Mount Osceola

Mountain:  Mt. Osceola (4340')
Trail:  Mount Osceola Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Waterville Valley
Location:  Livermore, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, 4000-footer
Distance:  6.4 miles  
Elevation Gain:  2060 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 3:28   Typical: 4:20  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 5:30  
Season:  Fall
Hike Date:  10/30/1999 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  05/18/2009  
Weather:  Pleasant 40 degrees, mostly hazy
Author:  Webmaster

Route Summary   

This is an up-and-back hike to Mount Osceola, a 4000-footer with excellent easterly views.

  • You will be following Mount Osceola Trail, without meeting any trail junctions, all the way up to the summit of Mount Osceola.
  • After hiking up Mount Osceola Trail for 2.1 miles, look for a ledge on the left that offers views of Sandwich Mountain.
  • Continue up Mount Osceola Trail for another 1.1 miles to reach the summit which offers excellent easterly views from open ledges.
  • For a view to the north, backtrack just a bit to the old fire tower footings (not to be confused with the newer set of footings located near the eastern view ledge), then turn west (right when backtracking from the summit). Follow the short spur to an open ledge offering northerly views.
  • When you are done enjoying the vistas, retrace your steps back down Mount Osceola Trail starting off in a westerly direction. Mount Osceola Trail also continues across the summit to the northeast so be sure to leave the peak in the correct direction.

Place         Split
Mount Osceola Trailhead on Tripoli Road (2280') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Mt. Osceola summit (4340') 3.2 3.2 1:43 1:43
Mount Osceola Trailhead on Tripoli Road (2280') 3.2 6.4 1:45 3:28



Trail map of hike route to Mount Osceola (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

This was a pleasant trail and fantastic summit but the route was crowded with people and ill-behaved, unleased dogs. There were about 25 cars parked at the trailhead. Since there are not really any loop trails or branches from this spot, that means that all those people were on the same trail. I would probably do it again on a weekday but it was too crowded to make me want to do it again on a weekend.

Overall this was a moderate trail, leaning towards the easy side. The first part of the trail is rocky such that a rough stepping-stone path is formed. You can either step mostly on the rocks, or mostly on the small patches of dirt around the rocks. As you climb higher, the dirt wins out and there are fewer rocks.

About two-thirds of the way up, I started to see small amounts of snow and ice trailside. As I got closer to the summit, the snow and ice was harder to avoid and made for a short, very difficult section without crampons. If it wasn't for the little trees on the side of the trail offering hand holds, I wouldn't have been able to make it up the path – it was very slick.

The summit is a wide open, ledgy area. It was cold and windy. Although I was comfortable hiking in a thin pair of leggings and lightweight shirt, I couldn't get warm enough on the summit even after adding layers: fleece leggings, turtleneck, fleece sweatshirt, shell, gloves, and hat!

NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

The Mount Osceola Trailhead is located in Livermore, New Hampshire just north of Waterville Valley.

From I-93:
  • From I-93, take exit 31 ("To Rt. 175 - Tripoli Road"). At the bottom of the exit ramp, head east on Tripoli Road.
  • The trailhead is 7 miles from I-93. Tripoli Road becomes a (well-maintained) gravel road after a couple miles.
  • The parking area for the trailhead is located on the left-hand side of the road when coming from I-93.
  • Parking is also permitted on the side of the road in case the lot is full (park on the south/right side only).

Restricted Access: Note that Tripoli Road is closed during the winter season. Tripoli Road may be accessed directly off of I-93 (as described above) or via Rt. 49 in Waterville Valley, but there's an additional gate on Tripoli Road from the Waterville Valley side that may be closed in spring and fall as well as winter. So your best bet for access is directly from I-93 as described above, although you won't be able to drive to the trailhead in winter regardless as to which route you choose.

Check out the White Mountain National Forest's road status page for the most up-to-date information on road closures.

Other Notes   

WMNF Recreational Pass

A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas. You can purchase a WMNF permit from the forest service and other vendors and can also pay-by-the-day using self-service kiosks located in many parking areas.

For more information on parking passes please refer to the White Mountain National Forest website.

  • $5 per day
  • $30 for a year-long pass
  • $40 for a year for a household

More Mt. Osceola Trail Reports   



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