A beautiful day to share a hike with family. Escorted my son and my sister up to Middle Sugarloaf. I didn’t look at the details of where to park, but had some idea on Zealand Road. I pulled into the camping loop first and was thinking this was small parking for a trail head. We almost left from there, then decided to drive up a bit further and found the real lot. We arrived at the lot just about 1000 and it was mostly full. I stuffed the car on the side of the road and we dipped into the woods on the Trestle Trail.
The trail led back toward the campground, which was good and bad. I knew the bridge was removed and we would have a water crossing, but considered this to be fine as water levels have been quite low lately. It was also a decent route as we needed the outhouse available at the campground. After the restroom break we walked the campground road and found the Trestle Trail sign. It was a quiet, lightly traveled trail only about .1 from the Zealand River crossing.
The river crossing was fairly easy, no spans more than 18 inches, but the water was moving swiftly so stirred my guests. After a bit of guidance the three of us made it across and on our way . We followed the yellow markers out and around a giant erratic boulder. Then it looped back to a wide path, either snowmobile trail or cross country ski trail. We followed this until it ran into the main Sugarloaf Trail.
The beginning was a mild grade with some roots and muddy rocks. We took a few minutes rest near some more enormous boulders. Once past the boulders, the trail begins to lightly steepen. The footing is great and there are well placed rock steps at the steeper sections. As we continued our pace, a few groups caught and passed us.
At the junction we headed left toward Middle Sugarloaf. A short .4 mile strip remains. This was a level section with a final steep pitch and concluded with a well placed ladder/stairs. At the summit you pop out of the trees on to some of the finest granite ledges one could experience. Wide views northeast captured the majority of the Presidential range. To the east was smaller summits Mt Oscar/Mt Rosebrook. The views south we could see Mt Hale and the Twins. And finally to the northwest we saw small town of Carroll. There is plenty of room to spread out up top and enjoy a snack and some fluids. One should definitely schedule some extra time to enjoy this small but beautiful summit.
After our rest, some snacks and our fill of photo ops, we started back down. Navigating some of the upper section took more time on the way down, but we made it safely. We continued down and zig zagged the giant glacial erraitcs. The descent was uneventful and I suspect my trail mates were wearing out. On the way down we continued on the Sugarloaf Trail past some fine stops to play in the river. We soaked our hands for a few moments before continuing back to the road, avoiding any more crossings until the road bridge at the end. Took a left on the road back to the parking lot. In hindsight everyone enjoyed the effort and rewards of the summit.