Credits to Jesse Manzi with assistance from Joseph Resch (both pictured).
The Sugarloaf summit is a part of the infamous Devil's Path in the Catskills of New York. While none of the loops in the aptly named system can be easily traversed, most can be completed during a full day trip (6.7 miles for this loop) by strong adventurers and they offer fantastic visual rewards, especially in the heart of the autumn season!
The trail begins off the local Dale Road where you'll find a few parking spots and have the option to take the Twin Mountain loop or Sugarloaf Mountain loop. Get a good pre-trip stretch here, your legs will thank you later...You may proceed!
[Trailhead GPS: N42 09.063 W74 07.864]
No troubles to start off as you venture into the first stretch of easy trekking. The best route sends you up the east side Sugarloaf, just keep to the left at the first trail junction and follow the blue trail for about a mile until you come to the famous "chairs" of Sugarloaf, where one truly feels like King of the Mountain!
The fall foliage was fabulous from this vantage point, and it even comes equipped for all your grilling needs!
Now that lounging for a bit is out of your system, prepare yourself for the true BEAST of this hike. You'll ascend up from a few streams and a large beaver dam until reaching Pecoy Notch and the red trail of Devil's Path! It quickly becomes a knee-burner as you grind up multiple rock faces for a good mile until the trail levels a bit as you approach the summit.
The actual high point is hidden within the forest of evergreens that will make your nostrils think you have a pine fresh candle in your pack. We never enjoyed taking so many deep breaths in our lives!
Just after the true summit is a proper place to take lunch as a short off shoot (yellow trail) will leave you on a ledge overlooking the landscape. Enjoy the fruits of you labor, it's all downhill from here (well sort of!)
A few more decent clearings will present themselves as you make your way down the west side of Sugarloaf. While the ascent was difficult, this is the section to really take your time! Even during a dry time this face had steep slippery rocks that gave our heartiest of scrambling shoes a slide for their money. Those fallen leaves cover some of the slick spots as well, so proceed with caution.
Soon enough you'll leap down the last few ledges of Devi's Path and hang a right back to the blue trail to meet up with the first trail junction. If you're as exhausted as us, you'll enjoy the relative ease of the last few miles while you wearily work back towards the trail head. When you finally make it back, give yourself a pat on the back, you just CONQUERED part of the Devil's favorite playground!
*Interested in submitting YOUR adventures or a trail-tidbits? Drop me a line!*