Sugarloaf Mountain (Chiricahuas, AZ)

March 22, 2023


Chiricahua National Monument, AZ

Sugarloaf Mountain has to be one of the most popular names in U.S. and Canada so I have to distinguish them from each other. This was already the 4th Sugarloaf that I bagged and this was locates inside Chiricahua National Monument in south-eastern Arizona. This is a very popular hike and offers some expansive views of the cool local rock formations. Nikita, Raphael and I spontaneously decided to add this hike into our last day after completing Dos Cabezas Peaks earlier in the morning. We had the entire afternoon ahead of schedule and we didn’t want to waste time.

Sugarloaf Mountain up east slopes and down the trail. GPX DL

The drive from Dos Cabezas to the trail-head took about an hour with the final few kilometers on some winding and narrow, but paved roads. We past a National Monument’s gate but nobody was inside to collect fee. The hike appeared to be too obvious to be true, so Raphael proposed to make a straight-up ascent of the east slopes from the parking lot. This seemed brilliant on the map, but actually involved fair amount of bushwhacking. We named it the “Smith Route”. I would not recommend. The summit indeed granted some nice views and there’s even a lookout perched on the top.

Raphael about to lead the “Smith Route” straight up the east face…
There were considerable amount of bushwhacking involved…
At least the view of Cochise Head was awesome…
A sideways view towards south
Nikita briefly transitioning from bushwhacking to scrambling…
Nikita pointing towards Cochise Head…
Yes, here’s another photo of Cochise Head…
Dos Cabezas Peaks in the far distance, our previous objective
Chiricahua Peak on the horizon, our previous day’s objective
Nikita taking a rest break with her shoelaces on the lookout structure
There seemed to have a wind and sand storm to the west..
Me on the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain

I had no desire to reverse the “Smith Route” so we just leisurely walked down the trail, adding considerable amount of distance but more pleasantness. Near the end of the hike we noticed some cool rock features and went on to explore. We found some class 3 routes to the top of a rock tower and that was quite fun. After completing the hike I drove us back to the town of Willcox for a much-needed shower, and then drove us back to Phoenix to catch the overnight flight. Raphael would stay a few more days in Arizona to bag peaks but Nikita and I had to work on the next day. The flight landed in Seattle at 1:30 am and we eventually crossed the border back into Canada at 8:30 am. I was too spent to drive and needed to take several hours’ nap, and Nikita subsequently missed the morning work.

Raphael about to descend, taking the trail down…
Nikita always prefers to run downhill
Raphael and I then power-walked
Passing some cool cliffs
Nikita was keen to scramble…
Nikita soon found a rock tower to scramble towards…
Raphael and I then followed. Class 3 and exposed.
Raphael and Nikita celebrating their “success”
Picacho Peak on the drive back to Phoenix. I bagged it in March 2017
We repacked our luggage with a gorgeous sunset horizon behind.