AP NEWS

Take Visitors to Sweet Sugarloaf Mountain

April 10, 2019

If you go

To the trailhead: From Broomfield take U.S. 36 west into Boulder. Turn left on Canyon Boulevard (Colo. 119). Drive west up Boulder Canyon. About a mile past the tunnel, turn right on Sugarloaf Road. In about 4.9 miles take the dirt road (right) called Sugarloaf Mountain Road. Go about 0.9 miles to the parking area.

Distance: Two miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain: 575 feet

Dogs: Yes, on leash or voice and sight command with tag

Bikes: Yes

Information: Boulder County Parks & Open Space Department, 303-441-3950

Sugarloaf is not as high as some of the other vantage points around Boulder County, and the drive to its trailhead is farther — still, it’s a nice change. Particularly if you’re entertaining non-hiking visitors.

Sugarloaf is that cone-shaped, symmetrical mountain overlooking Boulder near Gold Hill and its chief feature is that it and the neighboring community luckily survived the 1989 Black Tiger wildfire. The fire burned some 2,000 acres that July beginning in Black Tiger Gulch, named for a well-known Ute woman.

To start the hike, locate the beginning of the trail to the east of the spacious parking area near a battered metal gate. Begin your trek along an old, rocky mining road. The foot path is framed by kinnikinnick, a perennial with dark green foliage, inconspicuous purple flowers and red fruit or berries.

The area also is intermittently populated with spindly aspen, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. You can see from the parking lot how the route leads straight to the summit.

Once at the top — and it won’t take long, it’s only a mile up — look northwest to the steep slopes of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker dominating the skyline. To the east you’ll see Boulder, Louisville, Jefferson County and beyond. Take time to enjoy the view, snap a few pictures and return the way you came.

Bette Erickson is author of “Forever Young - A Hiker’s Guide” (CG Press $12.95) and other hiking books. Contact her at bette_erickson@hotmail.com .