Sugar Loaf (308 m) is a conical hill rising steeply above Brook Valley. The forestry road to the top can be completed on its own as a return route, or combined with other Grampians tracks to make a longer route. Sugar Loaf involves a reasonable amount of climbing, though the summit has great views of central Nelson, Brook Valley and Grampians.
|Length: 5.4 km return from Robinson Rd||Trail Type: 4WD road/Walking track|
|Uses: Walking and running||Physical Difficulty: Moderate|
|Start Elevation: 55 m||Finish Elevation: 308 m|
|Links to: Grampians Summit Road and Kānuka Track|
Sugar Loaf can be accessed from Brook Valley via Kānuka Track (see Access tab above). You can park your car on Robinson Rd or Blick Tce. Sugar Loaf is accessed via Grampians Summit Road, the start of which is signposted on Robinson Road.
Begin up Grampians Summit Road which climbs steadily up the gully between Sugar Loaf and the Grampians. After 800 m, the road makes a hairpin bend and turns to the north. Do not follow it; instead, continue straight, along the Kānuka Track (which is 4WD road). Through this section the road climbs steadily through kānuka scrub and native bush.
After a further 650 m Couch Saddle is reached, where Kānuka Track continues to the right around the Grampians, eventually linking up the Kahikatea rack and the Grampians summit. Go through the gate to the left, and join the unnamed forestry road that continues to Sugar Loaf. The latter forestry road is a continuation of a road that comes up to Couch Saddle from York Valley; as there is a working quarry and landfill in York Valley, this road is private property and should not be used to get through to Bishopdale (use the Kahikatea Track instead).
Follow the forestry road northeast around the head of the gully. The gully used to be forested with pine plantation, though these were felled several years ago, opening up good views down Brook Valley. Be aware that this is private forestry land and there is a possibility that vehicles may be encountered.
After 750 m the road drops down slightly to a skid site. From here, follow the road to the right as it winds up the Brook Valley side of Sugar Loaf. The last 500 m to the top is quite steep, and the road may be rocky and slightly-overgrown with gorse in places. The road loops back up to the skid site at the top of Sugar Loaf (308 m). On return leg, go back the same way you came along the forestry road to Couch Saddle. From here you can continue back down to Brook St, or join other Grampians routes via Kānuka Track.