miles in, the trail intersects with the trail to Wildhorse Meadows.  Turn right, heading west along the ridgeline.  The trail turns rocky.

At some points, the trail itself becomes lost in the large talus slopes.  Fortunately, the trail is well marked with blazed trees in these sections.  (For some parts of the trail, I found myself simply moving from blaze to blaze to find my way!)

Sugarloaf Mountain 09
Along the ridgeline. Note blaze in tree to guide your way.

The trail ascends and descends a small hill east of the peak, then makes the final ascent to the peak itself.

Sugarloaf Mountain 11
Looking up at the peak before the final climb

The trail finally tops out at 9,952 feet above sea level.  From the peak, one can look south over the Santa Ana River drainage, and north over the desert.  Here and there through the trees Big Bear Lake can be seen.

Sugarloaf Mountain Panorama 01
Looking over the Santa Ana River drainage, San Gorgonio on the right

Sugarloaf Mountain 10
Looking north to the desert

Sugarloaf Mountain 13
Looking down through the trees at Big Bear Lake, busy with boats

Return by the same route.

More photos here.

Total Distance: 9.4 Miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,300’/2,300′


Directions: From I-10 in Redlands, exit at State Highway 38 North (Orange Street), turning left onto Orange Street a couple of blocks after exiting the freeway. Continue .6 miles north, then turn right on E. Lugonia Ave and remaining on State Highway 38 Drive approx 44.6 miles to Forest Service Road 2N93 and turn left. Head up the dirt road about 1.3 miles to the pullout and trailhead. From the intersection of State Highways 38 and 18 in Big Bear City, head south on Highway 38 about 3.8 miles to the turn off on right for Forest Service Road 2N93, and follow the directions above to the trailhead.

Hike Profile:Sugarloaf Mountain Hike Profile



  1. I haven’t hiked, like, forever! *envying* 🙂

  2. Nice looking hike. I do miss ‘up’. Things are too flat here.

    Is it me or do the last two pictures look identical?

  3. I am terrified of butterflies. You probably knew that already though 🙂

  4. I feel like a place called Sugarloaf Mountain should be in Candyland!

  5. I agree with Ruby, it sounds delicious! And looks lovely.

  6. K – Yeah, but you’ve been biking on your new bike, so I’m envious of that!

    Homer-Dog – You should go climb the Tetons. As for the picture, it’s fixed. Thanks for the heads-up on the bad link.

    Ms Behaviour – No, way, really?

    Ruby – Well, Big Bear is a resort town…

    MissMcCraken – It does, though at the top I would have preferred a bar with a cold beer!

  7. that depends on the beer, I suppose!

  8. We hiked it a few times with our pups about 8 years ago. It’s nicely shaded for most of the way up. No one else on the trail, and very nice views. Watch out for late afternoon thunderstorms.

  9. Hello, back about 15-16 yrs ago I got a wonderful pet from a man in Sugarloaf, called a white tundra wolf, who became a part of our family a and brought us so much love and joy. 3 months old and Nanuk lived around 15 yrs. Our vet said he’d never seen such a well loved and kept pet I told him that’s just it, he’s family. Well, I just wondered if that man who raised this beautiful family of white wolves is still there or if anyone knows who that person is, I’d like to tell him about Nanuk and personally thank him. I live in New Mexico now, my name is. Rosie Hamlin 505 4355597

  10. […] can use an alternate, longer (9.4 mile/2,300 feet of elevation gain) route to the summit, described here. To reach 2n93, take Highway 38 northeast from Redlands for approximately 35 miles. The turnoff for […]

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