This is a great semi-loop to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, a very popular and accessible destination near Marquette. You can expect wide trails, wooden stairs, and excellent views.
There is a clearly marked large parking area on the north side of 550, but on popular weekends this lot can still fill up. The trail begins right at the north eastern corner of the parking area.
You're immediately presented with a clear choice: "Difficult" to the left or "Easy Trail" to the right. There's no need to do this as a loop. The difficult route is faster and shorter but rockier and steeper than the easy route. So if you want a fast, steep out-and-back take the difficult trail, if you want a more leisurely route with wooden stairs take the easy trail. Or follow this semi-loop to make the most of the beautiful forest and rocks they both pass through.
This route takes the difficult route up. Expect lots of rocks, roots, and some loose soil, but nothing remotely technical—it's still a walk-up. The Sugarloaf Difficult Trail
joins the Sugarloaf Easy Trail
at a quasi-four-way-intersection at a shoulder before the final ascent. There are wooden stairs that head to a (skip-able) short spur to the south that offers a nice view and some isolation. The stairs will make you think there is more to this spur than there actually is—they're a little out of place.
Join the Sugarloaf Easy Trail
to finish the ascent. Wooden stairs have been built to ascend any rocky areas, so it's easy but steep going. It's hard to loose your way when between sets of railings too.
The summit is wide and flat, but quite rocky. There are three wooden platforms that have been built for enjoying the excellent views. You'll be able to see Marquette and both it's ore docks, Lake Superior, Hogback Mountain, and everything else nearby. There is also a stone obelisk monument built for "Bart", short for Bartlett King, the founder of Boy Scout Troop 1 who died in WWI.
Retrace your steps back to the intersection but follow the Easy Trail down to make this a semi-loop. There are some cool rocks and nice shade along this route. More wooden boardwalks and stairs pass over anywhere that would have been difficult making this trail very easy and leisurely. It ends back at the parking area where you began.
A stone monument to Bartlett King, the founder of Boy Scout Troop 1 who died in WWI, has been erected on the summit