Franklin County High Point Trip Report

Date: November 2000
Author: Denis Hanson

Sugarloaf Mountain, at 4240 feet, is Maine's second highest mountain (ignoring Katahdin's lower peaks). It can be climbed via the ski trails on its N side, and also via the road that leads to the summit buildings. These routes are defined in the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. To me, the only worthwhile approach is via the Appalachian Trail from the south. This route avoids the ski area and its summit buildings until the very end.

On ME 27 drive west, up a steep hill, for 1 mile past the entrance road to Sugarloaf Ski Area. Turn left (south) on the dirt Caribou Valley Road and follow it for 4.5 miles until it crosses the Appalachian Trail. This road was rebuilt in the last few years and is passable to most vehicles.

Park near the trail crossing. Follow the Appalachian Trail east, carefully cross the South Branch of the Carrabassett River, then climb increasingly steeply along a stream, then along the top of an old cirque. At 1.9 mi. you reach the side trail to Sugarloaf. Follow it for 0.6 mile NE up the summit cone to the above tree line summit buildings. Views are extensive, but in my opinion not as good as from Bigelow across the valley.

Round trip is 5 miles with 2300+ ft gain.