Mt. Osceola & East Osceola
Mt. Osceola Trail
Distance: 6.984 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,417 ft. or 2,761 ft combined round trip
Time: 2:02 (base to Osceola)
0:58 (Osceola to East Osceola)
The trail starts off climbing gently but with plenty of rocks. There is enough room around most of the rocks that you can either weave in and out of them or hop from rock to rock. On the way up this section wasn't bad, but on the way down it got kind of monotonous. I can also see this as a section that someone with bad knees or ankles should take care walking through on the way down when they are more tired.
Early part of the trail
Mixed in towards the top of the rocky sections are places where the trail follows large smooth rocks. While I was hiking up most of these were wet or had water running over them. I didn't find any of these to be slippery today, but if it were colder they could have been. The trail also gets to have some good smooth sections now too.
Wet rocks on the trail
Smooth trail finally
Reaching about 3,900 feet there started to be ice on some of the rocks in the trail even though it was warming up nice and the sun was shinning. In some sections this made the trail pretty tricky and a little slower going. A little higher up the mountain there was also more snow that was on the trail as well. As I left the microspikes in the truck since I didn't think it was going to be bad, I had to pick my footing more carefully here.
Ice covered rocks
Remaining snow and ice on the trail
Just before the summit there are a few side trails leading off to areas on top of the mountain. It is easy to follow them, but also easy to stay on the main trail. One of these paths leads to the left and a great viewpoint to the North. With no clouds today, you could see the mountains in all directions.
Panoramic shot from the lookout just before the summit
A clear Mt. Washington off in the distance
A few hundred feet further up the trail, you get to the summit with another great view with a nice open area to enjoy it in.
A great view from the summit of Mt. Osceola
As I started over to East Osceola the trail had some snow and ice on it since it doesn't get a lot of sun this time of year. As I was walking down I was hoping the steep sections wouldn't be too bad (especially the chimney) so I wouldn't fall down the trail or have to turn back without any traction aids. Luckily there were enough rocks sticking up that you could still make it down. I took the bypass to the chimney since it is harder to go down something steep than up somethng steep. I would try going up the chimney on the return trip.
Looking up the steep and narrow chimney
The bypass to the chimney
There is no real view from the summit of East Osceola, but probably 200 feet past it there is a spot with a nice limited view. This was a good place for break and a snack.
Limited view from East Osceola
Coming back down East Osceola, I stopped at the one view point next to the trail on a large rock. It was interesting to see that you can see the trail coming down into the saddle and leading into the chimney from here. With the rocky cliff near by, it is easy to see why it is so steep.
Viewing the trail coming down to the chimney
I was surprised that the first and only bit of wildlife I saw was a red squirrel when I was back on the summit of Mt. Osceola. This squirrel seemed fine around people as he came right up to some of the other hikers. He was rewarded for his bravery with some bits of food from a couple of the hikers.
Success! A snack
Before heading back down the mountain to the truck, I just sat and enjoyed the great day on the summit of Osceola. There were a few others hikers doing the same thing and it was pretty cool to have a few people sitting there, but no noise at all since we were all just taking it in. Unfortunately, after a while of this, it was time to start heading down the mountain.
Another hiker taking it all in
All in all this hike was a great one with great weather. It was in the 40's and there was almost no wind at all. There were some slick sections of trail, but with taking it easy, extra traction was not needed.
For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE