Sugarloaf

Here”s the trail leading an up and down roller-coaster pointing right at the summit itself. This was a surprisingly enjoyable 2 pointer. I was rewarded with a terrific activation that included 4 summit-to-summit contacts and my first chase from Chile!

8 APRIL 2023 W6/SC-405

Three stars – Highly recommended.
Elevation:3,326′
Route: Deeply eroded trail and use trail
Hike Distance: 8.8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,100′ including 1,100′ on the return
Navigation: Easy
Steepness: Steep in places
Vehicle: Passenger car
Road: Paved
Cell Coverage: Spotty (Verizon), APRS Excellent
Hike basics

“Sugarloaf” is one of the most ubiquitous names for a mountain, so much so that when you enter “it “sugarloaf”into the SOTA database you get the “Too many results” dialogue box. There is one in the San Gabriel Mountain and one in the San Bernardino Mountains too. However, this humble little 2 point 3,326 foot summit proves to hold it’s own as a lovely hike and summit. Despite it being a little longer hike for me than I am strictly comfortable with at near 9 miles with over 2,000 feet of gain — 1,100 feet on the return (!) — I heartily recommend it.

I initially figured I would ride my mountain bike on this one, but after a third of a mile or so it quickly became apparent that this single track was above my skill level given the loose rock and deep, deep ruts. I’m good with a mountain bike on fire roads and not a whole lot else.

So I stashed the bike and continued on foot. Punting like this left me a little short on gear – especially water. Fortunately is was a relatively cool day. I imagine the in the dog days of summer this can be a hot trek in places. There are also a lot of beautiful shady meadows along the way.

Lucious meadows near Chiquito Springs. Next time I’ll bring the water filter.

At about the 4 mile mark there is a well established use trail that leaves the San Juan Trail and ascends very steeply up the south side of Sugarloaf. While not as steep as the trail up Frankish Peak that I did the weekend prior, it’s still pretty steep.

The summit register went back a few years and didn’t show a whole lot of activity. While a lot of people do the San Juan Trail, it seems that not a lot of them take the side trip to the summit. This beautiful Saturday afternoon I had the top to myself even while the San Juan Trail was pretty busy.

As you can see, wildflowers abounded. I think spring is an excellent time to do this summit

I spent about two hours on the summit and made 23 contacts including 4 summit-to-summit QSOs and a surprise contact with Hector CE3FZL in Chile! This was the result of Jon NT6E spotting me on POTA. Thank you Jon – my #1 chaser!

Here’s a close up of the abbreviated station
The Packtenna looking northeast back to San Gorgonio Peak
The summit with Mount San Jacinto in the background
Deep ruts in places made this one a non-starter for this 67 year old mountain biker.
Looking southeast back along pretty much the entire route along the San Juan Trail
Mount San Gorgonio and San Jacinto looking east
Looking north to Santiago Peak
Looking at Sugarloaf from the trail back up what is called “Old Sugarloaf” on some maps. That is Santa Catalina Island in the distance on the left.

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Published by wringmaster

I'm a graphic artist in the movie business. When I was a kid I got interested in astronomy. When it would get too cloudy to observe the heavens, my buddy and I would sit at the VFO of his Hallicrafters S 38c like safe crackers trying to coax faraway signals out of that humble radio. My love of astronomy and radio survive to this day fifty+ years later.

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