By Molly Pinson
From certain locations in Loudoun, you can look to the North and see, in the distance, a single hill that rises out of an otherwise flat landscape in Maryland. That rise is Sugarloaf Mountain, and it is covered in well-maintained, easy-to-navigate trails that make for a perfect afternoon exploring with your family, or perhaps your favorite furry (and leashed) friend.
For me, getting to Sugarloaf was almost as much fun as hiking it. Not only was the drive very scenic, but I opted to cross the Potomac on White’s Ferry, something I’ve enjoyed doing ever since I was a kid. Something about the ferry seems so much more special than just a boring old bridge. If you’ve never used White’s Ferry before a round-trip ticket will cost you $8. Get there by heading North out of Leesburg on Rt. 15 and you’ll see Whites Ferry road on the right.
When you disembark from the ferry, you’ll make a left on Wasche Rd., then right on Dickerson Rd. Then turn right on Mt. Ephraim Rd. which takes you to Sugarloaf Mountain.
There are several intersecting trails, all very well marked, at Sugarloaf, and it’s easy to choose a long or short, easy or more strenuous circuit. A downloadable trailmap can be found at sugarloafmd.com/sl_trails.html. I recommend following the blue trail to White Rocks. There are also horse trails for equestrians.
The East View parking lot has a picnic area with a beautiful vista. Why not bring a cooler with a picnic to leave in the car, spend the morning exploring the woods, then come back to your car and dine al fresco? Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!
This time of year is one of my favorite times to hike. (Ok, I admit, there’s never a time that isn’t one of my favorite times to hike.) It’s the height of spring and you can just smell the earth coming to life. The redbud trees (did you know they’re native to our region? are blooming and their purplish-pink blossoms are beautiful against the new green in the trees. So call up your favorite hiking companion and tell him to dust off his walking shoes! The high-season for hiking is here!