Sugarloaf Mountain Trail is a 2.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Albemarle, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding and is accessible from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Albemarle, NC: Travel six miles east of Albemarle on NC 740. Turn right (east) onto Morrow Mountain Road and take it into the park. Travel past the park gate and the park residences and you will see horse trailer parking on your right. Sugarloaf Mountain Trail begins from the parking area.
This was a great hike. The trail is well marked and clean. It merges with a couple other trails in a few places, but is marked well. The trek up the mountain is challenging, and footing is not always great, but I wouldn't change a thing. The view of the lake from the top is really nice. Great spot for a picnic or to soak up the view.
Didn't see any other hikers except around the parking area and where the trail merges with the easier trails.
One of the two toughest trails on Morrow Mountain, Sugarloaf is a 2.75 mile loop with orange blazes. Starting from the horse parking area, the hiking trail starts near the road, and the north section is a more gradual incline to the top, as from the parking lot, this part of the hike is mostly uphill. Taking the longer southern route connects with several other trails and starts downhill and then has a very steep uphill section. Best to hike this in late fall, winter or early spring when the leaves are off the trees so you can see Lake Tillery and surrounding peaks. This trail also connects to the Morrow Mountain trail to the top. Demanding and a good workout, this loop is a pretty good hike.
If you are not coming from the Horsetrailer parking lot. The fork in the trail is where you want to make a hard turn. If you get to the parking lot, turn around and trace your steps to stay on the trail.
We started at the top of the loop (after getting turned around and adding 1.1 miles with a bridle loop :P) and merged onto Morrow Mntn Trail. This trails is rated at strenuous on the park's trail map. Due to the rocks and shaky footing in places, I would agree. This is still a perfect hike though and quite impressive for not being in the mountains in western NC. I love this spot so much, I'm tempted to keep it a secret from my hiking buddies.
Tackled it this weekend along with Morrow Mountain -- Left from the museum, up the north slope of Sugarloaf, then hiked the Sugarloaf loop to pick up Morrow Mountain trail up to the summit and then back to the museum (just shy of 7 miles). The north approach to Sugarloaf is definitely more challenging than the south -- best to tackle it with fresh legs if, like me, you're not in peak condition. Started out at 7:30am and didn't seen another living soul until I was at the top of Morrow. An absolutely delightful day.
It was our first time to the trail, and for others looking for the trail head, it's to the right of the museum at the right corner of the parking lot.
Lots of elevation changes and per other reviews trail seems easier from counter clockwise. One section of trail is pretty steep with switch backs and requires careful footing...
We walked the trail in March before spring foliage. Great view from the top, lots of exposed quartz. Park recently had a series of controlled burns... So the views were a lot of lumbered trees.
Best part was the minimal traffic. We saw other people but were largely on our own.
Good work out. It gets pretty steep.