I felt compelled to visit Sandhills State Forest upon hearing about Sugar Loaf mountain. The idea of a mountain in this part of the state intrigued me. Not that I expected a full blown mountain there, but I did picture a tall outcropping of rock. The forest is located in Chesterfield County, close to Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge and I set out to visit both to get the lay of the land. I found that it takes more than a day to properly visit both.
Since my initial goal was the ‘mountain’ I took Gas Line Road (from US1, north on Hartsville-Ruby Road and right on Gas Line, a dirt road) Sugar Loaf is a ways in the forest. Drive slow as there are horse trails in the forest.
Having never been here before, I took the first hill I came to and climbed up the steps thus finding myself on Horseshoe Mountain instead. No worries though, it was a nice hike. The trail on the ridge leads by big boulders and great views. When ascending or descending the mountains, use the steps to lessen erosion.
Next I climbed Sugar Loaf. There’s a platform on top that offers really nice views of the surrounding area. Definitely worth the trip.
Sugar Loaf Mountain stand a hundred feet above the rest of the area. It’s made of sand deposited by a historic sea and was at one time capped with ferrous sandstone. That ‘topping’ has pretty much eroded away. It’s and unusual geologic feature with plants not usually found in the piedmont area like mountain laurel.
Sand Hills State Forest stretches throughout Chesterfield and Darlington counties. Most of it is along US1 and there’s a big section between US1 and US15. It’s over 46,000 acres of infertile land that the federal government bought under the Resettlement Administration. The landowners were resettled on fertile land.
Hiking is free. There is a fee to ride your horse, for horseback riding. Check in regards to hunting and fishing. There are 13 fish ponds open year round. No ATV’s are allowed. Camping allowed. Check for prices.
Headquarters for the forest, where you can get maps, is located at 16218 Highway 1, Patrick SC
How To Get There:
US 1 goes right by and through the State Forest. Sugar Loaf Mountain can be reached from Hartsville-Ruby Road.
What’s Close By:
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge
Cheraw State Park
H. Cooper Black Jr. Recreation Area.