Trail: Mount Osceola
Hours: 4:30 of hiking; 6 total
October 10, 2015
Mt. Osceola (4,315’) is one of the easiest 4,000-footers to conquer. If you are just starting out on the 4,000-Footer List or simply want an easy hike to a higher elevation, I would recommend Mt. Osceola. Although the views are not 360°, they are beautiful!
NOTE: This is an out-and-back trail gaining over 2,000 feet. You can add East Osceola (4,156’) by hiking an additional 1 mile. I heard the trail between the summits is moderately easy, but there is a section called “The Chimney” where you climb 20 feet vertically.
Alex and I began hiking around 9:00 AM on a cool October morning. This was my third time hiking Mt. Osceola but Alex’s first. This was also our first 4,000-footer conquest together, and Alex’s very first 4,000-footer, so I was excited for him to experience the hike! The first part of the hike was flat and open. It’s a classic bait and switch because the trail quickly became cluttered with large rocks. It made for a fun rock hopping experience! After the first mile, there were switchbacks winding up the mountain with smaller rocks, so our footing was more secure. The switchbacks made for an easier, gradual climb to the summit. However, as we approached the summit, there were rock scrambles which added some difficulty and fun! It rained the night before, so it made the scrambling was a bit slippery, but we managed!
The trail was in the treeline, so we didn’t get a sneak peek of the view, but trust me, it was worth the wait! Because the trail didn’t break the treeline, most of the summit was covered in trees. Once we cleared the last of the trail, we were greeted with amazing views looking East! There were some concrete slabs which previously held a fire tower on the summit. It was built in 1910 but removed in 1985. I wish it was still there because it would have given some breathtaking views above the treeline.
We reached the summit around 11:30 AM and were surprised by the lack of people. This summit is usually moderately packed, but there were only a few other groups of people. We walked to the end of the summit to find a lower area to sit, enjoy the view, and eat lunch. We were also hoping it would block some wind since it was quite windy! The temperatures were low, so we didn’t stay on the summit for as long as we normally would. Don’t let the top picture fool you. That was taken on my first trek up to Osceola a few years ago.
Around noon, we began our descent which was quick and easy even though our muscles were cold. It began to drizzle, so we were happy to have started our descent when we did, so we did not have to deal with the rock scrambles being slipperier. We picked up our speed as we reached the switchbacks reaching the last mile within an hour. The rock hopping experience for the last mile was not fun once the rocks became wetter, but we finished by 2:00 PM beating our ascent time by 30 minutes!
As I said above, this is one of the easiest 4,000-footers to conquer that has a view. There are other easy hikes to smaller 4,000-footers, but they do not have a view. If you are looking to conquer your first 4,000-footer, I would recommend this to you! I love this hike, so I am hoping to do it again adding East Osceola to it!
Have you hiked Mt. Osceola? Do you agree it is one of the easiest 4,000-footers to hike? If you have any questions/comments, please leave them below!