At a Glance
Hours: Open daily, 8 am until one hour before sunset, year-round.
Cost: Free. Visitors are encouraged to become members of Stronghold, Inc. to contribute support.
Tips: Hike with caution: copperheads and timber rattlesnakes are present but rarely seen. ◾ The mountain is private property, shared with the public. Visitors must be aware of and obey all rules. Obey speed limit of 15 mph. ◾ Restrooms are located in parking areas; see Trail Map at link below for locations.
Best Seasons: Year-round, although summer can be hot and buggy.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Buckeystown SE, Buckeystown CE, Urbana SW
Local MOS Chapter: Frederick Bird Club
7901 Comus Road, Dickerson, MD 20842
Sugarloaf Mountain is located south of the city of Frederick near the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. Geologically, Sugarloaf Mountain is known as a monadnock, a mountain that remains after the erosion of the surrounding land, and so rises alone above the landscape, not part of a mountain ridge. Sugarloaf has an elevation of 1,282 ft. and is covered by mature forest, with many rock formations on its slopes and at its summit. The land surrounding the mountain is mostly agricultural fields, with some second-growth stands of forest.
Sugarloaf Mountain is privately owned by Stronghold, Inc., founded in 1946 to protect and share Sugarloaf with the public. Hiking, birding, and other nature-oriented activities are welcomed here. There is a well-maintained trail system and also a road that loops through the mountain, making it possible to bird from the car.
Over 140 species have been reported on eBird from Sugarloaf Mountain. In the warm months, Sugraloaf is a good site for Eastern Screech-Owl, Brown Thrasher, Veery, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, and most woodpecker species. Common Ravens nest on the mountain. Breeding warblers include Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Parula ,and Worm-eating, Kentucky, and Black-and-white Warblers.
In spring and fall migration, Sugarloaf is good for many additional wood warblers, as well as Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Swainson’s Thrush, and Hermit Thrush. Rarely, Whip-poor-wills can be heard along Mount Ephraim Road in the spring.
Parking lots are located at the park entrance and scattered along the road that winds across the mountain. Trailheads and restrooms are located at the parking areas. See Trail Map at link at left for locations. Parking spaces are limited and may be full during the busy spring and fall seasons. Do not park on the roadsides.
Given that there is a drive-able road that loops through Sugarloaf Mountain, this can be a great place for those who are mobility-impaired, since it is possible to bird from the car. ◾ Stronghold trustees are involved in a program to restore the once-plentiful American chestnut tree to the mountain. ◾ The historic Strong Mansion at the foot of the mountain can be rented for weddings and other events. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Frederick Bird Club, which hosts fields trips and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.
From I-270, take the Hyattstown exit; continue on MD Route 109 west to Comus; turn right onto Comus Road and continue to the Sugarloaf Mountain entrance at #7901.
Frederick County: Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary ◾ C&O Canal – Mouth of Monocacy to Brunswick ◾ Catoctin Mountain Park ◾ Cunningham Falls State Park ◾ Fred J. Archibald Audubon Sanctuary ◾ Gambrill State Park ◾ Lilypons Water Gardens ◾ Seymour B. Cooper MOS Sanctuary
Features:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Birding By CarFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsYoung People / Families
Type:Driving Tour (Roadside Birding)Private Sanctuaries and Preserves