If The Doubles could reach another 60 feet into the sky, it would be the state highpoint of Kentucky. That distinction, of course, goes to Black Mountain, just 1 mile northwest as the crow flies, relegating The Doubles to obscurity. Obscurity aside, The Doubles is easy to access and rises above 4,000 feet, both relative rarities in this neck of the woods.
The Doubles actually sits on the border of Kentucky and Virginia. There are limited views from the wooded summit, but en route to the top, there are opportunities to look east toward the massive strip mining operations. During a visit to Black Mountain, The Doubles provides a chance to take in another named peak and stretch your legs before getting back in your vehicle to continue your road journey.
USGS Quad: Benham
Trails Illustrated Map: #793 Clinch Ranger District
KY or VA Rank: Unranked
Prominence: 240 feet
Rank & Prominence Information: Lists of John
Getting There & Route Information
Unless you are into bushwhacking and trespassing across strip-mined, privately owned land (strongly discouraged), the only option for accessing The Doubles is via KY/VA Route 160 which winds between US Hwy 119 to the northwest and US Hwy 23 to the southeast.
• From US Hwy 119 at Cumberland, Kentucky, ascend KY 160 eastbound to the Virginia border. The road into the Black Mountain access area will be on your right.
• From US Hwy 23 at Appalachia, Virginia to the southeast, ascend VA 160 westbound to the Kentucky border. The road into the Black Mountain access area will be on your left.
Per hgrapid’s Black Mountain page on SP, the appropriate entry road has a sign announcing the nearby presence of “FAA En Route Radar | Lynch, KY.” From Rt. 160, follow the narrow service road (which can be driven by standard cars/sedans) less than ½ mile to a very small turnout on the right / northern side of the road. This turnout is unmarked and narrow and fits only three small vehicles.
From the parking turnout, cross the road and travel southwest up an old road bed. The roadbed starts muddy and rutted but becomes faint and leaf covered, eventually becoming just a subtle clearing. The summit, at least in dense leaf cover, is unmarked.
One-Way Distance: 1/4 mile
Elevation Gain: 180 feet
Historical NoteIf driving Hwy 160 from the northwest from the town of Cumberland, Kentucky, you will pass through the old mining town of Lynch, Kentucky. On the left-hand (northern) side of the road you may notice the Lynch Colored High School at 278 W. Main St. This structure, built in 1923, reflects a time when United States society was highly segregated between Caucasian (“Whites”) and African-American (“Blacks” or “Colored”). Such structural reminders of segregation have been eliminated in much of the U.S., but the solidly-built stone-and-brick structure, and the fact that Lynch is far away from any major center of urban political power and land development / redevelopment, have ensured this reminder persists. As cringe-worthy as this message is, it is an important part of U.S. history, a situation that should be remembered and learned from, and not swept under the rug.
The Doubles, and the route to it straddle not only the Kentucky-Virginia state line, but also the border between mining company land and the Jefferson National Forest. As most visitors to The Doubles will be in the area primarily for a visit to the Kentucky state highpoint, Black Mountain, anyway, it is a good idea to have this waiver for hikers/high-pointers/visitors on your person. Please respect mining employee instructions or requests while visiting.
Near Cumberland, Kentucky
Nearby Kingdom Come State Park in Kentucky has camping.
Near Appalachia, Virginia
The city of Norton, Virginia, operates the Flag Rock Campground in the Flag Rock Recreation Area.
Jefferson National Forest, Clinch Ranger District
• Cave Springs Campground
• High Knob
• Bark Camp Lake