This trailhead is one of two which are the usual starting points to access two peaks: Mount Osceola and East Osceola (the other trailhead being the Greeley Ponds Trail trailhead on the Kancamagus Highway). The Mount Osceola Trail is the only trail accessed from this point.
Tripoli Road is closed seasonally, so this trailhead cannot always be accessed by car.
Turn here, heading east on Tripoli Road
This trailhead is located on the north side of Tripoli Road, just west of the height-of-land of Thornton Gap. It can be reached either from the east or west, but both routes start from I-93.
To reach the trailhead from the west, take I-93 to exit 31 and start northeast. Travel on Tripoli Road for about 6.7 miles to the parking area. The road starts off paved, but soon becomes dirt.
To reach the trailhead from the east, take I-93 exit 28 and go northeast on Route 49 for 10.3 miles to reach Tripoli Road. This is a short distance south of the center of town of Waterville Valley. Turn left onto Tripoli Road and go 4.5 miles to the parking area. The road is mostly paved, but becomes dirt shortly before the parking area driveway.
For the White Mountains National Forest, you are required to pay $3 for a daily pass, which is essentially a parking permit. The pass, which is available at the trailhead pay station, is then displayed in your car. Since it is a pay station, no change is available. Be sure to bring a pen/pencil to fill out the envelope.
There are other passes available for more than daily use. See the Price List for more information.
Map at trailhead
The Appalachian Mountain Club's White Mountains Trail Maps are an excellent set of maps for this area, and it is easy to follow them to find this trailhead.
An excellent book which indicates this trailhead is "The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains" by Smith and Dickerman.