Sugarloaf Circumnavigation - East
ElevationAscent: 256' 78 m
Descent: -254' -77 m
High: 405' 123 m
Low: 266' 81 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
Current trail conditions
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“A short, demanding ride with amazing views, otherworldly geology, and opportunity for solitude.”— Karl Ingersoll
The northeast segment is unremarkable, doubletrack that completes the loop.
Pass the point where Picnic Table intersects the ride from the east and the trail turns west, off the main doubletrack, toward the peak. The route follows what might be considered a road, but only by the most generous of standards. Full of boulders and no clear tread, this track will take you up to the base of Sugarloaf Peak. Ride if you're able and pat yourself on the back if you make it; then wait for the rest of us as we HAB up. There is a track that parallels the "road" to the south, and it would be great to get this ridden in, but it is very challenging and disappears often.
At the base of Sugarloaf, you can take a hiking break and do some scrambling up to the peak. With awesome views and a spot to get a break from the sun in the shade of a big rock or the cliff face, this is one of the better places to take a break on this ride.
As you ride south down into the valley, watch for the owls that roost on the cliffsides. The descent begins with bare bed-rock. There is a small waterfall here (no water), so be prepared for a couple of small drops. One is tall and steep enough to send you over the bars if you ride it wrong. Following the bare rock, you'll find the balance of the descent is loose and eroded. The descent is followed by some nice swooping, skinny singletrack with more stable tread. You'll pass a number of intersecting trails, some well-ridden, others frequented most often by desert bighorn and mule deer. Ride down into Black Canyon and get ready for a good workout.
The ride into Black Canyon offers surprisingly picturesque views but includes the rather daunting view of the trail climbing up out of the valley. With a slope of 20% +, occasionally topping 30%, and a couple of gnarly switchbacks, this climb is certainly a challenge, but the tread is more stable and rideable than most of the trails in this area, making this is a great hill for developing your climbing skills. This hill is an awesome downhill ride the other direction, but the requisite climb coming from the other direction is not rideable for most riders as it is made up of loose gravel on 30 - 40% grade.
There are great views, again, when you crest the saddle, then a loose sluice ride down the back side. At the bottom, the trail changes character dramatically becoming a beautiful, easy to ride, trail that is narrow and rugged, but with great flow. There are no challenging climbs and no gravely descents, making this a great wrap-up to a good workout or a great warm-up if going the opposite direction.