QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 209,644 acres
- Trail Mileage: Traverse is more than 8 miles
- Pets: no
- Difficulty: challenging
- Sights: Views!
Doubletop Mountain Trail in red.
The craggy double summit of this mountain forms an intimidating backdrop to a lot of the pond trails in the southern portion of the park. Though it looks insurmountable from below, the mountain is quite accessible. When I visited, there were several children at the top trying to catch grasshoppers.
I think the easier of the two ways to the top is the route leaving from Nesowadnehunk Campground. Though steep in sections, this is a steady ~3.5-mile ascent to one of Doubletop’s two peaks, the 3,489-foot North Peak. The next peak, South Peak is just a quick, moderately easy 0.2-mile walk (through scrubby trees and over and around a few boulders). South Peak (3,455 feet) is far better of the two if you’re going to hang out for a while, as it has large flat ledges for sitting comfortably while contemplating the views.
However, I prefer ascending the mountain on the trail leaving Kidney Pond. While the trail is longer (my GPS logged 5.7 miles but the park says it is 4.6 miles?) and includes a few tough scrambles up steep, rocky portions of the path, it offers a dramatic finale. You rise out of the woods after a tough climb and almost immediately find yourself on the thin ridge of the open summit, staring into the valley below and at the rocky peaks of North and South Brother, Mt. Coe, Mt. O-J-I, and Katahdin. There are 360-degree views. It’s fantastic. I did find, though, that long stretches of the flatter part of the path as you’re going up—since it traces a stream—were wet and muddy. Bring a spare set of socks!
Additionally, if you return down the south side, I highly recommend a two-mile detour (one mile each way) to Slaughter Pond for a refreshing dip if it’s warm out. It’s a lovely pond, with easy access into the water. Beware of leeches! You can remove them with a bit of salt, so the rangers say.
Directions: You can catch the southern trail at the Kidney Pond parking area, behind the outhouse (for a slightly smelly start to your hike!). Or you can start on Slaughter Pond trail, which has a trailhead 0.7 miles up the Kidney Pond access road. If you’re starting your hike at Nesowadnehunk Campground, park at the area for walk-in tent sites next to the ranger station, cross the bridge, and follow the dirt track when it makes a bend to the left. There’s a sign here for Doubletop Mountain. Walk past the tent sites to the start of the trail.