Back to index Pony Express Trail to Sugarloaf hike
Trip Date:  05/02/2014

: 8.6 Miles

Vertical Gain: 1600'

Group Size: 5

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Pony Express Sugarloaf route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Pony Express Sugarloaf Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 47.208, W 120 12.564     End Coordinates:   N 38 45.967, W 120 19.114
Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   Take Highway 50 to Wrights Road.  Head up about a mile and park along the road near the start coordinates to pick up the Pony Express Trail.  Leave a second car at the end of the hike near those coordinates, which is in a wide turnout along Highway 50 just about 100 yards west of the Silverfork Store on the same side of the road.
Hazards of Note:   None. Crowd Factor:   Minimal.  Even on a busy weekend this area is infrequently visited.
General Notes:
From the parking area on the side of the road, head west and find the Pony Express Trail (marked "XP" along the way) and follow it through the forest the entire way.  The forest will open up into a more open area a few miles in, and near the end take a short side trip to the north to visit and explore around the Sugarloaf Mountain Rock formation.

One of the main trail markers along the route.  There were also many "XP" symbols as well on the trees marking the "pony eXPress" route. Trail marker
Two of our group heading out through the first half, highly forested section of the trip. Group at the start
There are a number of the old telegraph poles lining the trail, each marked with a mile and partial mile number on them. Telegraph Pole
We came across undeniable evidence that rocks truly DO grow on trees. Rock trees
There are a number of nicely done bridges along the way, and we had a good amount of water running beneath each of them after the rains from a week ago. At the first bridge
Paused for a moment at the same bridge with my niece and sister-in-law. Deanna Gail and I
One of our hikers, Mark, had some really good historical information on the trail and the history of nearby Highway 50.
Just off one part of the trail we spotted a memorial cross carved out of the tree stump.  No information on who it was for or when it was created. Unknown memorial
We have lots of views of the ever-tempting summit of Eagle Rock across the highway as we made our way down the trail. Eagle Rock
A little over halfway we found a nice shady spot with benches for everyone to stop and enjoy some lunch.
A look at Sugarloaf mountain as we approached it from the east. Sunnier section
Two of our group headed out of the shady section for the open last three miles.  Much of the damage from the Cleveland Fire is still evident. Out of the woods
We found lots of pyrite but struck out searching for gold. Searching for gold
We took a quick detour up to the base of the rock known as Sugarloaf mountain, but it was still another 500 feet of elevation to the top and we were happy to save that for another day. After Sugarloaf
On our way back to the car we were unintentionally in a gated off residental area, but came across the probable ruins of the Sugarloaf Pony Express stop. Sugarloaf stop
Almost wouldn't be right if I didn't find at least one cache along the way. One cache
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike