Charlotte, NC: Morrow and Sugarloaf Mountains

Hike Sugarloaf and Morrow Mountains in just a few hours at Morrow Mountain State Park outside Charlotte.
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Hike Sugarloaf and Morrow Mountains in just a few hours at Morrow Mountain State Park outside Charlotte.

When you're ready for a thigh-burner, head to Morrow Mountain State Park to bag two peaks in a single hike—Morrow Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain. BY MATT CLAPP

Trip Details
Hiking Distance - 6 miles
Hiking Time - 2.5 - 3 hrs
Distance from Uptown - 1:15 hours
More Info

Prepare
1. Enter "Morrow Mountain State Park" into Google Maps. This takes you to the park gate. Keep going until you see a sign for Sugarloaf Trail. Turn right and drive into the parking lot. Park near the bathroom.
2. Near the bathroom is a mailbox entitled Park Maps. Grab one.
3. This trail is not advisable after heavy rains. The many steep and angles sections of the trail could be extremely slippery. If you tend to be on the clumsier side, you may struggle on this hike during fall due to the deep loose leaves on the slopes.

Explore
Mile 0.0 - The trailhead is on the opposite site of the parking lot near the entrance/exit. The sign is small and low to the ground so if the lot is full you may have to walk into the trees a bit to see it. The start of the trail is paved with large stones. You will soon see the orange diamonds that identify this trail.
0.1 - After about a minute, you come to a trail sign. Go left.
0.3 - Cross a small footbridge over a stream and head uphill.
0.5 - Cross the road and continue uphill.
0.7 - Come to an overlook. Veer left and continue following the orange diamond blazes.
1.0 - Reach the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Continue on the trail to descend. Spend the next 0.6 miles walking downhill with frequent steep sections.
1.4 - Walk around the large fallen tree blocking the trail.
1.6 - After finishing the descent, arrive at a trail sign signaling the merging of Sugarloaf Mountain trail and Morrow Mountain Trail. Go right.
2.0 - Arrive at another trail sign signaling the split to Backpack Trail. Ignore this and continue straight to follow the orange diamonds.
2.3 - Arrive at a trail sign. Go left to ascend Morrow Mountain. At this point you begin following blue triangle blazes for the Morrow Mountain Trail. Before heading uphill, take a quick snack break on the stump next to the sign and enjoy your quiet solitude.
3.0 - Walk straight through a 4 way intersection to continue following the blue triangle blazes.
3.6 - After finishing the steep ascent, reach a fork in the trail. Go left on the trail with a slight descent. Either direction puts you on the 0.7 Mountain Loop Trail, so if you accidentally go right you'll end up at the same place. Make sure to take your time on this loop trail. It has a fantastic view.
3.9 - Reach a flat downhill slope. If you're here in fall, indulge your inner child and slide down the thick layer of fallen leaves.
4.1 - Reach a sharp bend in the trail and go right, uphill. (Do not go left down the false trail.)
4.2 - At the top of a set of stone stairs, go right at the trail sign to make the short trip to the top of the mountain. There are numerous picnic benches and a parking lot for cars. When you're done exploring, return to the sign and go right (facing downhill) to return to the loop trail.
4.3 - Reach a set of wooden stairs leading down to finish your loop.
4.4 - Rejoin Morrow Mountain Trail and begin your descent.
5.0 - Pass through the 4 way intersection and continue following the blue triangles.
5.5 - Trail intersects Sugarloaf Mountain trail. Go left to return to the parking lot, following the orange diamond blazes.
5.7 - Cross the road.
6.1 - Arrive back at the parking lot.

Reward
1. Stop by the Natural History Museum. From the parking lot, turn right, take your first left and the follow the signs. It's small but they clearly put a lot of work into it. Show your support!
2. Visit the Kron House Restoration - a restored collection of small buildings from the 19th century.
3. After exiting the park, stop to explore the antique stores just up the road.

My Day
Weather: 71, partly overcast
Drink: Monster Absolute Zero
Song: Don't Look Down by Martin Garrix, "Is your head spinning" Is your heart racing? Is that fire in your veins?"
Water: 24 oz

Trail Facts

  • State: NC
  • City: Charlotte, NC
  • Distance: 6.0
  • Contact: (704) 982-4402
  • Land Type: State Park