New England Hiking -

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine

On this page: Information | Trail maps | View Photos | Driving Directions
Sugarloaf Mountain Information

Elevation: 4,250 feet (1,295 meters)
Prominence: What is Prominence? 3,180 feet (969 meters)
Location: Carrabassett Valley, Maine (Franklin County)
Range: High Peaks
Coordinates: 45°01'53" North     70°18'47" West
Rating: How do the ratings work? Moderate/Difficult
Features: Peak bag What is Peak Bagging?, Sugarloaf USA Ski Resort, Appalachian Trail, Sugarloaf Trail
Distance of highlighted hike below: 13.2 miles with Spaulding Mountain and Mount Abraham. (or hike just Sugarloaf at 4.2 or 5.8 miles)

Sugarloaf Mountain is a 4,250 foot mountain in the High Peaks in Carrabassett Valley, Maine in Franklin County. It is the 3rd highest peak in the state of Maine after Katahdin Baxter Peak, and Katahdin Hamlin Peak. The Appalachian Trail (which spans from Maine to Georgia) passes within a mile of Sugarloaf's summit.

Sugarloaf Mountain is more commonly known for the popular ski resort which is on the North side of the mountain.

There are two options for hiking up Sugarloaf Mountain: Hiking up the Appalachian Trail and crossing over to the Sugarloaf Trail, or you can hike up the ski trails (provided it is not ski season.)

For peak-baggers:
Mount Spaulding is 2.7 miles from the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain
Mount Abraham is 6.3 miles from the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain

Lists Sugarloaf Mountain are on: = A patch is available for this list
New England 4,000 footers
New England 4,000 footers in Winter season
New England Hundred highest
New England Hundred highest in Winter season
Northeast 111
     New England Fifty Finest


spaudling and sugarloaf mountain from abraham
Looking at Spaulding Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain from the summit of Mount Abraham on June 9, 2014.

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail Maps - Directions from the parking lot to the summit Top

The map below shows how to get to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain as well as Spaulding Mountain and Mount Abraham.

This hike is a traverse from the Fire Warden's Trail up Mount Abraham to the Caribou Valley Road Appalachian Trail crossing after Sugarloaf Mountain, so you will need a car spot (car at the beginning and end of the hike). There is a local taxi service phone number below in the driving directions for hikers!

Hike up the Fire Warden's Trail for 4 miles and you will reach the open summit of Mount Abraham. There is a non-climbable tower as well as a hidden rock shelter. After enjoying views on this summit, continue hiking another 1.7 miles (the trail name changes to the Mt Abraham Side Trail.) There was no sign with trail names or which way to go on June 2014, but the only 2 trails coming off the summit of Abraham is the Fire Warden's Trail and the Mt Abraham Side Trail. (Well technically you could say there are 3 trails coming off the summit. The 3rd being the South Side Trail. This trail is not on most maps and is mainly used by locals since you have to drive on many unnamed old logging roads to get to the unmarked traillhead. This website might be of help with directions.)

After the 1.7 miles, you will be at the Appalachian Trail junction where you will turn right onto the Appalachian Trail. Hike for 1.1 miles where you will come to a little junction with the Spaulding Mountain Campsite. Staying on the Appalachian Trail, continue another 0.8 miles to the summit of Spaulding Mountain.

To head over to Sugarloaf Mountain, continue along the Appalachian Trail for 2.1 miles until you come to a junction with the Sugarloaf Trail. Turn onto this trail and hike the last 0.6 miles to Sugarloaf's summit.

From the summit of Sugarloaf, rehike the last 0.6 miles you just did on the Sugarloaf Trail to get back to the Appalachian Trail. From the junction, go right on the Appalachian Trail for 2.3 miles where you will reach Caribou Valley Road.

Another option: From the summit of Sugarloaf: instead of hiking back to the Appalachian Trail, you can hike down the ski trails (if it is not ski season). This is the shorter route, but also rather difficult to hike ski trails. You would need a car spot for this option as well.

Rollover the map below to see a closer view
trail map sugarloaf mountain spaulding mount abraham via appalachian trail fire wardens trail from rapid stream or caribou valley traillhead. sugarloaf hiking map, hikers map sugarloaf ski resort carrabassett valley maine 4000 footers new england
Click to download PDF Trail Map of Sugarloaf Mountain.

sugarloaf spaulding abraham hiking altitude graph


Sugarloaf Mountain View Photos Top

appalachian trail between spaulding mountain and sugarloaf mountain
Heading over to Sugarloaf Mountain from Spaulding Mountain on June 9, 2014.


summit hiking photo sugarloaf mountain
Heading over to Sugarloaf Mountain from Spaulding Mountain on June 9, 2014.


mount abraham fire wardens trail river crosing bridge damaged rapid stream road
The second river crossing on the way to the Fire Warden's Trailhead on the way up to Mount Abraham before hitting Spaulding then Sugarloaf on June 9, 2014.

Sugarloaf Mountain Driving Directions to both parking lots Top

NOTE: This hike might require some road walking because a couple bridges have washed out on Rapid Stream Road. Word is that they will not be replaced anytime soon. So you will have to park before the washed out bridges.

To get to the Rapid Stream Trailhead parking area for the Fire Warden's Trail:
From Sugarloaf USA Ski Resort, drive 14.7 miles South on Route 16 / 27. Turn right onto West Kingfield Road. Drive 3.5 miles. (This road will become a dirt road at the 3.3 mile mark). Right after the road turns to a dirt road, you will come to a 4 way intersection. Go straight through this. This is Rapid Stream Road. Drive 2.6 miles on this rough rocky road where you will reach a major fork. Take the left fork, and you will have to park near this area, because as you will see, the bridge over Rapid Stream has been damaged and fallen, so your hike will start before the actual trailhead and you will have to cross the river on foot. (There is a second bridge after the first that was also damaged, so you will have to cross this on foot as well. This 2nd river crossing can be difficult if the water is high, and might require you to take off your shoes.)

To get to the Caribou Valley Road (Caribou Pond Road) Appalachian Trail crossing parking area:
Take Route 27 northwest from the entrance to Sugarloaf ski area. It is roughly 1 mile from the Sugarloaf entrance to Caribou Valley Road (also called Caribou Pond Road) and will be on the left. This road was not signed in June 2014. The trail for this hike is 4.4 miles up the road. There is a small clearing for parking just before this. The trail is not signed from the road and can be easy to miss, but if you track it, is is 4.4 miles from the beginning of the road on the left.

When you are driving on Caribou Valley Road, you will pass several bridges (two that are wood, and in terrible condition, and one that is metal right before a hill), so you will have to use your judgment whether or not your vehicle can drive over this, otherwise some people opt to park before the bridges and walk the rest. It is unclear if these bridges will be replaced, but as of June 2014 they are still damaged.

Need a car spot or taxi?

There is a local small business called All Points Transportation run by a man named Greg in the Carrabassett Valley area who can help! If you need a car spot to a trailhead or for any other reason, give him a call to see if he is available. 207-329-3482.


On this page: Information | Trail maps | View Photos | Driving Directions | Top


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