The hike to Sugarloaf mountain is the highest peak that you can reach in the Big Bear Valley, and is one of the favorites by locals. You are treated to great views of both the valley and the San Gorgonio wilderness.
- 10 miles round-trip
- Start at 7400', peak at 9952'
- Moderate to strenuous
- What to bring:
- Good shoes, water, food, sunscreen, camera, Seven Summits punch card, hiking poles (optional, and recommended due to rocky terrain and length)
- Adventure Pass:
- An Adventure Pass is required, as you will be parking in the National Forest.
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Directions to Trailhead
Take Hwy 38 south toward Onxy Summit past State Lane. Turn right on Forest Road 2N93, which turns quickly to dirt. There is a sign that tells you the Sugarloaf trailhead is straight ahead in 1½ miles. Follow the sign up the dirt road, but note that the earth in this area is very rocky and despite efforts at maintenance, the road is very bumpy. If you have a low profile car or one that doesn’t fair well on rocky dirt roads, you can park just off the pavement and just walk up the road (if you have a map, you can also take a shortcut to the left that goes through Greenspot Group Campground and then picks up a single track trail the brings you to the trailhead). Otherwise just drive up the main road for 1.5 miles till you come to the trailhead, where there is some parking on the right side of the road right before the trailhead.
You will see a nice sign that points right to the trail and indicates that it is 5 miles to the summit. As you look at the sign, you'll see to a road closure immediately to your right with a place for hikers and horses to go around. That's the start... go for it!
The entire trail is a mix of single track and old fire road and makes for a nice hike up the mountain. The first intersection you will come to is approx 2 miles into the hike. You will know you are there when you pass through a downed tree (the middle has been removed by chainsaw so it did not block the trail). It is pretty clearly marked with rock arrows and a log down over the way you shouldn’t go, a post marker and even a sign on a tree. Now, Dan McKernan missed it once. He said he saw the markings but was curious about what was down the other path... so needless to say he didn't make it to the top that day. :)
After taking the right fork and heading uphill, the next intersection is at the ridge and is even more clearly marked with a sign that points you on a right turn, southwest toward the summit. You will be following this trail all the way to the summit, encountering several "false" summits. Don't despair! Keep going and you will get there soon!
Along the way you will be treated to views of the San Gorgonio Wilderness and the Big Bear Valley. Also keep you eye out for markers in the trees along the trai that look like an "I" carved out in the trunk of the tree right on the trail. You experienced hikers might recognize these as common trail markers used in many forests.
Congratulations you have reached the highest peak within the Big Bear Valley (San Gorgonio and the peaks along its shoulder are higher, but not part of Big Bear proper). Enjoy the views which you can see by walking around the rim of the peak. To get back to the trailhead, simply walk back, just remember to make the turns back to road 2N93.