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Journeys Outside DC – Sugarloaf Mountain


This edition of Journeys Outside DC was written by Troy Cellmer. Troy is the Chief Editor for Active Life DC, a website that promotes fitness-related activities.

There’s a lot to enjoy about city life, but every now and then it feels good to explore greener spaces.

Sugarloaf Mountain is located roughly 35 miles north of the District in Dickerson, Md. A privately owned (but free) park, Sugarloaf was considered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the site of a presidential retreat.

However, the mountain’s owner Gordon Strong (a staunch Republican) persuaded FDR to look elsewhere and choose the site now known as Camp David.

FDR’s loss was our gain. The park features great hiking, mountain views and a trail open to bikers on weekdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

If you make the trip, plan for three to four hours of hiking and make the trek between the East and West Views.

The Sugarloaf Mountain website provides a good map, but here are a few details.

To begin, park at the East View and make the short hike up the Orange Trail to the peak. From there, make your way down the Green Trail over to the Blue Trail and hike it out to the West View. After checking out the West View, loop back to the parking on the Blue and White Trails for a total of about six miles. The hike involves some serious hills, so be ready for a workout!


Here is the best part – after exploring the mountain, you can enjoy a nice glass of wine (or Sangria in the summer!) at the nearby Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard.

The winery, open for tastings seven days a week from 12 noon to 6 p.m., won The Washington Post Expresses’ award for Best Vineyard in 2012.

When you finish tasting, there is live music on the weekends and plenty of green space for a picnic.

Hiking and wine sound like a good plan? Visit the Sugarloaf Mountain website website for park rules, trail maps and directions. For winery details, visit the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard website.

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