Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Other Sugarloaf

After feeling "under the weather" yesterday I was not on my "A-game" today. But it was such a beautiful day that I had to get out and hike somewhere. So after sleeping in this morning I found the perfect hike for today. Back in March I hiked the Sugarloafs off of Zealand Road. The plan for today was to hike Sugarloaf Mountain deep in the Nash Stream Forest via the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail.

 The greeting at Nash Stream Road

 Sugarloaf Mountain

 I couldn't find the phone

A fork in the trail

Although this hike is close to my house it is a long way down a dirt road. From Route 110 I turned onto Emerson Road on my way to Nash Stream Road and an 8.3 mile desolate drive to the trailhead. The AMC Guide has very precise and accurate directions for finding this trail and I set my odometer when I reached the dirt road. At right around 8.3  miles I crossed a bridge and saw the driveway on the left. There was one car parked there when I arrived.

 Easy-under blowdown

 Walk-around blowdown

 Clearing at the old fire warden's cabin remains

There is no trail sign located here. The hike starts at the driveway and passes by a camp, crosses a small bridge and around a gate. The trail soon comes to a fork and there are signs posted here. The trail to the summit bears right and continues on an old road. For a little used area I was surprised that there was no brush growing on this road. It did have it's share of blowdowns that were easily crossed or bypassed.

 Remains of the fire warden's cabin


This trail is a steady, gradual climb to the summit, keyword being steady. After not feeling well yesterday I found myself resting more than usual and drinking lots of water. It was warm but there was an ocassional cool breeze blowing and it felt good.

I came up to a clearing and this is where the remnants of the fire warden's cabin can be found. To the left of the clearing is an old spring. There is heavy growth along this section of trail but it soon goes back into the woods and it's clear hiking from here to the summit.


It was along the upper part of the trail that I met fellow hiker Jack. I recognized him from his Facebook posts. He would be the only hiker that I would see today. We talked for a few minutes then went our separate ways, he was descending and I continued my ascent.

The summit was close and I was soon standing on top. The views to the north, south and east were spectacular! There were no clear views to the west. I spent some time taking photos, eating and resting. After a half hour I felt revived and ready to make my descent.


It was a quick trip back down. As steady as it was going up it was just as steady going back down. The ascent took me 1:30 and the descent was 45 minutes. For anyone looking for a remote, solo hike with no crowds this is the one. Although a short hike it would be a very long walk out if there was a dead car battery waiting at the trailhead. I did not see or pass any other cars for over 5 miles as I drove back out on Nash Stream Road.

 Appropriately named cabin

 North Percy Peak

 Nash Stream

A look back at Sugarloaf Mountain

I was glad that I made the effort to get out on the hiking trail on such a beautiful day even though I was not feeling up to par. After the hike I felt much better although a bit more fatigued than usual for such a short hike. There's no doubt that every hiker enjoyed the spectacular weather and views in the White Mountains today!

Final ascent to the summit

Panoramic view from Sugarloaf Mountain

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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