Sugarloaf Mountain

  • Distance: 12.4 miles round trip

  • Elevation

    • Trailhead: 8420 feet​

    • Summit: 12593 feet

    • Gain: 4450 feet

  • Road Status: Middle Fork Road (FR636)

  • Trail ConditionsMiddle Fork Trail (589)

  • Trail Map (no trail the last 0.5 miles)

  • Trailhead directions: (25.9 miles north of downtown Pagosa Springs)

  • Start EARLY! Check the weather forecast for Wolf Creek Pass.  If there's a chance for thunderstorms, plan on being off the summit by at least 11 am!

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

Middle Fork Trail

Middle Fork Trail

Cow Parsnip

Cow Parsnip

Lean Creek

Lean Creek

Parry's Primrose

Parry's Primrose

Colorado Blue Columbine

Colorado Blue Columbine

Sugarloaf Peak

Sugarloaf Peak

Middle Fork Trail

Middle Fork Trail

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

View South from Sugarloaf

View South from Sugarloaf

View West from Sugarloaf Mountain

View West from Sugarloaf Mountain

Toner Mountain from Sugarloaf

Toner Mountain from Sugarloaf

Alpine Sunflowers

Alpine Sunflowers

Sugarloaf Mountain is a seldom climbed peak that is visible from the Piedra Area.  It is located in the Weminuche Wilderness and is close to the Continental Divide.  It divides the waters between the Middle Fork and East Fork of the Piedra Rivers.  It is best accessed from the Middle Fork Trail.  The low starting elevation makes for a strenuous day.  

The Middle Fork Trail crosses the Middle Fork of the Piedra almost immediately.  There is no bridge, but there is currently a large cottonwood tree spanning the river just upstream of the river ford.

The trail is flat as is parallels the beautiful river terrace, winding between large ponderosa pines and cottonwoods.  At mile 0.8, you'll reach the wilderness boundary and you will begin climbing steeply (really steeply for 3/4 a mile) as you ascend above the river valley.  The southern switchbacks will offer great views of the river valley below. 

 

At mile 3.1, you'll cross Lean Creek, which could be difficult at high water.  I continued following the trail until I broke treeline around mile 5.6, but you can break off the trail earlier.  At that point, I traversed the tundra and scrambled up the rocky northern spine.  The talus is loose in spots, but gets progressively larger and more stable the higher you go.  There is very little expose since the spine and summit are broad.   

 

From the summit, Pagosa Peak can be seen to the south, and Toner Mountain is to the southwest. 

 
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Lean Creek

Middle Fork Trail