How to Hike the Sugar Loaf Hill in South Wales
How to Hike the Sugar Loaf Hill in South Wales

How to Hike the Sugar Loaf Hill in South Wales

The Sugar Loaf hill sits just outside of Abergavenny in the county of Monmouthshire, South Wales. At 696 metres tall, or 1,995 feet, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was a mountain and not a hill. Despite being a hill, the Sugar Loaf hike does have a couple of challenging spots. But make it to the top, and you’ll get the best views of the Black Mountains and the Usk Valley.

Table of contents

  1. How long does it take to climb the Sugar Loaf?
  2. The route
  3. Walking the Sugar Loaf from Abergavenny
  4. Is the Sugar Loaf difficult to hike?
  5. Find more Wales travel content

How long does it take to climb the Sugar Loaf?

If starting from and finishing at the Sugar Loaf car park, then it takes between 2 – 2.5 hours to do the 5km Sugar Loaf walk.

A ray of light coming from dark grey clouds illuminating the ground as seen from the Sugar Loaf, Wales.

The route

Starting from the Sugar Loaf car park, head straight up the bank on the grassy trail.  Once you come to the top, things flatten out and you’ll be able to see the top of the Sugar Loaf.

The two trails heading up the Sugar Loaf will come into view and are clearly visible. Now you’ll need to pick which way you want to go up. For an easier walk up, stick to the grass trail by baring left. This path wraps up and around the left side of the Sugar Loaf and isn’t steep, except for the final section, which includes rocks. For a more challenging hike, take the trail straight ahead.

Alan on the the initial decent section of the Sugar Loaf hike.

I took the more challenging route up, so will explain that way. Head straight and the grassy path will become more of a dirt trail as you begin a steep decline. It’ll take a moment to get to the bottom of the decline and the top of the Sugar Loaf will disappear from view. The decline is steep so go steady. After a few minutes you’ll get to the bottom.

Now things begin to get more challenging. The trail becomes narrower, steeper and rockier as you begin climbing again. But, from here on it’s essentially straight uphill following the same trial all the way so you’ll always know where you’re heading.

In my opinion, hiking the Sugar Loaf gradually gets more challenging because the trail continually gets steeper. About half way up you should be feeling it in your legs. Around this point, there are some large rocks which are a good spot to have a breather. The views from these rocks along make the hard work worth it.

The last third or so of the hike is the most difficult part. The trail is quite steep by now and there are lots of rocks in the ground. The final push to the top becomes very rocky and, depending on where you walk, you may need to scramble up some big rocks. This very last section is definitely the most challenging part of hiking the Sugar Loaf.

Once you’ve tackled the final and steepest part of the hike, you’ll be at the top of the Sugar Loaf. You’ll be able to see Skirrid Fawr, Abergavenny, the Blorenge and the Black Mountains.

Alan at the top of the Sugar Loaf hike, Wales looking onto the Black Mountains.

Walking the Sugar Loaf from Abergavenny

Starting the walk from Abergavenny will add significant time to the journey. However, it’s a great option for those who want a bigger challenge than starting from the Sugar Loaf car park.

If setting out from Abergavenny town centre, climbing the Sugar Loaf and back will take between  6 – 7 hours.

Starting from Abergavenny also means that you can climb the Sugar Loaf without the need for a car as the town is well connected by buses and a train station.

Is the Sugar Loaf difficult to hike?

For the most part, the Sugar Loaf is a medium difficulty hike. However, the final part of the hike is steeper than the previous sections and it has big rocks. This will make it difficult for some people.

The Sugar Loaf as seen form the Blorenge.

Find more Wales travel content

Head to these next articles for more hiking inspiration in Wales. Or head to the ‘Wales’ section of the A World over blog for all travel content for Wales.

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