16 – Sugarloaf

Nestled next to Mount Erie on Fidalgo Island, hiking to the summit of Sugarloaf has been on the gotta-get-to list for awhile. Growing tired of our local (muddy) Chuckanut trails, with clear skies overhead and barely an hour’s drive away, Sugarloaf exceeded all expectations.  A short (barely more than a mile each way), but steep (an elevation gain of about 1,000′) hike up a series of trails, there is a lookout where you can enjoy the view. A great excuse to take a break before making that final ascent to the summit, the view is spectacular.

Taking a break at the lookout on the way to the summit . . . enjoying the view

As I mentioned last week on my Hike #12 – Heart and Whistle Lakes, a set Anacortes Community Forest Land (ACFL) trail maps is almost essential when hiking in this area because there is such a maze of intersecting trails. Turned out, the Lake Erie Grocery was out of those maps last week so the dear, old gentleman at the Lake Erie Grocery had carefully drawn out a make-shift map for us so we were able to complete that hike without getting lost. Today’s hike included several different intersecting trails and hoping to purchase a map before hitting the trail, I stopped at the store once again in hopes that their supply of maps had been restocked. Sure enough, they had, so with maps in hand, we continued on our way.

Me . . . at trailhead for ACFL #215, ready to start the climb to the summit of Sugarloaf

We started out from the parking area near the base of the road that goes up to the top of Mount Erie on ACFL Trail #215. After about a quarter of a mile, we passed Trail #210 (to Heart Lake) on the left, but we continued to the right on Trail #215. That is about where the trail became a steep climb for the remainder of the way to the summit. The forest was absolutely beautiful as we climbed and bright sunshine filtered through the trees.

Climbing the switchbacks up the mountain . . .

Finally, turning off of Trail #215 after one steep mile and onto Trail #226, we had but one final push left to reach the summit. Once at the summit, we followed Trail #238 around the perimiter and marveled at the views of Whidbey Island, Vancouver, B.C., the San Juan Islands, the Skagit Valley, Mount Baker and the Cascades, Mount Erie, and Heart Lake. Absolutely spectacular!

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