A straight run up to the summit following the well-established herd path.
Hiking Trail Description
My favorite part of this hike was actually the first mile of trailed section along Dry Brook, heading southeast from the parking area. By mid-June the banks on both sides of the brook are lush. All along the stream feels wild and natural, and the crossings are a lot of fun.
The drive down from Route 28 passes through Hanley Corner and Mapledale. It’s a really lovely bucolic area with rolling hills and working farms and small herds of cows.
Then, driving south on Dry Brook Rd, you pass two covered bridges. The first is on your right. The second (shown below) is on your left.
Pass both bridges.
Park, sign in, and notice the second sign: THIS IS PRIVATE LAND.
Permission Required! For Graham & Doubletop, a reminder that permission to hike these lands is required in advance — and is currently being granted only to hikers who live in neighboring counties. See Details Here.
Start Your Hike
The yellow-blazed trail meanders through the woods, and is basically level. There’s lots of life along the water’s edge: animal tracks, large and small; scat; and plenty of movement in the brush.
I came across an American Toad with an open wound on its back. He seemed to be doing fine, otherwise. It’s always nice to see toads and frogs. If there’s any pollution, amphibians are one of the first species to disappear from an area. Their presence is a usually good indicator that, environmentally, all is well.
The woods are really nice, here, too. It’s an exceptionally pleasant walk.
The two stream crossings keep things interesting. There was a lot of blowdown in both gullies, including large trees that had fallen right where the trail crossed brooks. I had to poke around upstream to find non-sketchy ways across.
After a little more than a mile, the trail comes out of the woods and into an opening. A wide bridge on your left lets an old woods road cut across the yellow trail. Right after the crossroads, keep an eye out for the start of the bushwhack. It’s marked, on the right side of the trail, by a wooden sign, down low, in the shape of a small black bear…
Doubletop’s Herd Path
Look for the herd path heading up through the vegetation. This is the first of two ridge routes up the mountain from Seager. The route goes right up the center of the ridge, straight to the canister.
90% of the time, the trail is very obvious and easy to follow. I lost it a few times but quickly picked it up again by following the Rule of Up. Of course, there’s no rule that says you have to follow the herd path. If you love wading through thick hobblebush, Doubletop might be your idea of heaven.
The first section, heading off the blazed trail, is quite steep — I saw a doe, here, immediately after the wooden bear — but then the terrain levels out and things get much easier.
The long middle part of this climb is mostly pretty moderate. There is a nice mix of inclines and flat sections to break things up. This is good terrain for trail runners who want some navigational fun while running up a long hill.
Around 2650’, The herd path will lead you to a clearing, right in the middle of the ridge. Exit the clearing straight ahead and a little to the left. You may see a cairn — one was being built in June, with stones pulled recently from the ground.
At 3000’, a ledge sandwich: three ledges in a row.
At 3250’, the trail passes above this odd boulder pit on the right.
This marks the start of the final push, which is a little steep: the elevation gain is 624’ over half-a-mile or so.
Just below 3500’ I was still surrounded by deciduous woods — but, suddenly, the smell of pine trees was so powerful. Whatever the wind was doing, I couldn’t see a single pine tree but it smelled like I was standing in a forest of them.
Around 3700’ a very small view opens up behind you through an opening in the canopy. I think it looks north toward Belle Ayr Mountain.
After a tough climb, the route finally levels out. You’ll pass another herd path coming in from your left, that one having come up the second ridge line.
The walk to the canister is easy.
By mid-June, the black flies are out in full force. On this day, a cloud of flies surrounded the canister. I had to sign and run. The woods are dense but I found a windy spot a short distance from the summit, and ate my lunch. I sustained only half a dozen bites.
I also had a quick poke around past the canister. The trail peters out in a fern glade in the col between the Doubletop’s two peaks. I didn’t have enough time to find the plane wreck on the southeast side of the mountain, but I’m looking forward to going back and exploring more, finding that wreck, and checking out the scenic view on the southern tip of the summit ridge.
Also in this area is Graham Mountain — the other mountain that’s on private land, and for which you need permission to hike. Some hikers bushwhack from Doubletop to Graham, or do a loop from Seager that takes in Big Indian before ’whacking over to Doubletop and then back out to Seager. This is rich and wild country I’m looking forward to exploring.
If you do this hike, let me know how it goes in the comments below…
Trailhead Info for this Hike
Description: Medium-sized lot. Pay attention to the private property signs.
GPS Location: 42.058204, -74.539796
Location: The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead.
Spotty service with low-to-no signal depending on where you’re standing (My network is Verizon. YMMV.)