Sugarloaf Mountain is located in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is about 7 miles southeast of Big Bear Lake, CA. While there are higher peaks in the nearby San Gorgonio wilderness, it is a prominent peak in the area standing 9952 feet tall (3032m). While the summit is sort of anticlimatic, the views along the upper parts of the trail are outstanding. Looking south, you get a great view of southern california’s highest peak (San Gorgonio - 11499') and all its nearby 10k peaks. To the north (-west), you can see as far as the eye can reach. On a clear day, I believe you can even see the snowcapped (in winter at least) Sierra!
Sugarloaf Mountain was first climbed by Weldon Heald in 1938 and the peak was named after its resemblence (whatever that means).
There are various ways to climb this peak. The directions mentioned below can be used for both a summer and winter ascent. In summer, there are shorter approaches.
From Big Bear Lake, drive east on hwy 18, eventually taking hwy 38 (south). At approximately 9 miles from Big Bear Lake, turn right on Hatchery Drive (2N93). If you are coming from the ‘other’ side, Hatchery Drive is located about 26mi from Angelus Oaks (turn left on 2N93).
In winter you will have to park at the gate and walk 1.25mi to the trailhead. When the gate is open, you can drive this part; the road is easily passable for regular passenger vehicles.
Unless you need a Forest Adventure Pass to park on the dirt road (?), I don’t think any passes/permits are required (somebody correct me if I’m wrong).
Edit: no passes or permits are required (see additions/corrections by tarol)
When to climb
The mountain can be climbed year round. In winter, snow shoes and crampons/ice axe may be required. Chain restrictions are sometimes in effect on hwy 18/38 after recent snowfall.
All kinds of info on the San Bernardino National Forest (road closures, etc.):
Other road descriptions by the Sierra Club: