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Sugarloaf-Breakneck Loop
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
July 30, 2014
9:58 am
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EdC
Senior executive trail boss
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July 4, 2014
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When I hiked the North Point loop in Storm King State Park, I noticed there was a 3rd smaller mountain along 9D. I knew Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) and Breakneck Ridge, but I was unfamiliar with the northernmost mountain. After some quick research I found out it is called Sugarloaf Mountain. Here it is to the left of Breakneck Ridge:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..581e50.jpg

I opened up my NY-NJ Trail Conference map# 102 to plan a route. Here is what I came up with:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..a067c7.png

Now what I didn’t know at the time is that there is a hike already out there that accomplishes what I was looking to do. It can be found here: http://www.nynjtc.org/hike/sug…..idge-trail. That is the hike you should do. I did not use the red Breakneck Bypass trail on the way down and instead opted to follow the white trail all the way down Breakneck Ridge. I cannot stress enough what a mistake that was. The blazing is very hard to pick up, there are many unmarked trails that will lead you astray and the physical stress on your knees, feet and toes is extreme. It was NOT fun. So be sure to follow the NY-NJ Trail Conference guide and go right onto the red Breakneck Bypass trail!

What I can do now is post some pictures to help clarify the directions and to show you the views from Sugarloaf Mountain, which I thought were spectacular!

I parked in the largest Breakneck parking area on 9D, which is between the yellow Wilkerson Memorial trail head and the white Breakneck Ridge trail head by the tunnel. If you are coming south on Route 9D, it is about 100 yards before you get to the Breakneck Tunnel and it will be on you right. If you are coming north on Route 9D it will be 100 yards after you exit the tunnel, on your left. Park there and walk about 50 yards north on Route 9D and look for the yellow Wilkerson Memorial trail head on your right (heading into the woods). For those that hake hiked Breakneck Ridge, this trail will be familiar as it is the usual return portion of the loop. After a little ways, you will come to the junction of the red (or red on white) Breakneck Bypass trail:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..ca4863.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..96a26e.jpg

You want to bear left to stay on the yellow trail:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..b75cdf.jpg

There are a few steep parts as you climb Sugarloaf Mountain:

Looking uphill http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..5f4a9c.jpg

Not quite a scramble, but close. http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..edede1.jpg

The first scenic viewpoint affords you your first views of Breakneck Ridge:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..4cb920.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..951d16.jpg

You also get a nice view of Storm King Mountain:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..f56f18.jpg

The clearing at the 12:00 position in this picture is North Point in Storm King State Park. That is one of the places you visit in my North Point – Storm King State Park Hike:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..16ef5a.jpg

Not far after the first scenic viewpoint you will come to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. You will know when you are there when you see the cedar tree and the gnarled dead tree mentioned in the NYNJTC hike:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..75f15e.jpg

The views from the summit are spectacular:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..cfe96b.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..4c7e0b.jpg

You are almost directly on top of Pollepel Island and Bannerman Castle:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..14f578.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..6fa6e1.jpg

You can see far on a clear day. The Catskills are in the distance:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..9d1564.jpg

As is Stewart Airport:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..9ad410.jpg

Schunemunk Mountain (which is really a ridge) really stands out:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..f6a68a.jpg

Storm King http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..b102f2.jpg

Dutchess Manor http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..aa683f.jpg

More breathtaking views http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..620756.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..46de3d.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..008942.jpg

I was not expecting these types of views from Sugarloaf! I am so glad I decided to hike up it.

After the summit of Sugarloaf, continue on the yellow trail for a good stretch. you will eventually come to the blue trail intersection:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..e327cd.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..3a65cc.jpg

Go right onto the blue trail. In a short distance you will come to the junction of the white Breakneck Ridge trail:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..d29b13.jpg

Just continue straight onto the dual blazed white and blue trail:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..bc8588.jpg

You will eventually come to the part of the trail where the blue and white split. Stay right:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..c35bc0.jpg

Now the trail will be blazed with just white:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..6cd510.jpg

This is also a spot that offers more scenic views:

http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..61d016.jpg

Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..518ce7.jpg

Crow’s Nest (West Point) http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..9aebf3.jpg

South down the Hudson http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..2f2e54.jpg

Pollepel Island http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..f0c3e6.jpg

Catskills http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..8c56a7.jpg

North Point in Storm King State Park http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..b8374c.jpg

Very shortly after this scenic viewpoint you want to look for 3 red on white blazes on a large boulder to the right of the trail. That is the start of the Breakneck Bypass trail. If you miss it, you will end up taking the hellish white trail route down Breakneck like I did. Don’t miss it! The Breakneck Bypass trail will end by flowing right into the yellow Wilkerson Memorial trail that you took to start the hike. Follow that down and back to you car.

The NY-NJ Trail Conference has this as 6 miles and labels it as strenuous. I think that is a pretty fair assessment, but it is in the lighter side of strenuous. The views afforded by this hike make it one you should definitely consider! Have fun!

-Ed-

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