This short but sweet (and steep) route up the northwest slope of Sugarloaf D will surely test the hiker's legs and lungs. Accessible year round, this steep little bushwack quickly lifts the hiker above the crowd hovering along the shores of the Tarryall Reservoir to quiet, rocky solitude. Use caution around livestock and be wary of getting sidetracked by the numerous livestock and wildlife trails wrapping around the mountain.
Approximate roundtrip mileage: 1.25 miles
Approximate elevation gain: 700 feet
Note: After examining the topographic maps and looking at this mountain from all angles the hiker may decide the eastern slope is the way to go. Our experience is that the eastern slope of Sugarloaf Mountain D is well-guarded by stony fins and rock outcrops. This is not to say the eastern slope route cannot be done; this is simply to say we found the steep but relatively outcrop-free northwestern slope to be the path of least resistance.
Getting ThereFrom Colorado Springs: Hwy 24 West to Lake George. Just past lake George, turn right (northwest) on Park County 77 (Tarryall Road) and follow it to the Tarryall Reservoir. Use caution with the minefields of potholes. Between dusk and dawn, deer and elk are incredibly numerous - watch your speed! From Park County Road 77 take #142 (generally northeast) up Potato Gulch approximately one mile and park.
From Denver: Take Hwy 285 to the town of Jefferson and turn left on Park County 77 to the Tarryall Reservoir. (Keep an eye out for free range cattle.) From Park County Road 77 take #142 (generally northeast) up Potato Gulch approximately one mile and park.
- While rough in spots, #142 up Potato Gulch should be passable in dry weather to drivers of high-clearance vehicles for the first mile to the suggested parking area.
- After leaving state land but before reaching federal land, #142 briefly crosses a private landholding. Be respectful and close both gates behind your vehicle as you proceed.
- Ranchers run cattle up this gulch. Use common sense when interacting with these animals, especially the bulls or cows with calves. Do not let your dog loose near livestock.
Route DescriptionAfter parking your vehicle about one mile up Potato Gulch and far enough off #142 for other vehicles to safely pass...
Essential GearFor safety and comfort, the following are recommended:
- Long pants. I strongly recommend against shorts for this hike through deep woods and fallen timber over a rocky slope.
- Topographic map
- Colorado Atlas and Gazetteer (for backroad navigation)
- Trekking pole(s)
- Sturdy hiking boots with grippy soles and stiff ankle support
- More water than you think you will need (this is a dry mountain)
- First aid kit
- Other standard backcountry essentials
External LinksPike & San Isabel National Forests
Pike National Forest Recreation Map