Sugarloaf Mountain is the obvious cone-shaped peak near the summit of Medicine Bow Peak. This peak is almost totally ignored since the admittedly more spectacular Medicine Bow Peak overshadows all over peaks in the region.
Sugarloaf Mountain is in the Snowy Range of Wyoming, which itself is a part of the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming and Colorado. This small, but very beautiful and well-named range is full of sparkling lakes and flowery meadows with scenic peaks rising above.
Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the easiest and most popular mountains in Wyoming that is above 11,000 feet high, but it is far less popular than Medicine Bow Peak. The scenery around the peak is some of the best around and gives everyone (even motorist who never leave the road) a taste of alpine scenery that you usually have to work hard to see.
Partially because of the proximity to Laramie Wyoming, this area gets a lot of attention. It is also not that far away from the Front Range cities of Colorado so you are just as likely to run into hikers from Colorado on the mountains as you are running into hikers from Wyoming.
The peak can be combined with Medicine Bow Peak, but it makes a nice climb in itself.
Sugarloaf Mountain from the east.
There are two main trailheads used for climbing Sugarloaf Peak. Keep in mind that all of these roads are summer and fall roads only and are closed for much of the year. There is a $6 fee to park at the trailheads.
Lewis Lake Trailhead
From the east, leave I-80 at Exit 311 and drive Highway 130 west to Centennial. From Centennial, follow the highway another approximately 11.2 miles to the Lewis Lake Recreational Area and Sugarloaf Campground, which is on a side road which heads north from Highway 130. This same location can be reached by driving east from Saratoga Wyoming.
Sugarloaf (left) and Medicine Bow Peak (right) as seen from Lewis Lake.
Mirror Lake Trailhead
From the east, leave I-80 at Exit 311 and drive highway 130 west for about 43 miles, passing Centennial along the way, to the Mirror Lake Trailhead, a short road off Highway 130. This same location can be reached by driving east from Saratoga Wyoming.
Lake Marie, just west of Mirror Lake.
There are no trails to the summit of Sugarloaf Peak, but the peak isn't too rugged. All routes require scrambling.
This is the shortest and easiest route on the mountain. It is about a mile round trip with more than 600 feet elevation gain.
From Lewis Lake, the trail heads west to the saddle between Sugarloaf and Medicine Bow Peak. From the saddle, you can scramble south to the summit.
Sugarloaf from Lewis Lake.
Via Mirror Lake
This route has more than 1000 feet elevation gain and is 2.5 miles each way. From Mirror Lake, the trail heads north and northeast past several lakes to the saddle between Sugarloaf and Medicine Bow Peak. From the saddle, you can scramble south to the summit.
This is a moderate snow route on the east side of the peak.
East Side Couloir.
For of all of the Snowy Range, it is requested that all fires are at least 200 yards from lakes, streams, and trails, and no discharging firearms within vicinity of the lakes, streams, or trails.
Open fires are banned during the drier months (check with the ranger station), and for winter or low-danger months, it is recommended that campers and climbers use stoves instead of open fires. Cutting switchbacks on trails is prohibited.
Cutting down timber is strictly prohibited - even when it involves dead trees. Picking up dead timber off the ground is permitted, but even scraping dry twigs off tree branches is prohibited, and hefty fines accompany violation of this regulation.
Please tread lightly in this beautiful area.
When To Climb
The most popular and easiest season to climb here is mid or late July through mid September. Expect snow, wet or snowy trails, and wet campsites well into July and sometimes later.
Winter and spring would be a challenging, but beautiful time to climb in these mountains, but access can be difficult if you don't have a snowmobile to get to the trailhead.
Be aware of avalanches in winter and spring and lightning in summer.
Sugarloaf in September.
There are many campgrounds in the area. They can fill up fast on summer weekends, but campsite should always be available somewhere.
Campground existing hear the trailhead are Lewis Lake, Libby Lake, and Sugarloaf, near the Lewis Lake Trailhead, and at Lake Marie and Mirror Lake Campgrounds near the two other respective trailheads.
There are other informal campsites in the less congested parts of the range.
For the most part, Medicine Bow is a day hike, but backcountry camping is allowed. There are good backcountry campsites around the lakes north of the area around Medicine Bow Peak.
Mirror Lake Campground as seen in June!
Contact the Brush Creek Ranger Station:
South Hwy. 130
Saratoga, Wyoming 82331
Below is the National Weather Service Climate Summary of Fox Park, which is located in the mountains to the south of Medicine Bow Peak. The data is from 1911-1979 Fox Park is at 9070 feet elevation, so expect the temperatures on the higher elevations of the range to be around degrees colder than in Fox Park (except for cold winter nights). Higher elevations will be much wetter as well. Medicine Peak or Sugarloaf might be three times wetter than Fox Park.