You can’t beat the views from one of the most popular hiking spots in the Marquette area. Sugarloaf Mountain has several viewpoints that provide a beautiful perspective on Lake Superior. And, it’s a relatively easy, quick Sugarloaf Mountain hike.
You’ll find the trailhead for the Sugarloaf Mountain hike on the east side of county road 550, also known as Big Bay Road. The trailhead parking lot is 3.5 miles from the intersection of Big Bay Road and Sugar Loaf Avenue.
Don’t be intimidated by the first thing you see, as you head up Sugarloaf Mountain. At the trailhead, you can choose “Difficult” or “Easy”. I took the difficult option, which didn’t seem all that difficult. If you have average hiking skills and abilities, you’ll do fine.
Sugarloaf Mountain Hike
The Easy and Difficult trails rejoin about halfway up the mountain and from there…
… you’ll need to climb some stairs. I don’t know an exact distance to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, and most sources don’t even mention a distance in miles. They just say it takes about 15 minutes to hike to the top, and that sounds about right.
On the way up, you’ll encounter several nice viewpoints. This spot was quite nice, even though you can see it was slightly below the more official observation deck.
Once you’re at the top…
… you can stick to the observation decks, or you can wander off on your own path. I was trying to line up some interesting rocks and trees with the sunset, which required some exploring. And unfortunately, some low clouds blocked the very best part of the sunset, but it was still an extraordinary evening.
At one of the viewpoints at the end of the Sugarloaf Mountain hike, you’ll find a stone monument…
… in honor of the most famous of the Simpsons characters. Okay, that’s not true. In this case, “BART” refers to Bartlett King, the co-founder of Boy Scout Troop 1 in Marquette, back in 1910. In 1918, King died of pneumonia in France during World War I. After his death, the scouts carried concrete and boulders up the mountain, to build the memorial.
From the viewpoints, you have an excellent view up the coast (above) and down it, towards Marquette (photo at the top of the page). It’s especially nice at sunset, and I’m guessing, at sunrise as well.
Once the sun dipped below those clouds, I hiked back down to the trailhead, and drove back to my motel in Marquette, to bring Day Two of the trip to a close. I had just one goal for Day Three: head east, and explore the Superior coast at Pictured Rocks.
Here’s a look at the drive around Marquette, Michigan, ending at Sugarloaf Mountain:
The Bottom Line
Sugarloaf Mountain is a great hike, fairly easy, and very convenient to Marquette. Hike it just before sunset, if your schedule allows.