San Juan Trail to Sugarloaf Peak Hike


At the last minute we decided to hike out and tackle Sugarloaf Peak. It’s only about 3300ft up and the trail starts at about 1,000ft. There are switchbacks and it’s got some deep ruts. The trail itself is a nice route, steady uphill but not too steep. The biggest danger out here is rattlesnakes and mountain bikers who shuttle to the top and tend to ride a solid speed for them, but expect hikers to move on a dime. We almost went down twice because of this.

All in all I highly recommend this trail on a cool day. There is barely any shade and in the heat of the day it’s a long way to go. I would recommend carrying 3-5 liters of water.

Start Location: Off highway 74 “Ortega Highway” leaving San Juan > Left on Hot Springs Canyon Road and in a few miles park on the left side. You can’t miss the parking area. The Trailhead is across the road and straight into the switchbacks.

Trail Route: Follow San Juan Trail all the way until you come to the top of the ridge, there is a big hangout area on the right side where the mountain bikers rest, directly on your left you’ll see Sugarloaf Peak about 500ft up through the scrub. Scramble to the top. Enjoy the view.

Distance: 13.7 Miles

Elevation Gain: approx 2,563ft

Time: 5:30 (with breaks)

Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous (Due to length)

Kid/Family Friendly: Not for young kids, maybe 6-7 at the youngest on a cool day. It’s a long way to go and not much to see until you get to the top.

Warnings: MOUNTAIN LION HABITAT, NO WATER, VERY LITTLE SHADE

GPS – GPX/KML file: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/DJwpoSbMv2xZQyRfdNpgUsJa/Aerial/

Resources: 

Map