Sugarloaf Mountain

Big Bear City, California 92386

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This is the highest peak outside the wilderness in the San Bernardino National Forest. You do not need a wilderness permit, but you will be afforded all the views of the San Gorgonio area you can possibly imagine. This trek is a pretty straightforward journey through high alpine forest nearly topping out at 10,000 feet. The short distance and relatively light altitude gain would seem to make this an ideal outing with dogs, and it is, provided that they are well conditioned before you go. This is by far one of the rockiest trails you can take in Southern California, and consequently can be extremely hard on your pet’s paws. There is no water along this route either, so bring plenty."

More Sugarloaf Mountain Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire (Wilderness Press)
David & Jennifer Money Harris
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"The rounded Sugarloaf Mtn. (9952´) is the tallest summit in the San Bernardino Mountains outside the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Located at the interface of two vegetation zones, it supports both the rich forests of Jeffrey pines and white firs common in the San Bernardino high country, and the juniper and pinyon pine woodland of the desert slopes. In late August and early September, lucky hikers may see the rare black swallowtail butterfly (Papilo bairdi). A forest service road leads high onto the shoulder of the mountain. This hike takes advantage of the road and follows the easiest path up the east ridge to the summit."
Hiking Southern California (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison
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"This challenging trip leads to the only subalpine summit in the San Bernardino Mountains outside the San Gorgonio Wilderness; from this mountain, inspiring vistas unfold. Hikers who are looking for solitude in subalpine surroundings but are tired of encountering the typical hordes of hikers in the San Gorgonio Wilderness will find that Sugarloaf Mountain is just what they have been searching for. The lodgepole and limber pine–crowned summit provides a comprehensive view of the entire eastern end of the San Bernardino Mountains, a view unrivaled from any other point in the range. This hike follows the shortest route to the summit and requires a little route finding at the start. The hike begins at a seldom-used trailhead (the highest in the range) and avoids the conventional, longer routes starting at lower elevations."

Sugarloaf Mountain Trip Reports

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There are actually two ways to do this hike. But either way the trail is not as easy as it may sound. Make sure you have good boots as the trail resembles more of a dried up creek bed with all sorts of stones and rocks. the surface is not stable. This trip we actually started at a place called green spot which increases the elevation climb as well as the length of the trail to a five mile trip. while it is known that there is no water supplied on the hill, it should also be noted that this is a DRY MOUNTAIN. The tributaries on the map by August are quite dry. We stayed over night but not at the peak. The sites to actually pitch a tent are kind of spread out a bit and there are PLENTY of rocks to lay on. The trip has very few switch backs and coming back down can be as challenging as going up. The Summit was beautiful and majestic. I would probably say that this trail is on the higher end of moderate. You can see more about this at the Southern California TrailBlazers' web site,

Sugarloaf Mountain Photos

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Trail Information

Big Bear City
Nearby City
1,500 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3.5 hours
San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Discovery Center
Local Contacts
USGS Moonridge
Local Maps

Trail Log