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 best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.9 miles
561 feet

dogs on leash



trail running




wild flowers


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.

4 days ago

A very nice trail that can be completed in a couple of hours. 2/3rds of the way up it does get a bit strenuous while the descent is more gradual. Could do the trail counterclockwise to reverse that. The view of the mountains and lake is well worth the climb. Very clean and well maintained trail.

1 month ago

this trail is one of my favorites for a short hike with my labrador...we both get great cardio benefits and i love the ease of traveling the dry trails. I'm a seasoned, 65 year old female hiker with most of my hikes being in the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of NH. Always see deer and in the fall, it can have some pretty color.

5 months ago

It was okay. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a good view when we got to the top. It was a hard climb for very little reward. You had to go off trail to see a view. Wouldn’t do again. Great workout though.

6 months ago

Incredible! Please be mindful of the first leg up to the summit. Many of the trail markers were missing as the trees holding them had fallen however that part of the trail is marked with orange tape tied around various trees. It will get you back on track

6 months ago

Perfect for training down and up hills especially if you include Mt Morrow Loop

8 months ago

Awesome afternoon hike. Takes about 1.5 hours at a good pace. The trails in good condition and the views are nice. I suggest going counterclockwise if you prefer having a steep short climb toward the top, and then a gradual descent.

9 months ago

I went the weekend after the controlled burn. Lost the trail for a little ways when I ambled around that giant felled oak near the peak, but I moved toward the ridge and picked it back up. It was unbelievably beautiful despite the ash, with amazing views of the valley and the lake. Most of the trail is pretty easy, and the strenuous segment (maybe 2/3rds of the way through the loop) is well worth it. I picked up the trail on the Bridle Trail side (the first right turn once you’ve entered the park). Can’t wait to go back in Spring to see the regrowth.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Great loop trail for a quick workout.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Worth it when you get to the top! Bring lots of water!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

I gave the trail 4 stars, but I'd give the wild life experience this trip 5 stars since about a quarter of a mile in, at the top of a wooded knoll, my wife and I came upon three spring born deer younglings that, surprisingly, did not turn tail and run. We observed each other for upwards of 10 minutes until our teenage daughter and her friend tramped noisily up the slope. It was quite a sight. Anyway, we did the loop from the horse trailer parking clockwise so the climb to the top of the Sugarloaf Mountain was a nice mixture of gradual inclines interspersed with slightly steeper climbs--not bad at all. The occasional views of the Pee Dee River off to the right were nice and the open woodland and quartzite strewn landscape were pleasant to pass through. The backside trail was much steeper and the last third of the trail, before connecting with the Morrow Mountain Trail, was a mess of windfall trees with many, often quite difficult zig-zag up and down slope detours. It was challenging but certainly doable. The rest of the loop, especially where it coincided with the Morrow Mountain Trail was mostly pleasant rolling hills and a good rest after the climb and somewhat tricky decent. While the views are not spectacular, the landscape and its fauna and flora is interesting even in this rather interstitial season. Spring, when the Mountain Laurel is blooming, and late Autumn with the changing foliage, are usually more spectacular here!

Monday, August 14, 2017

very fun trail. challenging close to the top. saw a deer while we were out on the trail. Wife has issue with very little grooming.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Because of the number of trees down this is not just a hard trail, but a slightly dangerous trail due to some re-routings and having to navigate many obstacles on some very steep slopes. Saying that, it was great fun for us as we quite like that sort of thing. Not a suitable trail for children or dogs though at this time I would say. Nice views through the trees. Saw a chipmunk and some squirrels.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Not actually that difficult-- I'd say it's more moderate than strenuous. However, the trail is a mess. There are multiple large trees down across the trail, including one down length-wise on the trail, requiring you to scramble up the side of the mountain and down around it. No views, no reward at the top. Not a great trail.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Hiked on Monday. Underestimated the trail, very tough for beginners, but we did not turn back. Go clockwise for the less steep accent, counter to make it tough.

Monday, May 01, 2017

We hiked this and will continue to hike this in preparation for the Black Mountain Crest Trail. It's quite a nice trail. The south slope offers steep trails and a few obstacles. I look forward to hitting it again this week.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

took my daughter and puppy up. nice hike, steep in places. the south side is steeper than the north side. nice view of Lake Tillery, could see my neighborhood across the lake.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Nice trail to get your heart rate up. Not too much to look at . Over look was decent of Bayden Lake.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

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.

Monday, November 07, 2016

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.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

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.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

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.

Monday, April 04, 2016

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

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.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Good work out. It gets pretty steep.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Nice hike on 1-16-16 in beautiful weather. More moderate than strenuous. Very few other hikers.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Great hike to do in the fall, the trees had cleared just enough to have an awesome view from the top of Sugarloaf Mt. The trail is substantially easier if you take it clockwise, there's about 1/2 a mile where it gets very steep and narrow. Much easier to go down it than up. I was able to take my 4 year old daughter on this hike and she hiked everything except for about 3/4 of a mile where it was steep and narrow. My GPS tracked this trail to be about 3.5 miles.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Portions are strenuous and the trail is a single track in sections. Wear hiking shoes or boots. Good hike from an exercise standpoint, and some parts are pretty. Some sections are still recovering from fire, especially the rhododendrons. This is the only trail, outside of Pilot Mountain, where I have seen yucca growing in the wild.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Has a few steep ups and downs and slippery in spots but well marked and maintained.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

My father-in-law and I hiked this trail with my 3 year old and 15 month old on 9/8/12. It was not a great idea to bring the 15 month old since we only had one child carrier backpack. The weather was great and it was definitely a workout. We were drenched in sweat by the time we made it back to our car. I live in Salisbury so it was not a long drive and there were no fees to hike so it was cheap family entertainment for a Saturday. There were deer at the trailhead that the kids enjoyed watching. My hunch is that they were scavengers who would eat the leftovers of people who parked nearby. I look forward to going back to hike the other trails in the park.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail is located in Morrow Mountain State Park. I hiked this trail on 12/29/2011. It was quite frigid outside, so the trip wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been.

To access the trail, I used the Laurel and Morrow Mountain connector trails, making the total trip five miles.. There are some steep climbs if traveling counter clockwise.

The trail is well-maintained (not perfect, but in good condition), and makes for a good hike. It's no stroll, however, so be ready for a workout.

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