Sugarloaf Mountain is a “small” and obscure peak outside of Colorado Springs just west of Cheyenne Mountain. Though not a titan of extreme technical difficulty, it is a great short hike on a very well maintained trail that provides wonderful views of its surrounding peaks and a definite opportunity for solitude. It is an excellent climb to do with children or low-lander visitors who may need more time to acclimatize before venturing to higher altitudes. Though not on the same trail, it may also be done in conjunction with its taller neighbors Vigil and San Luis Peaks. Its trailhead is just inside the main gate of Bear Trap Ranch just a half mile off Gold Camp Road.
I was more than a little intrigued when I first noticed Sugarloaf Mt. on the Pikes Peak Atlas as a named peak in El Paso County. In 2004 I moved my family to Colorado after 7 years living outside of Washington DC. The only “mountain” in the immediate area of our nation’s capital was Sugarloaf Mt. (1282 ft.) of Montgomery County, Maryland. It served as a small oasis for me as a place of solitude on frequent weekend hikes. It also was the first mountain page that I wrote for SP. Thus, I thought it only fitting to consider writing a page for the Sugarloaf Mt. of Colorado. It will now be the third Sugarloaf Mt. on SP, the other two being in Maryland and Wyoming. If you are looking for a quick hike when you don’t have a lot of time or all the time in the world, go climb Sugarloaf Mt. of El Paso County, Colorado!
I strongly recommend using the Pikes Peak Atlas for this route. This can be found at the Colorado Springs REI and many local bookstores. I think it is much better than the National Geo. Topo map. Take I-25 from either the north or south to Exit 140. Go south on Rt. 115, which is Nevada Ave. Get off at the westbound Lake Ave exit. Take your second left onto Cheyenne Mt. Rd. and follow this until you come to the sign for the Cheyenne Mt. Zoo, which will be to the left. Go straight through this intersection and take Old Stage Road into the mountains. I strongly recommend using the Pikes Peak Atlas Map from this point. 6.3 miles from the point that Old Stage Road goes from pavement to dirt you will come upon the sign for Bear Trap Ranch. About 0.5 miles prior to this point Gold Camp Road will merge from the right. Take a left into Bear Trap Ranch and follow its road to the main entrance sign. Park at the main gate sign. The trailhead is immediately across a small open area from the main sign. It is unmarked, but very easy to find.
The trailhead for Sugarloaf Mountain lies on the private land of Bear Trap Ranch. However, I have personally spoken with the caretakers of the ranch and the camp coordinator and they graciously gave me permission to park on the ranch property at the base of the trail. They enjoy visitors and are fine with hikers climbing nearby peaks. That being said, I would still highly recommend asking their permission if you encounter them as you enter the property. They are very generous in allowing us to use their land and we need to honor that and adhere to the “Leave No Trace” principles.
When To Climb
Any time of the year, but be prepared for deep snow through winter and into the spring. As with any Colorado mountain be mindful of summer afternoon thunderstorms.
Camping is not allowed on Sugarloaf Mountain unless permission is given by the caretakers of Bear Trap Ranch.
Conditions will be similar to Colorado Springs weather (see the links page). There is a very well maintained trail starting just inside the main gate for Bear Trap Ranch. Since it is a relatively short climb, escape from the mountain can be done quickly in bad weather, but you should not push fate. Colorado weather, especially afternoon summer thunderstorms, can be deadly even on the smallest of mountains.