Hiking Sugarloaf Trail Sedona: Most Underrated & Beautiful Hike

Apr 28, 2022

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Gosh, I’ve been to Sedona more times than I can count, but why I NEVER hiked up Sugarloaf Mountain until now is beyond me. Sugarloaf Trail Sedona has to be one of the most underrated hikes in the area.

I mean it!

Yes, Sedona is where you’ll find epic places like Cathedral Rock Vortex and Devil’s Bridge, but who doesn’t know about those?

In addition to being less visited than other hikes in the area, Sugarloaf Mountain looks good ALL DAY LONG. 

Yep! You can do this hike for sunrise or sunset and witness a gorgeous, natural Sedona light show that, UGH, just can’t be real, but it is, it IS! 

Phew, that was a mouthful to get out. By now, I imagine I’ve gleaned your interest in this trail.

So, let’s go over getting to the summit and what the hike is like—all that good stuff!

And trust me, these views will have you feeling so elated, you’ll be questioning if you’re on a sugar high—see what I did there?

When you’re done with this post, make sure you read my other awesome Sedona blogs (I can say that because I wrote them ;)):

girl watching sunrise over sugarloaf trail in sedona arizona

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links!

Sugarloaf Summit Trail Fast Facts

map of sugarloaf summit trail in sedona arizona
  • Sugarloaf Trailhead: 34.8775908,-111.7969803
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 0.4 miles round trip (out and back)
  • Time to Summit: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Elevation Gain: 250 feet
  • Parking: Parking is limited
  • Best Light: Sunrise
  • Red Rock Pass Required? Yes

As you can see, Sugarloaf Summit Trail (Sugarloaf Mountain Trail on some maps) sits smack dab in the middle of a loopty loop—Sugarloaf Loop Trail. While Sugarloaf Loop is fun, I personally enjoy getting to the summit via Teacup Trail!

Teacup Trail is pretty easy to follow and has minimal elevation gain. For those reasons, I’m confident you’ll like that route too.

So for the duration of this blog, we’ll cover getting to Sugarloaf Summit Trail via Teacup Trail. 

Cool? Let’s go!

Planning Your Hike

  • 🌞When To Go: Sunrise or sunset is a great time to hike up Sugarloaf Mountain
  • When To Avoid: Avoid Sugarloaf Mountain during a storm—the trail can become slick and dangerous!
  • 🚙Where To Park: Park at the Sugarloaf Trailhead lot
  • 🌵What Do You See?: At the top of Sugarloaf Mountain Sedona, you’ll see Chimney Rock, Coffee Pot Rock, and 360 views of Sedona

I want to let you know that while you can hike Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset, sunrise is preferred! From my experience, that’s when the most beautiful light is cast in the area.

If you need some ideas for sunset hikes in Sedona, I have a blog on that!

This can be a great trail to take them on if you have a dog. Again, that is pulling from my experience, but you know your dog’s abilities best!

And finally, you should know that the parking lot for Sugarloaf Trail is fairly small. So getting there early can help you secure a spot! 

A Red Rock Pass is required. However, you can avoid it by bringing your America the Beautiful pass!

Also, the parking lot is smack in the middle of a neighborhood, so please be respectful! Parking on the street will earn you a ticket, so don’t try it.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain via Teacup Trail

map of teacup trail to sugarloaf mountain sedona arizona
  • Sugarloaf Trailhead: 34.8775908,-111.7969803
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.6 miles round trip (out and back)
  • Time to Summit: 30 minutes to an hour
  • Elevation Gain: 250 feet
  • Parking: Parking is limited
  • Best Light: Sunrise
  • Red Rock Pass Required? Yes

Once you park at the Sugarloaf Trailhead lot, get out chya cah (your car) and begin your hike!

That was my awful attempt at a Boston accent—sorry. 

From here, go ahead and jump right onto Teacup Trail. You’ll notice that the path is pretty flat and easy to follow!

You might walk over some bumpy red rocks, but you’ll only be here for a little bit.

Around 0.3 miles, you’ll come to a junction where Thunder Mountain Trail meets Teacup Trail. Stay RIGHT, taking Teacup Trail. 

Now pay attention. In about 0.1 miles, you’ll hit Sugarloaf LOOP trail. You want to make sure you’re going clockwise on the loop, so you should take the LEFTMOST path.


Once you do that, it’s about 0.1 miles to Sugarloaf Mountain Trail.

And you’re almost done! Once you’re on Sugarloaf Mountain Trail, you have 0.2 miles and 250 feet of gain to the top. 


Where to Take the Best Photos

When I went up Sugarloaf Trail Sedona, I found that all the best photos were on the tippy top. So while you’re there, you can spot some famous Sedona red rocks in the distance. 

These include Chimney Rock and Coffee Pot Rock.

At the top of the mountain, you’ll have 360 views of Sedona.

In a way, Sugarloaf Mountain reminds me of Doe Mountain, BUT I think the views are much better here. 

What to Pack

At the end of the day, the hike to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain is pretty short! You won’t be on the trail for very long, so packing will be easy!

Here are some items I recommend you take with you on your hike.

A Good Camera

Duh! This is the perfect spot for photos. Heck, it might be one of the most Instagrammable places in Sedona!

Of course, you can use your iPhone, but me being me, I usually pack my big boi cam. 

To see a list of all the camera gear I use, read my blogger camera gear post!

Sun Coverage

Gosh, this tip applies to just about every Sedona hike, but get yourself some sun coverage!

That Arizona sun will COOK YOU. And it is not fun, trust me. 

I love red rocks, but I don’t wanna look like one, ya know?

I use Elta MD sunscreen because they don’t leave a white cast on my skin, are great for acne-prone peeps, and feel boujee and luxurious on the face.

A sunscreen that makes you love sunscreen? Yes, please!

Sturdy AF Hiking Boots

I know, I KNOW, hiking boots can be clunky and chunky, and you probably don’t like them because they cramp your style. 

But, boo, LISTEN. Sedona trails, in general, are rocky AF, and stubbing your toes on them things is, OOF, painful. 

Now, I’m a clumsy h* and tend to stub said rocks more times than I’d like to admit. KEEN Targhees are the only hiking boots that COMFORTABLY protect my feet and give me enough grip that I’m not walking around like a gangly Gumpy impersonator. 

You feel me?

Anyhoot, 10/10 recommend. 

Final Tips for Hiking Sugarloaf Trail Sedona

Let’s wrap this bad boy up with some parting tips! If they’re anything like the rest of this blog, they’ll be laced with bad jokes and some useful gems you can walk away with.

Make It a Loop

If you want a longer hike, make this excursion a loop! After hiking up Sugarloaf Mountain, make a right and continue your adventure along Sugarloaf Loop Trail!

Doing this will give you some additional views to admire and is a great way to spend the day. Adding the loop trail to your hike will be an extra 0.8 miles.

Plan Your Sunrise Excursion

Hiking up Sugarloaf Trail Sedona doesn’t take long! Most people can get to the top in 30 minutes to an hour.

If you choose to hike for sunrise, you will be walking in the dark. For that reason, I suggest bringing a headlamp with you AND giving yourself some extra time to get to the top.

With the trail junctions you’ll be navigating, an extra 30 minutes can do the trick!

Watch the Weather

If you plan on hiking up Sugarloaf Trail Sedona for sunrise or sunset, you need to watch the weather!

OOF! When the sky is gloomy, it is GLOOMY. And boo, I’m talking clouds so thick they’ll make you think of fondant.

If the weather is kind of meh, you can still hike this trail for the experience! But I wouldn’t have any grand expectations for lighting.

Explore the Area

Generally speaking, the surrounding Sugarloaf area has tons of trails and is fairly scenic. You can hike up Sugarloaf and spend some additional time exploring Coffee Pot Rock. 

Or, you can hunt for the secret Keyhole Cave!

Heck, if you want to, you can take Teacup trail an additional 1.2 miles over to Soldier Pass trail!

Sedona is unique because a lot of the trails connect, and people don’t even know it!

I hope this blog gave you all the information you need to have a fun hike up Sugarloaf Mountain! If you enjoyed this blog, you might like my other Sedona posts!

I wrote all of them from my experience to help folks like you have the best experience possible. Check them out! 

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!