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Los Angeles Hikes

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail Guide - Big Bear

  • 12 miles - Hard Effort
  • 5-7 Hours (Total)
  • 3,360 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 9,952 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

Although Sugarloaf Mountain, at 9952 feet, is the highest point in Big Bear Valley, this mountain peak is often overlooked by hikers today. That's good news for you because the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail is rarely crowded, offers a good climb with excellent views, an old-growth forest, and another peak to add to your list. And while the summit doesn't have a viewpoint, you do get some of the best panoramas of the San Bernardino high peaks along the way.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail
  • How to Get the Start of the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail
  • Gear, Tips, and Recommendations for the Hike

Where is Sugarloaf Mountain Trail?

Sugarloaf Trail is set back from the paved road by about a mile or so, up a rocky Forest Service road which is tough on most cars. So the safe bet is to park just off the (paved) Rt-38 at the beginning of the Forest Service Road 2N93, and then walk up the road to the official start of the trail.

There's not an address for the parking area, so use this lat/lon: 34.231438, -116.806414

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There are some wide shoulder areas when you first pull onto the dirt road where you can park. Pull off the side of the road so that you don't block other traffic.

Gear For the Hike

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The trail is very rocky. A shoe with a thicker or stronger sole will do well here. Some of the upper sections are 100% small rocks.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can also send non-emergency texts to just say that you're late, let friends and family follow along, and check the weather. You can see my review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The wide toe box means no blisters, an aggressive tread is great on the trail, it dries very quickly, and it has lots of cushion for long days. It combines everything I love about every other shoe into one.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProThese watches are pricey, but I use them 24/7 for sleep tracking, workouts, heart rate, and tracking my hike. It has preloaded hiking maps that help me navigate the trails and is a backup to my smartphone navigation. The Epix Pro has a great battery life, a screen similar to an Apple Watch Ultra, and works in harsh conditions when just using the buttons. See my review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26This updated version of the Hikelite 26 offers incredible value for the money. It's got a wide trampoline back, so your back doesn't get sweaty. It's under 2lbs, has deep side pockets, and is a great balance of what you need without what you don't.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated May 2024)

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail Maps

One of the neat things about this hike is that once you leave the Forest Service Road, you are actually on the Sugarloaf National Recreation Trail (NRT). NRT Trails are part of the National Trails System Act of 1968, the same one that created the (official) PCT and AT. You can read a more about the history of the NRT trail system in my guide to the Gabrielino NRT.

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You'll see some old trail signs, but otherwise the trail is largely unmarked.
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On the upper elevations you'll see these old-school notch trail markers in the trees. Follow the notches and you'll be good.
Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Elevation Profile

Sugarloaf Mountain Hike Elevation
As you might have guessed, you're going to be climbing to reach Sugarloaf Mountain. The trail is consistently uphill until the end, where you have a short downhill before climbing again. The undulations near the top create a few false summits.

3D Map

Sugarloaf Mountain Hike 3d Map
Once you leave the Forest Service road, the Sugarloaf Trail takes you up Green Canyon to the ridge, which you then follow up to the Sugarloaf summit.

Sugarloaf Mountain Hike Directions

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Go straight up road 2N93, also known as Wildhorse Meadow Road, from the parking area. On the left is 2N93B; don't get confused.

Wildhorse Meadow, where this road goes, was named after World War 1 when the US Cavalry realized that modern warfare made fighting on horseback obsolete. They decided to let their horses go, and the herd settled in the meadow southeast of Sugarloaf Mountain.

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Keep going straight on 2N93. There are a few turn-offs to picnic areas.
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2N27 splits off to the right, bear left to continue on 2N93.
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The road dips down and loops to the left.
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And soon you'll see the official trailhead parking area and sign. If you want to shave some miles off and have a high-clearance vehicle, you can also just drive here and park.
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Just past the last sign, look for the turn to the right. This is the official start of the Sugarloaf National Recreation Trail.
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Hike through the gate. No more motorized vehicles past here.
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Right after the start is this unique rock formation, and I'm just showing it to you because it's cool. There are several abandoned mines off the route of this hike.
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The hike up Green Canyon is, well, green. Enjoy the old-growth forest and small stream crossings as it winds up along Green Creek.
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Soon the trail gets steeper, wider, and rockier. Before this was designated as a National Recreation Trail, it was open to 4WD vehicles.
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Go straight over the log. There's a small trail back to the left, which is the abandoned 2N92 road, now largely overgrown.
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At the top of the climb the trail levels out.
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And soon you'll come to an intersection. Make the hard right to continue up the ridge to Sugarloaf Mountain.
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You can see the old NRT marker on the trail sign here.
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As soon as you make the last turn, look off to the left for an incredible view of San Gorgonio Mountain. You'll get more of these views in a mile or so.
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The trail is uphill but not as steep as the last section.
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And you'll wind through some lodgepole pines and shaded areas.
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The flat sections are periodically interrupted by short, steep climbs.
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You crest a high point by some exposed rock, the first of the false summits. And that bump in the distance is another false summit.
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As you follow the ridge you'll get more great views of the high peaks in San Gorgonio Wilderness.
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There are no trail signs, just notches, except for this old NRT marker getting overtaken by bark.
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You crest another false summit (Peak 9775) and the trail levels out.
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And then you have a short descent to a saddle The bump in the distance is another false summit, but a closer one.
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After descending to the saddle, you'll climb again towards the real Sugarloaf Mountain summit.
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Catch you last nice views of the high peaks.
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The trail levels off and you hike through some gnarled and twisted pines and junipers.
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And then the summit appears. There are no views here, but there are lots of trees and a peaceful vibe.

What's the triangular marker at the summit?

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There are several markers at the summit. The summit register usually sits in the rock pile by the survey marker.
07 23 10 38 07 000
If you walk about 30 yards south from the summit you'll get great views of San Gorgonio! Thanks to Robert D for the pic and recommendation!
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From here, just go back the way you came. Remember that you have a small climb pack up to Peak 9775 (behind me here).

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.