Sugarloaf Mountain: A Short Hike to an Amazing View

Michigan is home to hundreds of great hiking trails to explore – many of which offer spectacular views to enjoy along the way. Today, native “Yooper” Jesse Land takes us on a journey through Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette, which he thinks rewards hikers with one of the best views in Michigan.

Marquette is full of excellent hikes and beautiful views. One shining example is Sugarloaf Mountain. The trailhead for Sugarloaf is just a few miles from downtown Marquette, the turnoff from county road 550 is well marked, and it’s a relatively quick hike to the top where you’re rewarded with one of the best views in the Upper Peninsula.

The Hike to the Top

On a recent hike, my first time to Sugarloaf Mountain, two friends and I took the “difficult” route and made it up in about fifteen minutes. There’s an optional “easy” route with a tamer grade that takes a little longer, but both paths up the mountain do require a extra care as rocks and roots stick out of the ground along much of the path.

Most people come to Sugarloaf for the view, but the forest canopy that envelops the trails is worth mentioning. With century old trees and ancient rock outcroppings, this trail reminds me of a few of the better hikes I’ve done in the rainforests of Australia. It really is a gorgeous area.

As we approached the top, the dirt trail switched to a series of wooden stairs that brought us up to the viewing area. At the top we were rewarded with a stunning view of Lake Superior, Marquette, Presque Isle Park and Little Presque Isle as well as Hogsback Mountain and the large swath of forest between Marquette and Big Bay.

Photo courtesy of Crag Grabhorn @ Chalet Press

The Stone Monument

Also at the summit is a stone obelisk erected long ago by Boy Scout Troop 1 to commemorate their assistant scoutmaster Bartlett King. King had helped to establish the local troop, which is one of the claimants of first Boy Scout Troop in the U.S. He later fought and died in World War I and his troop members wanted to construct a memorial that his mother could see from her home on Marquette’s arch street.

Three Observation Decks

As we stood there, about 1,000 feet above sea level, I was impressed with how much work has been put into this viewing area. Three viewing platforms situated atop Sugarloaf Mountain offer three slightly different vantage points. The first observation deck faces southward toward Marquette and offers a view of the Superior Dome, the Upper Ore Dock and Presque Isle Park. The second deck faces northward toward Wetmore Landing and Little Presque Isle island. And the third platform faces westward and offers a great view of Hogsback Mountain.

After the Hike

After our hike we opted for a late lunch in downtown Marquette, but deciding where to eat was no easy task as Marquette County is filled with excellent dining options, not to mention being home to four of the thirteen Upper Peninsula Breweries.

Getting There

Sugarloaf Mountain is located about six miles north of downtown Marquette on CR 550. Get there by taking Washington Street to Fourth Avenue. Turn north onto Fourth Ave., which becomes Presque Isle Ave and drive .4 miles to Hawley Street. At Hawley Street, turn west (left). Hawley becomes CR 550. Drive about 4.0 miles on Hawley Street/CR-550 to the parking area. A sign that reads “Sugarloaf Mountain” marks the parking area and is easily visible from CR 550.

Have you been to Sugarloaf Mountain? What did you think?

This blog post was written by Jesse Land on behalf of Travel Marquette Michigan. Marquette County is home to some of the best hiking, biking, motorcycling, beaches, breweries and restaurants in the Upper Peninsula. Learn more about beautiful Marquette County at www.travelmarquettemichigan.com.

11 Little Known Facts about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Jesse Land, a native Yooper, runs the U.P. travel site “Things to do in the U.P.” (www.thingstodointheup.com). Today on our blog, he shares 11 little known facts about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

1. The Mackinac Bridge fare today for a standard passenger vehicle is $4.00. When the bridge first opened in 1957, the fare was $3.75. That’s about $28.71 in today’s dollars! The reason for the seemingly high fare was that was the cost of a ferry ticket to get across the straights of Mackinac was $3.75. So, drivers could either pay $3.75 to ferry across (which took a while) or pay the same price and drive across in just a few minutes!

2. Former U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt once sued an Upper Peninsula newspaper for slander, and won. He sued the paper for the nominal charge of 6 cents, or in his words, “The cost of a good newspaper.” The paper in question was called the Iron Ore, and had accused Roosevelt of public drunkenness.

3. “Win one for the Gipper” is a famous quote from the 1940 movie “Kunute Rockne All American,” starring Ronald Regan. In real life, George Gipp, aka “The Gipper” was Notre Dame’s first All American player, and he was from the little town of Laurium in the Upper Peninsula!

4. Michigan has eighty three counties, and the last one to be formed was Dickinson County in the Upper Peninsula. It was formed in 1891 from parts of Marquette, Menominee and Iron counties.

5. The largest inland lake in the Upper Peninsula is Lake Gogebic.  Its fourteen miles long and two and a half miles wide, covering 13,380 acres.

6. The state bird is the robin. The state stone is the Petoskey Stone. The state flower is the apple blossom, and the state tree is the Eastern White Pine. The state gem is chlorastrolite, which is commonly known as “Michigan Greenstone” and found largely in the Upper Peninsula.

7. Almost all of Michigan is located in the Eastern Time Zone. However, the Upper Peninsula has four counties that lie in the Central Time Zone. Those counties are Iron, Dickinson, Gogebic, and Menominee.

8. Bishop Baraga could possibly soon be “sainted” by the Catholic Church, and if that happens, the Upper Peninsula can expect a big bump in religious tourism by people interested in learning more about “the snowshoe priest,” who’s currently buried in the Upper Peninsula. Much of Baraga’s work was carried out in the U.P.

9. In August of 1923, three of the most famous American entrepreneurs made their first camping trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The three men were Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and the trip would eventually spur much economic activity in the U.P.!

10. Isle Royale National Park, part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is the least visited national park in the country. It has fewer visitors’ in an entire year than Yosemite has in a single day!

11. “Anatomy of a Murder” was a famous book (and subsequently movie) written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker (under the pen name Robert Traver). Voelker based the novel on a 1952 murder case in which he was the defense attorney. The film was shot in several locations in the Upper Peninsula, including Big Bay, Marquette, Ishpeming, and Michigamme.

A native Yooper, Jesse Land lives in Iron Mountain and enjoys hiking, biking, boating, and camping with his family. He runs the U.P. travel site “Things to do in the U.P.” (www.thingstodointheup.com).