Home Adventures Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain in San Mateo

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain in San Mateo

by Paulina Dao
Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

Three day weekends are not for sitting around. With the constant downpour California has been receiving, there was no place dry this past weekend within a reasonable driving distance. Josh and I got out on Sunday for a little bit. Suddenly, I remembered what it was like to be outside and not sloth-y. Josh had school on Monday so I was stuck at home sans car.

Try as I might, I laid in bed, watched TV, made biscuits… but by the time noon rolled around, cabin fever had hit. It was time to get out of the house. Luckily, there’s a good number of parks within walking and biking distance of where I live. I put on all the waterproof stuff I own and headed out into the downpour to Laurelwood Park to summit Sugarloaf Mountain.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

How to get to the Sugarloaf Mountain Summit

I entered the park from Laurelwood Dr and took the paved Tenderfoot Trail to the Natural Amphitheatre Trail. This trail ascends some extremely muddy steps. Signs on the trail point all the way up to Sugarloaf Mountain. The Natural Amphitheatre Trail winds up the vibrant green hill before it joins the Laurelwood Park Trail to summit.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

Lots of fungi and moss were to be seen. Tons of social trails and spur trails branch off the Laurelwood Park Trail. No signs indicate what these trails are. It was pretty difficult to tell what was an actual trail and what wasn’t. I mostly just left them alone.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

I wanted to minimize my impact if I went down something that wasn’t an official trail. Heading back down, I retraced my steps for a total of 2 miles on the trail.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

The summit offers 360 degree views of San Mateo and the Bay Area. On a rainy Monday, I only saw one other person. I imagine it gets fairly busy when the weather is less dreary.

 Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

The summit of Sugarloaf Mountain was flat, spacious and open. It’s the perfect place for a picnic, sans alcohol, as it’s not allowed in the park. Laurelwood Park is dog friendly and family friendly. The park sits in the middle of a few neighborhoods and has multiple access points.

Gear: Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 Pack, Sierra Designs Hurricane Pants, Outdoor Research Aspire Jacket, Sealskinz Waterproof Sock, Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody, Altra Lone Peak 2.5 Trail Shoe

For other neat hikes in the Bay Area, here are my favorite redwoods that are not Muir Woods, and my top five favorite hikes.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, San Mateo, CA

Last updated on February 5, 2019.

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1 comment

Debbie July 14, 2020 - 5:43 pm

I grew up in San Mateo in the 60’s and 70’s. A housing developer wanted to scrape off the top of Sugarloaf and build a big housing development on it. My friends and I loved to hike up there and enjoy the views. We wrote letters and organized a protest of the development in front of City Hall. It was covered by the San Mateo Times. We were joined by some concerned citizens of nearby Belmont. Thankfully the city decided against the project. Seeing your pictures on Pinterest was heartwarming for me. So glad that this beautiful area is still enjoyed by many.


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