1.6 miles round trip - approximately 2 hours hiking time.
Sugar Loaf Mountain Nature Trail is a foot trail built by employees of the Greers Ferry Project Office of the Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District. Since Sugar Loaf Mountain is an island located on the western end of the upper lake, the trail can only be reached by boat. The nearest marinas are Sugar Loaf and Fairfield Bay.
At the water’s edge where the trail begins is a courtesy dock. In this same area, a large information sign provides a map of the trail. From this point, visitors can walk leisurely along the winding path. Numerous rest stops along the trail allow visitors to set their own pace while enjoying the panoramic view.
Visitors begin their trek to Sugar Loaf Mountain in the spring, when wildflowers in the lower elevations are beginning to bloom. They increase in numbers during the summer, when hiking and sight-seeking are at their best. Then comes the fall season, when the whole area glows with radiant color as frost-touched leaves take on the flaming hues that foretell the coming of winter.
As you ascend the winding trail, you will be spellbound by the variety of vegetation and sandstone formations. Tree roots form a natural deterrent to erosion. The trail is well drained even after heavy rainfalls.
Sugar Loaf Mountain is the result of a long erosional and weathering process. The rock which forms the top of the mountain has served as a protective cap for the underlying softer shale and sandstone. The flat-topped surface and nearly vertical walls are characteristic of an erosional process referred to as pedimentation. The rocks forming the mountain are more than 300 million years old.
As you approach the top of the climb, you encounter silhouettes of red cedars reaching toward the sky. Throughout the climb, you’ll be seeing sassafras, mimosa, redbud, sumac, red oak, winged elm, black gum, persimmon, pecan, sweet gum, red maple, and mint trees. Mingled among the trees are wild grape, saw brier, huckleberry, blackberry, wild azalea, summer grape, prickly pear cactus, blackberry, possum grape and muscadine.
In the rustle of leaves on the forest floor, you might see a lizard, a chipmunk, or a land terrapin with its bright orange-spotted black front legs. The island is a game refuge. Deer have been observed making their way to the island from the mainland. The many cave and crevices in the sandstone house an abundance of wildlife. Raccoons, opossums, fox, mink, bobcat, rabbits, squirrels, armadillos, turkeys, beaver, and numerous species of birds inhabit the island’s forest.
The trail attracts many visitors each year. Boy and Girl Scout troops, bird watchers, naturalists, church and school groups, families and individuals all come to enjoy the unlimited adventure of Sugar Loaf Mountain.