Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

North and South Doublehead

There was snow on the high summits from the storm this past weekend, it was a beautiful drive through Pinkham Notch. The plan for today was to hike North and South Doublehead in Jackson, NH. My hike would take me up the Doublehead Ski Trail to North Doublehead then over to South Doublehead via the Old Path and New Path. It would be a backtrack down the New Path to the col and then descend the Old Path where it joins the Doublehead Ski Trail at the bottom.

Passing through Pinkham Notch 


Doublehead Ski Trail

I was the first one in the trailhead parking today. Stepping out of my vehicle I was immediately greeted by the Black Fly Welcoming Committee. I returned the greeting with a can of Off and with the formalities out of the way I commenced my hike. It's a short walk down a private road, the Doublehead Ski Trail enters the woods on the right. The trail is wide and was very wet and muddy on the lower portion.

A framed Mount Washington

A view into Maine

It didn't take long to reach the trail junction for the Old Path. Bearing left I continued along the Doublehead Ski Trail that winds around the mountain and makes a gradual climb to the summit of North Doublehead. There is a nice cabin at the top that stays locked and requires reservations. Views from this summit are somewhat limited.

North Doublehead summit cabin

My next destination was South Doublehead using a trail named Old Path. This trail dips down into the col between the two mountains and meets up with the New Path. It's a short climb to the summit of South Doublehead. A side path leads to ledges with an expansive view of the White Mountains. Further along the trail there are a couple more side paths leading to outlooks with fantastic views.

South Doublehead

Spur path to ledges

Black Mountain Ski area below and Mount Washington in the distance

Time to make my descent, I backtracked down the New Path to the col and turned left onto the Old Path. This trail gets right down to the business of going down. It is steep with lots of loose rocks. After a 0.6 mile drop it meets the Doublehead Ski Trail. From here it was a 0.6 mile wet, muddy slog to the private dirt road and back to the trailhead parking.

View to the south

On South Doublehead

Up to this point I had met no other hikers. It was along this final stretch that I met a couple with two dogs. One dog was a Bishon Frise and the other a German Shepherd that was being held as I passed by. I told the hiker he had quite the dog duo and he told me the Bishon was their first dog and the boss. I looked back to see the German Shepherd running at full speed to catch up with his Bishon boss.

Looking back at North Doublehead

Mount Kearsarge North

There were two more vehicles in the parking area. Quite noticable was the lack of black flies. They were eager to greet me first thing this morning but weren't much on goodbyes. As I rode back through Jackson on the way home I caught a few final views of North and South Doublehead.

Town of Jackson below

Old Path...New Path

One more view of North and South Doublehead on the way home

This was a nice extended long weekend after the two days of rain on Saturday and Sunday. It was a beautiful day and enjoyable hike with spectacular views - a perfect combination!

180 degree view from South Doublehead. 

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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