- Difficulty: White Mountains Easy
- Trailhead: Tripoli Road
- Distance: 8.4 miles
- Elevation: 4,315′ (Osceola), 4,156′ (East Osceola)
- Elevation Gain: 2,950 ft.
- Hike Type: Out and Back
- View: Great (Osceola), None (East Osceola)
Today we decided to tackle Mt. Osceola and East Osceola as our first 4000 footer of 2015. These two mountains are located in the southern region of the White Mountains, and are typically tackled together, although they can be done separately. The trail is very moderate up to the Summit of Mt. Osceola, where you’re greeted with phenomenal near 180º eastern views.
We decided to hike quickly to the summit of Osceola, knowing that there would be views and a great place to stop for a snack. East Osceola is the obvious peak in the near-distance connected by a ridge with a large “step” down. That step-down is the best part of the hike, referenced in the AMC White Mountain Guide as “The Chimney”. It is a short and steep section of trail that requires careful hiking and often the use of hands. If it proves to be too difficult, there is a herd path on the left (descent) or right (ascent) that can be used to bypass it. Overall, it looks a lot scarier from the top but is actually quite fun.
After climbing down the Chimney we quickly arrived at the summit of East Osceola, where we met another group of hikers stopping for lunch. The summit of East Osceola has no views, and unfortunately everyone forgot to snap a picture while there. After a short break we retraced our steps, eating lunch on the ledges of Osceola before heading back down to the car.
Mt. Osceola and East Osceola only have one main variation. Instead of hiking from Tripoli road which closes in the winter, they can be climbed from the Greeley Pond Trailhead which reverses the order taking you first over East Osceola with a turn around at the main peak. The hike is shorter but with more elevation gain (3,100′, 150′ more than Tripoli Rd) and is considerably steeper on the way up to East Osceola.