Original Osseo Trail
Lincoln, New Hampshire, the heart of the White Mountains. The original Osseo trail was in use up to the 1980’s. It provided a direct trail from the town of Lincoln up to the summit of Mt. Flume. This route is shorter (about 10 miles round trip) than the current Osseo trail which leaves from Lincoln Woods.
Alex Roberts, Justin Walsh, and Philip Carcia checking out the route.
Though this trail is now technically a bushwack, on a recent hike (May 13th, 2022) we found the route fairly easy to follow and well marked.
We departed from the Clearbrook visitor parking area. The first 0.25 miles of the trail was blazed in red. While not officially maintained (at least not to our knowledge), the trail is easy to follow and well-marked. It is also clear that someone or some organization is maintaining the trail as many of the blazes are clearly more recent than the 1980’s.
At 0.25 you cross a stream (fairly mild crossing) and then come to a path blazed in yellow. The trail is moderate to this point and stays that way until you cross back over Clearbrook.
Despite it being easy to follow, the trail has many of the hallmarks of your typical White Mountains trail - fairly steep in sections, very few switchbacks, and some rock hopping at times. One of the nice distinctions of the trail is that it’s relatively dormant state has many more sections of soil (as opposed to rock) for long sections of the hike, which is especially nice on the descent.
One of the first great views of the hike is from Whaleback (3640’). You will see the Loon Ski area as well as the valley. There is also a great viewpoint just prior to this point that offers a stunning view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness – definitely worth the 50ft side trail.
From Whaleback the ‘trail’ is pretty flat. We encountered 1-2’ of snow, so hard to tell the ground condition (though the parts we did encounter were in great shape). From speaking to others who have hiked this part, it sounds like it can get pretty rough once all the brush comes in for the spring/summer.
This part of the trail was a bit of a slog. The snow was the consistency where you could walk on top for a few steps, then crash through on the next one. One would also think this would be a pretty wet/buggy area once the snow melts.
Soon, however, you rendezvous with the current Osseo Trail. From there it is a quick jaunt to the summit of Flume. Prior to heading up the trail, however, it is wise to make sure you mentally note where you ‘came out of the woods’. You want to make sure you can find your way back to avoid a long road walk back to your car!
On the summit of Flume, you will find great views (weather permitting) and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did! After soaking in all you desire, reverse your tracks for the trip back. It is about 10 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain/loss - not to mention a bit of an adventure.
A HUGE THANK YOU to Alex Roberts, Philip Carcia, and Justin Walsh for an awesome day!
Burgeon Outdoor was founded in 2019. Burgeon’s mission is to help mountain communities flourish. Burgeon proudly manufactures premium outdoor apparel in Lincoln, NH. By manufacturing locally, Burgeon creates year-round jobs in the White Mountains. 5% of Burgeon’s sales support its community and environmental efforts. To learn more, please visit our studio at the Village Shops in Lincoln, our website burgeonoutdoor.com or call us at 603-745-7123.