11.2 miles round trip (including Lincoln Woods Trail and the Franconia Ridge Trail)
Difficulty: Weekend Warriors
The Osseo Trail ascent of Mt. Flume has to rank as one of the “easier” 4,000-foot climbs in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Practically serving as a boundary marker between the Pemigewasset Wilderness and Franconia Notch State Park, it packs plenty of scenery to boot. All of which makes it a great option for casual hikers wanting to bag a 4,000-foot peak, or as a starter mountain for those eager to collect all 48.
To access the Osseo Trail, hikers begin on the Lincoln Woods Trail from the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center. This trail, which becomes the Wilderness Trail at the entry point to the Pemigewasset Wilderness, is a high-speed, inter-forest hiking highway delivering peak seekers to numerous trailheads throughout the Wilderness. The Osseo Trail is the first exit, located 1.4 miles in on the left.
I had the pleasure of hitting the Lincoln Woods Trail before any heavy foot traffic on a clear fall day, the early morning sunshine glowing like a prism in the leaves above. Turning onto the Osseo Trail at first seems a continuation of this leisurely stroll as it meanders alongside a brook. Having provided plenty of walking to warm up the legs, the trail eventually climbs a relatively steep bank. Upon reaching actual steepness, Osseo offers a series of switchbacks and a couple wooden staircases.
The Osseo Trail ends after 4.1 miles at a junction with the Flume Slide Trail and the beginning of the Franconia Ridge Trail. Continue straight on the Franconia Ridge Trail for 0.1 miles to reach the summit of Mt. Flume. From here more adventurous hikers can turn this hike into a multi-day trek by carrying on across Mt. Liberty, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Lafayette and perhaps the entire 31-mile Pemi Loop.
Take exit 32 on I-93 and at the end of the ramp turn left onto Rt. 112 East, also the Kancamagus Highway. Approximately 5.6 miles from the exit is the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center parking lot, which has a daily parking fee.
The first 1.4 miles on the Lincoln Woods Trail is easy walking on an old logging road. The Osseo Trail head is clearly marked.
The early going on the Osseo Trail is equally as pleasant.
When the climbing gets steep, there are plenty of switchbacks and rock staircases have been well maintained.
And then there are wooden ladders.
There are a couple viewpoints along the Osseo Trail. This one is looking out over Mt. Bond and the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
Looking out from the Mt. Flume summit.
The view of Mt. Liberty from the Mt. Flume summit.
Looking down on the Mt. Flume slide from the summit.
The view of the Franconia Ridge and mounts Lincoln and Lafayette from Flume.