Back to index Sugar Pine Mountain Trail Hike

Trip Date:  05/19/2017

: 6.8 Miles

Vertical Gain: 400'

Group Size: 2

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard   Strenuous
Sugar Pine Mountain Trail Route
Download GPXGPX for this trip

Sugar Pine Mountain Trail Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 58.922, W 121 01.622     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No
Parking Directions:   Take Highway 80 to the Clipper Gap exit (#125.)  Head one mile north on Placer Hills road.  Turn left on Sugar Pine Drive and go just about one tenth of a mile.  The parking area is a narrow turnout on the left side of the road. 
Hazards of Note:   Rattlesnakes, ticks, poison oak, and a series of steep switchbacks about halfway along the loop.
Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  Most of this trail circumnavigates a country club estate area and houses are visible from the majority of the trail.  Horses and runners frequent this trail along with hikers.
General Notes:
From the parking area head north up the road toward the gated community entrance and find the start of the hike on your left hand side.  A vertical trail marker with the mile 0 indicated on it will head on up a single track trail from here.  For the duration of the loop, the trail will follow the outside border of the Winchester Estates gated community.  Within the first mile you will pass by an open recreational field where soccer or football activities might be occuring depending on the time of year, so be wary of cars heading along the paved road you will have to cross.
Just about halfway through the loop is a series of 24 steep switchbacks up to the highest point of the trail on Sugar Pine Mountain.  This section is completely different from the easy trail on either side of it, and offers only limited visibility of the area from the top.  After dropping back down the trail bends east and then to the south after a couple miles, bringing you back to the trailhead on the other side of the road from the mile 0 marker. 

Parking area to look for on the west side of Sugar Pine Road.  There can be a number of others here in the mornings out for a run.
Parking Area

The early section of the trail is fairly flat and open, and actually goes by a small open pit mine a little off the trail past the signs which indicate "next 2000 feet are not maintained."  Worth a look. Trail head markers 

This is a pretty typical sample of the single-track trail you will follow near the 2 mile marker.  Much of the way the houses are obscured or far enough from the trail to not be a nuisance for either homeowner or hiker.
Sample trail 

The hike on this day was early enough in the season to still have much of the spring colors all throughout the area.  Keep an eye out for the trail markers which did a good job of pointing out where the trail turns may not have been completely obvious.
Wildflower colors

At various places along the trail one thought which came to mind was how much of a fire danger there was in this general area.  It was good to see some of the deadwood being cleared and taken out to lessen some of the danger.
Cleared section

There were also a few sections with built up bridges across wet or sensitive areas along the loop.  They were in decent shape and appear to be built to withstand horse traffic as well as walkers and runners. 
Water crossing

My very hot and sweaty self stopped on the bridge after having found the 24 switchbacks just prior to be a good workout on a surprisingly warm day.
On the bridge

Much of the last mile and a half parallels roads within the area so it is important to keep a lookout for which direction you need to head to say on the path.
Along the road

GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike