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Hiking Doublehead Mountain NH: One of the Best 52 with a View

Located in Jackson NH, the loop hike up Doublehead offers a steep, but short climb to two peaks that offer excellent views of Mount Washington and the Presidentials. This is a fun hike to do any time of the year and is on the list of the 52 with a view.

In this article you can find everything you need to know about hiking Doublehead Mountain including a map, trail options and my most recent experience hiking this in February. We live just south of the White Mountains and spend a lot of time exploring the trails. If you are looking for other hikes in the White Mountains, check out:

Doublehead Mountain NH

Quick Look at the Doublehead Mountain NH Hike

The information below describes the loop hike as well as some options for other routes. The trails can all be linked together in a few ways to make a fun loop.

Distance: 4.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 1700 feet
Difficulty: hard

Alternate Route: Hike this as a route up the New Path and Down the Old Path (this only hits South Doublehead but you can easily add on North Doublhead but it adds on about 300 feet of elevation and 0.6 miles.
Distance: 2.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1400 feet
Difficulty: hard

Traditional Loop (up Old Path and Down Ski Trail)

This is the route I took when hiking both Doubleheads in February of 2024. The parking lot fits about 12 cars during the winter, but may fit more during the summer months. The trail starts directly from the parking lot. No matter which direction you hiking the loop, you will start out on a short one way section.

Hike through the forest for a few minutes until the trail splits. We recommend tackling the steep section on the way up so hike in a counterclockwise direction. Take the right trail up the Old Path. This is a steady and steep hike that gets steeper the higher you get. You will come out at the saddle between the two summits. Hike South Doublehead first as an out and back. The views from here are the best in my opinion.

Continue on the loop back up to North Doublehead where you will pass the Doublehead Cabin. Descend on the Ski Trail back down to the parking lot.

Doublehead Mountain NH

Map of the Doublehead Hike

Hiking Route up Doublehead Mountain NH

Things to Know About Hiking Doublehead Mountains NH

Parking

There is a small parking lot at the start of the hike. The trailhead to the Old Path starts right in the parking lot that is well marked.

Direction to the parking lot: From NH Rt 16, take Route 16A in Jackson then take 16B past Black Mountain Ski Area -Route 16B turns into Dundee Road. The Ski Trail trailhead is about 1 mile on the left.

Dogs

This is a great trail for dogs. Dogs much be leashed and make sure to clean up all waste.

Kids

This is a good hike with kids since it is short with excellent views, but it is also surprisingly steep for a short hike. Give yourself plenty of time on the steep way up.

Packing

Since I did this hike most recently in the winter, I packed my typical gear for winter hiking. If you are hiking during the warm season, bring your own day hiking essentials.

Hiking boots are important on this trail and all NH hiking trails, at the paths are typically rocky with challenging footing.

When to Hike Doublehead Mountain, NH

In my opinion, the Doublehead hike is a good year round hike. It offers great views with very little exposure making it a better choice if you are hiking on a windy day.

My favorite time to hike Doublehead Mountain NH is in the fall when the leaves change, usually in early October.

Cali Hiking Doublehead Mountain NH

What is the 52 with a View List?

The view of Doublehead Mountain NH

Staying at the Doublehead Cabin NH

One fun option is to hike to Doubletree cabin and spend the night in the cabin. This cabin and the one on Black Mountain were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of a larger project to develop ski runs for the nearby resort town of Jackson. The Doublehead cabin was used as a warming hut and shelter for skiers traveling on the trail and now can be used to stay in overnight.

The cabin has 8 wooden bunks, 2 small tables, benches and a wood stove.  You will need to pack in all your supplies for the night and need to reserve the cabin in advance. You can learn more about this on Recreation.gov.

Doublehead Mountain NH
Cali and I Hiking Doublehead Mountain NH

Details of my Hike to South Doublehead and North Doublehead

I did this hike most recently in February of 2023 with just me and Cali (my Aussie). Even arriving mid-morning on a Sunday, there was plenty of room in the parking lot and we only saw a handful of people on the trail.

I started up the Old Path which was well tramped down for winter hiking. Since I was wearing microspikes, I had no issue with the uphill section and I carried snowshoes in case I needed them.

The trail up to the saddle between the two peaks is surprisingly steep and we took our time to reach the top. From the saddle you have limited views through the trees. We turned left here and went up to the South Doublehead first. The views from here are wonderful and we could see most of Washington. This part of the hike is enjoyable with only a bit of elevation gain compared to the climb up.

After returning to the Saddle, Cali and I took a few minutes to clean the snow out of her paws before heading up the summit of North Doublehead and down the ski trail. The ski trail was well packed down although some people had clearly been using snowshoes for the descent. If possible avoid walking down the center of the trail and postholing during the winter as this impact people who are trying to ski.

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