Northern Peaks Trail

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 39.26260°N / 77.3936°W
Additional Information Route Type: Class 2 & 3 Hiking/Scrambling
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk-up
Sign the Climber's Log


Drive to the West View parking lot and follow signs with blue blazes. There is a post that usually is well stocked with mountain trail maps.

Route Description

This is my favorite hike on Sugarloaf. It offers great scenery, lots of ups and downs and usually plenty of solitude, as it is less traveled than the other routes on and around the mountain.Follow the trail (blue blazes) from the West View parking area for 1/8 mile to where it meets the Mountain Loop Trail (white blazes). Take a right and follow the combined blue & white blazes for 1/2 to where the the Northern Peaks Trail branches off to the left. The trail goes downhill and switchbacks a few times until it joins the Mt. Ephraim Rd and the Saddleback Horse Trail (yellow blazes). Take a right on the road and follow it for 1/8 mile. The Saddleback Trail then goes off to the right and the Northern Peaks Trail leaves the road just a bit farther after a sharp bend to the left. Take the N. Peaks Trail to the right and proceed up a steep hill to White Rocks (897 ft.). This is the hightlight of the hike. Take in the views of the Piedmont Valley and Catoctin Mountains, rehydrate and then hit the trail again. The remaining 3 miles plus of the trail goes up and down multiple times and attains small summits of 1020 ft., 997 ft. and 1079 ft. respectively, thus the trail has the name Northern Peaks. Take left after rejoining the Mountain Loops Trail (white). After a very brief 1/8 mile take a right back onto the Northern Peaks Trail (blue), take in the views at the Bill Lambert Overlook and follow it along the north and west side of the mountain back to the West View parking. If you stick strictly to the Northern Peaks Trail you will not reach the summit. To reach the summit take the Monadnock Trail (red) at the Bill Lambert Overlook to the top then follow the A.M. Thomas Trail (green) back down to the West View parking lot. Total distance is 5 challenging miles. Don't underestimate this trail if you are not in good shape. It is frequent ups and downs and is great for training purposes.

Essential Gear

Seasonally appropriate hiking attire. Plenty of fluids. Trekking poles are not a bad idea.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.


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