There are actually two Sugar Loaf Mountains in Arkansas, both associated with Greers Ferry Lake. The Sugar Loaf Mountain Nature Trail lies on an island in the middle of the lake and is accessible only by boat. A ferry will whisk you there in 20 minutes for a small fee, or paddle your own kayak or canoe across the lake to the small dock on the island.
The trail is in two parts, one called the Mule Trail that tackles the steep upward climb to the top ledge of the mountain and continues across to the other side of the mesa. The other, the Terrace Trail, meanders its way around an intermediate height and is a more gentle climb. Since both trails are looped and connected, you and your fur-pup can choose how you want to experience this hike. The views from the top of the mountain are furtastic, and there are benches along the way for anyone who wants to rest or just sit and contemplate the vista. The Mule Trail features wooden steps fitted into the layers of sandstone that make up the mountain's table-top, and a wooden walkway across the summit with landings for pausing.
Lichen-covered stone shares the landscape with ferns and moss, and mimosa and mint, wild azalea and other fragrant flora in the spring and summer, and houses lots of wildlife, including the occasional bobcat, raccoon, fox, lizards and land terrapins. Deer can sometimes be seen swimming over from shore to the island, where they find a haven from hunters. In winter, the bare branches provide an even better view of the lake below and the activity on the lake and mainland. The trails are maintained and open throughout the year. Don't forget doggy waste bags which must be carried back to the mainland for disposal.
There are well-appointed campgrounds in the area, including one in the Sugarloaf Mountain recreation Area, that will accommodate you and your pooch if you want to stay overnight and hike the mountain again! This family- and dog-friendly trail is well worth a second look!
There are no facilities or amenities on the trail, so be sure to take drinking water and use the restroom before taking the shuttle or kayaking across to the island. Be sure to bring insect spray to protect you from the many insects on the island, including chiggers. This is a pretty serious hike, so be sure to wear sturdy hikers or trainers. Bobcat sightings have been reported on the trail, so keep your fur-pup firmly leashed and do not approach them.