Hiking Guide

 New Hampshire
 New York
 Rhode Island

 View All

 NE 4,000 Footers
 NE 100 Highest
 NH 4,000 Footers
 NH 100 Highest
 NH 52 With A View
 NH Belknap Range
 NH Ossipee 10


Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Sugarloaf Mountain, Spaulding Mountain
Carrabassett Valley, ME, Mt. Abraham, ME

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking up the Lower Timberline Trail
Looking up the Lower Timberline Trail

Route: Ski trails, herd path, (Sugarloaf Mountain), Sugarloaf Side Trail, Appalachian Trail, Spaulding Mountain Spur, (Spaulding Mountain), Spaulding Mountain Spur, Appalachian Trail, Sugarloaf Side Trail, ski trails

With Sunday forecasted to be the colder of the two weekend days, we decided to plan Sugarloaf and Spaulding, due to the lesser exposure (as compared to Saddleback and the Horn). Overnight temperatures didn't dive quite as much as forecasted, resulting in a lower single digit start.

Upon hopping onto the West Mountain lift line, we snowshoed up the side of the trail to the top of that peak, then continued past Bullwinkle's and zigzagged our way up to the top of Sugarloaf, where we initially had no views.

The start of the Sugarloaf Side Trail was vague, to say the last, but memory allowed me to find it on our first attempt and soon we were back into the woods. The side trails and Appalachian Trail were both unbroken, with about a foot of powder covering up a frozen granular base. Overall, there was enough snow in the woods to put the trail blazes at knee level.

From the summit area of Spaulding, we had decent, though flurry-obscured views of the Saddlebacks and Crockers, thanks to the snow base elevating us a bit over some nearby trees.

Shortly into our return trip, an increase in winds and decrease in temperature became obvious. By the time we reached treeline on Sugarloaf again, the winds were starting to get bitter cold. With the summit still engulfed in snow clouds from snowmaking, we opted to skirt around it and get decent views just below it.

The descent was rather cold and somewhat windy - Bullwinkle's Lodge ended up being a greatly appreciated stop. After grabbing a hot chocolate and warming up, we headed back into the elements and descended back to where we had parked. At this point, it was -1, not including the windchill, at this lower elevation.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Sugarloaf Mountain
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Moderate
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Heavy
Destination: Spaulding Mountain
Length: Difficult
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Difficult
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, January 23, 2011
Hike Commenced: 8:15 AM
Parking Elevation: 2,190'
Destination: Sugarloaf Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 8:21 AM
Summit Reached: 9:41 AM
Time Elapsed: 01:20
Trailhead Elevation: 2,180'
Summit Elevation: 4,250'
Vertical Gain: 2,080'
Destination: Spaulding Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 9:41 AM
Summit Reached: 11:59 AM
Time Elapsed: 02:18
Trailhead Elevation: 4,250'
Summit Elevation: 4,010'
Distance: 2.8 miles
Vertical Gain: 825'
Hike Ended: 3:15 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 07:00
Hike Vertical Gain: 3,930'

Looking at Mt. Abraham and Spaulding Mountain from near the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain - Click to enlarge
Looking at Mt. Abraham and Spaulding Mountain from near the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain

The Appalachian Trail between Sugarloaf and Spaulding
The Appalachian Trail between Sugarloaf and Spaulding

Spaulding in the distance on the Appalachian Trail
Spaulding in the distance on the Appalachian Trail

Looking at the Crockers from near the Spaulding Mountain summit - Click to enlarge
Looking at the Crockers from near the Spaulding Mountain summit

Topographic map of Sugarloaf Mountain, Spaulding Mountain - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 16 North and East to Stratton. The Sugarloaf USA resort access will be on the right side of the road soon thereafter. A few minutes up this road, take a right onto the access road for the golf course. After driving under a chairlift, one can take a right, head downhill, and park at the bottom of the West Mountain chairlift in a parking lot adjacent to the golf course clubhouse.

Back to Sugarloaf Mountain Profile
Back to Spaulding Mountain Profile

Copyright 2002-2021, All Rights Reserved.