Sugarloaf Mountain Trail

HARD 71 reviews

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail is a 11.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Big Bear City, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.6 miles
3,228 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips





wild flowers



over grown



Located in San Bernardino National Forest, the trail up to Sugarloaf Mountain offers great views of San Gorgonio, southern California's highest peak. Although the summit area does not offer all-encompassing views, hikers will find good views along the ridge-line climb. The parking area can be accessed south of Sugarloaf where Wild Horse Meadows Road intersects with Route 38. From here it is a nice hike down a dirt road to the trailhead. Sugarloaf trail will meander alongside Green Creek for the first two miles. Those interested in plants and trees will enjoy diverse species including the the mid-mountain White Firs, Jefferys and Ponderosas and the upper-mountain's Manzanitas and Sugar Pines.

19 days ago

Did Sugarloaf this morning and it was a hell of a hike. got to the top in 2hr 45min with a lot of breaks in between. great views on the way to the top and lots of shade too, which is good considering it's been a hot summer up here. definitely bring lots of water with you on this hike. it's always good to be safe.

28 days ago

This was a great hike. It took us about hours to the top. The is a little rocky at times, but was hardly any trouble. The first mile has a lot of gnats and flies due to the streams, but you quickly gain 1000' and they are no longer a problem after that. We saw some bear prints but no luck in seeing an actual bear. We sat at peak for some time and were amazed at the numerous butterflies floating about, even saw a blue bird. It's a tough trek, but so worth it!

trail running
1 month ago

Fun trail, some of which becomes hard to follow the higher you go up. Thankfully, it's easy to stay on course because of the blazes in the trees. I did encounter a black bear on Wildhorse Meadow Road just after exiting the Sugarloaf trail on my way down. It ended peacefully (the wonderful creature wandered off after a few minutes), but it may be helpful brush up on what you should do when you come face to face with bears in the area.

1 month ago

This was cool trail and good work out. We made it up in about 2 hrs and 15 minutes with a good pace. Beautiful views of Gorgonio peak near top. Take car to trail head if you can to avoid walking on dirt road for first 2 miles. Have fun.

1 month ago

Good exercise hike even from the shorter "cheater" trail (please see my track from a few days ago). We got off highway 38 at the fire road where my track begins. It was a little less than 7 miles off road each way from there to the trailhead parking area. The hike itself was only 7.5 miles and 1600ft up/down from there round trip to sugarloaf peak. Not many wildflowers yet. The dirt road is maybe a level 2/10 off road experience. I took it a little too fast in my Kia Sorento, and had to replace a leaking strut 2 days later (just take it slow, and you should be ok). About 0.9 miles into the hike from the TH is where the "cheater trail" meets the main trail, then onto the ridge, and out to sugarloaf peak. There are some interesting trees (like giant Juniper trees), great vistas (especially of Mt. San Gorgonio), and some interesting rock formations. Note - the trail is like stair climbing for 50% of it (though never hugely steep), and is annoying rocky (have good hiking boots on). Max temp was 47 degrees our day, which with the sun was about perfect hiking weather.

2 months ago

Hiked this trail on a Saturday - encountered less than 10 people total. While some parts are steep and there are loose rocks throughout - I've encountered much worse trail conditions.

Took the gravel road from 38 to the trail head which saved a ton of time and also kept me from having to hike a boring stretch with limited / no cover. The trail itself is mostly through a woodsy-feeling forest of pine and redwood trees.

There are several false-summits before reaching the final destination - a well-marked summit with register and three different summit markers. A very enjoyable day.

2 months ago

You can drive the gravel road from the 38 to the trailhead, which saves you a rather boring stretch of hiking. 4WD in dry conditions not required. And, for as far as we could find out, no permit required to park at the trailhead either.

The rim 10/15 mins before the actual summit gives you the best views to the south (San Gorgonio) and north (Big Bear lake + Mojave desert). All in all a decent hike and we definitely had a good time being away from the crowds (we saw ~10 people in total).

The trail took us 3hrs to the top and 2hrs down.

Although we are currently not in the best shape :)... we are experienced hikers and we felt that this trail was actually quite exhausting. Perhaps this was mainly due to a big part of the trail being groomed with rocks that are precisely the wrong size... rather easy to stumble on them... Too small to jump from rock to rock (alpine style) and too big to provide an even (gravel) surface... We suspect that it would have been a lot better if the trail wasn't groomed at all.

For mountainbikers: there's about 5 fallen trees over the trail, but easy to cross when lifting your bike. Some parts will be rather challenging to climb: steep and a bit loose rocks.

5 months ago

Did this hike on February 3rd with my fiancé and dog. Like others, we had to hike from the road to the trailhead to start. About half of the hike was on snow, and some sections were pretty steep and required extra care and a slower pace. At 12 miles and 3k+ elevation gain topping out at 9950+, this hike pushed us to our limits. Luckily the weather was good. It would be difficult to find the trail in bad weather.

I would recommend this hike to advanced hikers who want a real challenge and are willing to spend most of the day on the hike. All in all, the hike took us about 5 hrs and 45 minutes. We took a couple breaks for snacks and water and pictures as well.

Last thing is to be careful of icy conditions during this time of year. Both my fiancé and I slipped and fell on the way down one time, and had a few other scares. Make sure you are outfitted with proper gear and bring plenty of water. Have fun!

5 months ago

Completed Sugarloaf Mountain Trail in 6hrs, over 12.6 mile in/out, at 3,228ft.

The dirt road was closed and I had to hike one mile to get to the trailhead. The ranger said not to hike it, but I did it anyway. I wanted to reach the peak and see the view of Mt. San Gorgonio.

Good for building and strengthen your endurance. Very hard with extreme inclines, not for beginner hikers. Advanced hikers, need a partner! Highly recommended during this time of condition (February 2018). I was the only hiker, there!

The trail conditions need to be maintained: it was covered with overgrown heavy vegetation, rocks, icy-snow, and soft snow that made it hard to located the trail. I got detoured and lost. I couldn't find my way back down because of the sun light reflected off the snow, which made it very hard to see my footprints and path: so I made my own pathway down the mountain. I got to admit, it was scary. Need a good sense of navigational skills. Must stay on the trail!

Need clamp on's (boot snow chains)! Man, I am tired! I recommend not hiking this trail until it is fixed.

I am proud of myself for doing this - it was a difficult hiked due to the trail conditions.

6 months ago

6 months ago

Was snowing on the way up but was totally worth it as the sun came up when we touched the peak. The trail was technical in certain sections but mostly a very walkable trail. Plan for a 3 hours climb and an hour and a change down.

8 months ago

The first five miles all up hill. It was fun though.

11 months ago

Nice quiet hike up Sugarloaf Mountain. Plenty of shade. Great views.

We started where Wild Horse Meadows Road intersects with Route 38. From there it is 1.25 miles to the trailhead. We walked it, but it is a well prepared dirt road. There is parking at the trailhead. The All Trails map does not show this connection, but it is the easiest access to the trail

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Always a great hike.... really rocky from the recent rains, so be careful.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Some of the views at the top are awesome. The top runs along a ridge. You see Baldwin Lake and the desert on one side and Mt San Gorgonio on the other. The views of San Gorgonio are some of the best on any trail. You won't see big bear lake clearly. The trees and forest are above average for the area. Negatives: its in the woods so there alot of the time you're peaking through trees to see the view. No views until halfway up trail. Trail is rockier than some other more popular trails.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

My 2017 new year day snowshoe hike! From the 38 and not the wildhorse meadows rd, 5 hours to reach the summit, 2.5 hours to come back and 1 hour at the top! Happy new year ❄

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I have done this trail a few time, litteraly right outside my backdoor. It is a great hike to get away from people and spend some time outdoors, you get a lot of views along the way, a couple of glpses of the Bear Valley and one good place to view San Gorgonio peak. the trail is cobble and loose at time so wear good boots with ankle supports. two small streams seem to flow year round but I would suggest packing in your water take about 3 liters. 95% of the trail is shaded and there is a false summit, you think you have hit the top then suddenly you realize you have another 1/2 mile and 600 feet to go. Not a destination hike, unless your local, but if your in the area it is a nice hike. if your goal is to get good views of the Bear Valley and Bear Lake hike the Gouger Crest Trail on the north shore.

Monday, November 07, 2016

What a great trial. This was my first big peak topping out at 9952'. The small area to park at Green Canyon was full so I drove beyond and around to Wildhorse area. My hike was a a total of 8.8 roundtrip. I guess I saved a couple miles over the standard hike. Loved all the trees and there are plenty of points you can step out to and get a great view.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

very rocky, at least four to five died trees blocking the path, need to pay attention, at times you can lose the trail, took me about 3 hours to reach the top. under two on the way down.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

3rd time hiking it, good for altitude and steep ability check

Sunday, March 20, 2016

I loved it. The trail is very rocky, but good for exercise.

Monday, September 07, 2015

If you start at the trailhead for Sugarloaf off 2N93, it's actually a bit over 12 miles. There's parking, but not much. Get there early if you don't want to add an extra mile and a half just to get to the trailhead. The magnitude of loose rocks on this hike is what makes it difficult. If you have trekking poles, bring them. I didn't have any troubles keeping track of the trail the whole time, you do need to pay attention in a few sections, but it's fairly well marked. It's a great workout with nice views on the way up.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Not much of a view at the actual peak, but quite a view of San Gorgonio on the way up. The trail starts in a nice green area up until past Green Spring then it becomes a very open alpine trail with lots of shale rock crunching beneath your every step. Do not underestimate this hike, it is strenuous during summer and has almost constant elevation gain.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Good hike in terms of workout, the first 3/5 of the hike is completely uphill but after that you get some flat areas. Not very scenic and there were way too many loose rocks throughout the entire trail, a little hard on your feet and it makes it easier to twist an ankle. Personally don't know if I would recommend this hike.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Very tough, Hot in the summer but covered so some shade is provided. Watch out for bugs. Also lost the trail a few times since OHVs drive all over the area. They cut new trails which is mitigated by forest service blocking roads with rocks and logs as best as they could. A very good hike with decent views at the end. Also a geocache up there and a place for people to leave neat stuff in books.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

hiked on 3-15-14

this can be a rough trail if snow is still on the ground. i was the only person in my group to make it to the peak because of the snow. its all up hill then all down hill. rocks and gravel the entire time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Took the advice from a reviewer and would concur that starting in the morning is a good idea. Took me 2:15 to get up at a moderate pace, 1:30 to get down with some light jogging in some parts. If you're looking for beautiful forest, this is the trail for you. The trail is mostly uphill and loose rocks. A great distance with substantial elevation gain makes it a good challenge. I'll do it again, very beautiful.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Went up this morning on a beautiful chilly morning. It gets steep in some places but is very worthwhile for the views on the way. Made it to the peak in 4.85 miles. There are 2 punches up there and a tsunami warning sign. My elevation reading was 9922' but the sign says 9952'. Overall I had a great time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Best hike in Big Bear Lake California. Here is a link to a trail map plus the photos we took on our hike;

The trail is moderately difficult. We recommend starting in the morning. Remeber to hydrate. The trail starts at around 7,000 feet and climbs to 9,400 feet.

30 days ago

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