The view North
There are many "Sugarloafs" in the New York, New England area. This peak is one of 2 Sugarloafs in the Hudson Highlands State Park and is located halfway between Beacon and Cold Spring. The other "Sugarloaf" is to the south just north of Bear Mountain Bridge and is often called Sugarloaf Hill.
This mountain sits just north of Breakneck Ridge
, and Southwest of Mt Beacon
and the Fishkill Ridge, and east of the Hudson River. It's not as tall as its neighbors but the little cone shaped mountain with a mostly open summit provides excellent views in a short but steep hike. It's makeup is typical of the Hudson Highlands area. Steep, very rocky, and scenic.
Map not for navigation
From NYC take the George Washington Bridge to the Palisades Interstate Parkway (going north). Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway for about 40 miles until its end at the Bear Mountain Bridge. Cross the Bear Mountain Bridge and make a left onto Route 9D (north).
Take Route 9D north for about 11 miles passing through the town of Cold Spring. About two miles north of Cold Spring you will drive through an underpass. Park on the roadside just north of the underpass (GPS: N 41.44354, W 073.97791).
The total driving time is estimated at one hour without traffic.
Once you have found a location to park find the Yellow Trail which starts on the EAST side of the road just north (apprx 1/4 mi) of the tunnel. The trail switchbacks up the side of the Breakneck Ridge. Soon you come to Grasshopper Falls,and the trail will turn sharply to the left while the falls is a few yards off to the right.
Here on an old road walking is easy and you soon reach the junction with the Red Trail coming down from Breakneck. Continue straight on the Yellow Trail. Soon you come to a junction where the old road veers to the right, the trail dips down and crosses "Sugarloaf Gorge" on the left fork of the trail. After crossing the stream the trail begins steeply climbing on switchbacks to the summit. The summit is mostly open and views can be seen in all directions with a little exploring.
One item of Historic interest is Bannerman Island
, that can only be accessed by water and explored via guided tour but will be right below you to the East. Known originally as Pollepel Island, this island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This majestic Hudson River landmark is home to Bannerman Castle, built by American entrepreneur Frank Bannerman VI between 1901 and 1918.
As you can see from the map there are many trails in the Highlands and lots to enjoy!
Park is open daily, sunrise to sunset. Hunting: Deer hunting (bow only) and spring turkey hunting (shotgun only) is permitted in season. A New York State Hunting License as well as a Park Permit is required. Please call the Park Office for more details.
Dogs are permitted on trails, on a leash of not more than 10 feet.
No Camping or fires are allowed in theHudson Highlands State Park.
Stay on the trails to minimize the impact on the forest environment. Shortcuts across switchbacks, which lead to erosion problems, are especially damaging.
Maintaining a quality hiking experience requires keeping the trails free of litter and the environment undisturbed. Carry out and take home everything you bring in.
Wear sturdy shoes or boots with non-slip soles. Dress in layers of clothing so you can adjust for changing conditions.
Blazed trails sometimes traverse private property, the result of carefully negotiated agreements. Exercise care so the trail status is not endangered. If unmarked trails or woods roads extend into private property, respect the privacy of the owners and do not trespass.
Health and Safety
Be conscious of your risks. An injury on the trail, where there is no quick access to medical help, is always a serious matter, especially in winter, or on a seldom-used trail where assistance in an emergency cannot be counted on. Leaving the route you plan to hike and the time you expect to return with a responsible person is a sensible precaution if you hike alone.
No water found on the trails is safe to drink. Carry an adequate supply of water with you.
The deer tick, which transmits Lyme Disease, is common in this area. In its nymph stage, it is no larger than a pinhead. Light colored clothing will make ticks easier to detect. Long sleeves and trousers tucked into socks will help, but there is no sure defense. Check yourself thoroughly after every hike.
Rabies is prevalent in raccoons, skunks and bats. Avoid any direct contact with wildlife.
Poison ivy is widespread in some sections. Keeping to the center of trails will help avoid it, as well as minimize exposure to ticks.