Talk with the Doc

Dr. Jim Surrell, Journal columnist

Sugarloaf Mountain is a fantastic place to visit in Marquette County. It is located just about 6 miles North of Marquette on County Road 550, the road that leads to Big Bay. It is a very well maintained natural area that is managed by Marquette County and it is located within Marquette Township.

Sugarloaf Mountain is an extremely popular location that provides a very impressive scenic overlook of Lake Superior and its beautiful Upper Peninsula coastline. The Sugarloaf Mountain Natural Area consists of a 3,200 foot trail of pathway and stairway segments that lead to the mountain’s summit 470 feet above Lake Superior. There are wonderful viewing platforms on the mountain’s summit that provide visitors with a truly spectacular view of the rugged coastline and the surrounding natural forest land.

Sugarloaf Mountain towers about 1,079 feet above sea level. From the parking lot, it is a vertical climb of 315 feet to the top of the summit. To go up to the top of Sugarloaf, one must follow the trails with the occasional wooden stair steps with railings that are intermittently placed on these trails.

They also have occasional benches for one to take a break from this long totally uphill walk. The average walking time up the mountain is about 20 to 30 minutes.

From the summit you will have a truly beautiful view and you can see the Huron Mountains on the northern horizon, and also see Presque Isle, and the City of Marquette off to the right.

During the second half of the 19th century, the Native American Madosh family lived near the base of Sugarloaf Mountain. It is believed that it was sometime during this period that the current name, Sugarloaf, appeared. It is not absolutely known why this name was chosen, but it is believed that this name came from the observed shape of this mountain, looking like a loaf of sugar. This is the way sugar used to be packaged in bulk, as a loaf of sugar, and sold in the last century. Of course, today we now buy granulated sugar. However, until the mid to late 19th century, sugar came in bulk form as a loaf of sugar with small pieces broken off to be used as needed. Therefore, the term sugarloaf was very commonly used to describe sugar during these historic times.

The most recent reported information about the number of annual visitors to Sugarloaf Mountain is as follows. In 1919, more than 60,000 people took the short hike to the top of the mountain.

This was a dramatic increase in the previous number of annual visitors to Sugarloaf. It is reported that the average number of previous visitors to Sugarloaf Mountain is as follows. During the 1960s, 1970s, and the 1980s, the number of Sugarloaf Mountain visitors averaged around 10,000 visitors each year. However, in the year 2018, they reported about 48,000 Sugarloaf visitors.

As noted above, in 2019, this very special tourist attraction had over 60,000 visitors.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of the best-selling SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet book and his new Joke Book, entitled “Laughter Is Good Medicine.” Dr. Jim’s website is sosdietbook.com.


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