Doubletop Mountain rises west of Nesowadnehunk Stream across the valley from Mount O-J-I. From the Tote Road, it seems to be all alone. But Moose Mountain and a long ridge that looms over Slaughter Pond are behind it. The mountain’s relative isolation and dramatic profile make it a must climb. The easiest route is from Nesowadnehunk Field. That hike is relentlessly steep in the middle, but not Wicked Wild enough to make the list.
On the other hand, the last section of trail from Kidney Pond to the south summit is insanely steep with a couple of rock faces to climb (all in the woods). This trail is Wicked Wild enough. To get credit for the hike, you need to climb Doubletop from the Kidney Pond side.
You could do it as a shuttle hike. Climb one side and descend the other. That’s what I did both times Henry and I climbed it. I would tell you about the dramatic views from the summits, but I can’t Both times I climbed it the summit was in a cloud. The second time was the day that a tornado touched down in the park and a downburst caused two large blowdowns between Kidney Pond and Doubletop (one is on the Slaughter Pond Trail just west of Doubletop Trail; the other is along the shore of Deer Pond on Doubletop Trail). Henry and I almost got squished under the one by Deer Pond. That was an interesting hike. But to hear more about it, you’ll just have to buy Katahdin, Henry, and Me when it comes out next year.
Got a bit distracted there. The hike: start either from Kidney Pond and follow Doubletop Mountain Trail or from the trailhead near the bridge over Nesowadnehunk Stream and follow the Slaughter Pond Trail. Both are scenic in their own way, but DMT offers better opportunities to see beaver, deer, and moose.
For 0.6 miles, the two trails are the same. Where they split, turn right to climb Doubletop. (If you go straight, it’s about a mile to Slaughter Pond.) From the junction, it’s 2.8 miles to the south peak. The trail crosses several wet areas and a couple of small streams. Even in summer it can be a challenge to keep your feet dry. Then the trail climbs steeply for about a mile. In the middle of the climb, are two rock faces you need to get up. These are why this trail made the list.
The south peak is a granite dome with (according to hikers who’ve actually seen it) spectacular views in every direction. The peak itself is a boulder perched on the edge of a precipice that drops dramatically to Nesowadnehunk Stream.
The trail crosses the saddle to North Peak (0.4 miles) along the top of a cliff. North Peak is a big square block of granite that towers over the spruce offering (again, according to people who’ve actually seen the view) awesome views.
The hike from Kidney Pond as an out and back is 9.4 miles out and back with about 2300 feet of climbing. The shuttle hike over the mountain is 8.5 miles.