The Sugarloaf Trail is a relatively short mountain hike with nice views, a great choice for families and less experienced hikers. At its beginning, the trail coincides with the Trestle Trail, a pleasant 1-mile loop over railroad grades along the Zealand River with little elevation change. The Sugarloaf trail diverges from the Trestle Trail early and climbs gradually among huge boulders left by retreating glaciers. Eventually the trail presents the choice of turning left to summit Middle Sugarloaf or right to summit North Sugarloaf. Middle Sugarloaf has a steep climb with a ladder right at the end, making North Sugarloaf the better choice for less able hikers. The hike from Zealand Road to the summit of North Sugarloaf is 1.2 miles. The hike to Middle Sugarloaf is just a little longer at 1.4 miles. Although modest in height at around 2,500 feet above sea level, well below tree line, both summits remain bare from the forest fire of 1903 and offer fine views. There is an abandoned smokey quartz mine at the top of North Sugarloaf, and amateur collectors can still find crystals there.
Directions to Next Site:
The next two stops on our tour are also hikes off the Zealand Road. Continue about 1.6 miles on Zealand Road (2.5 miles from Rte 302). The Hale Brook Trail to the summit of Mount Hale is on the right (west) side of the road.