Mount Cammerer via Low Gap Trail is a 10.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cosby, TN that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
This hike to Mt. Cammerer begins from the Low Gap Trailhead in the Cosby Campground. Although it's a roundtrip hike of 12 miles, it's still the shortest and most commonly used route to the 4928-foot summit. From the trailhead you'll climb Low Gap Trail for 3 miles before hooking-up with the Appalachian Trail. This is a steep and relentless climb, over several switchbacks, that takes hikers through a beautiful and mature hardwood forest as they proceed up the Cosby Creek valley. Upon reaching the junction, turn left onto the Appalachian Trail to continue hiking towards the Mount Cammerer Trail. Along the early sections of the Appalachian Trail you'll continue climbing, however, the elevation gain isn't quite as steep as the Low Gap Trail. Hikers will cross over a grassy ridge that offers views of the Cosby Valley, Snake Den Ridge and Inadu Knob, as well as several fine places to take a break before turning onto the rugged spur trail that leads to the summit of Mt. Cammerer. This spur is slightly more than half-mile long, and is fairly level, but does involve some rock scrambling as you follow the narrow ridge out to the fire tower. Take your time and watch your step. At 4928 feet in elevation, the summit of Mt. Cammerer sits on the edge of a rocky outcropping overlooking the Pigeon River Gorge. On a clear day the views are simply awesome; some even say the best in the Park. For an even better vantage point, step up to the deck of the stone fire tower. This "western" style tower, which was fully restored in 1995, provides hikers with excellent 360 degree views. Look in any direction and see row upon row of mountains. The mountain directly across the gorge, with the white aviation tower at the top, is 4263-foot Snowbird Mountain. Below you and outside of the park is the water tower for the hydro-electric plant in the Big Creek area. To the south is Mt. Sterling with another interesting fire tower on its peak. And of course, towards the west, is the seemingly endless expanse of mountains we call the Smokies. The octagonal fire tower at the summit was built by local laborers and the Civilian Conservation Corp in the late 1930s using hand-cut stone. Men working on the tower drilled and blocked the stone right out of the mountainside from a quarry just 100 yards downhill from the tower. Some of these stones weighed as much as 600 pounds.
very steep but shorter way up to tower
Decided to scout this area for a possible backpack for our hiking club. I would consider this a pretty intermediate to strenuous hike, since the climb is pretty steady. Water sources are great on Low Gap, but after the AT junction conserve. Stay at a steady pace to make the trip enjoyable and stick with it. Some of the best views of the park are located at this fire tower!
It was a fun hike a lot of great scenery and challenging trail
Definitely a great trail, and quite a workout. It took our family of five (3 teenagers, two adults) just under seven hours to make the circuit, including a 30-minute stop at the top. The first half of the hike, up Low Gap trail, is definitely the toughest, but the trail's in great shape, and you're following Cosby Creek for quite a while. Once you make the turn on to the Appalachian Trail, the climbing is less intense, though you've got a ways to go still. The view from the restored fire tower at the trail end is worth the hike.
Awesome views and good workout. this is easily the best hike in the smokies. the view from the summit of Mt Cammerer is spectacular. Look for Blackberries and Raspberries along the trail for a nice snack on the go.
Strenuous but rewarding. Great hike.
The trail was pretty decent. Straight uphill to the top and then all downhill all the way back down. Views from the tower are spectacular, as was the stream near the trailhead.
One of the best views in the Smokies. A must if you only have a day or two in the park. The hike is strenuous, especially the last mile approach to the AT. 12 miles round trip if starting from the hikers parking area. We completed the trek in 5:15, including 30 minutes at the top for pictures and lunch.
Difficult hike, but worth it. Make sure you start early.
The trail is a great cardiovascular and calf workout. Very well maintained, mixed forest, some old growth and "healthy" hemlocks. Mossy, well groomed trail. The full hike from Cosby Campground parking in/out 10 miles + .6 in/out to Mt. Camerer Firetower. 11.2 total miles. I'll absolutely be doing it again.
One of the premier climbs of the park.
Been up many times - each one unique. The most memorable trek done so far has been Christmas Day, 2013, with a snow covered trail and no clouds to be seen!
Hard hike, but totally worth the payoff.
Went many years ago with friends but it was a good trail! View was awesome from the top!
Great hike! Uphill for 6 miles, and then down hill for 6 miles. At least the middle 4 miles was snow covered, with opportunities for "ankle turning" if you do not pay attention to foot placement. The view at the top was incredible! When you get to the App. Trail portion (take left), that portion you feel like you are at the top but it is still almost 1 hour across to the Fire Tower. We saw no animals at all, not even a squirrel!
One of the most beautiful places in the smokies, however it's also a popular place. 2700 feet elevation change from Cosby Campground and worth every foot.
Mount Cammerer is one of my favorite destinations in the Smokies. I've been several times: once up Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail and down Low Gap, once along the AT on a hike of the AT in Tennessee, and once up Low Gap to Mt Cammerer and down Lower Mt Cammerer Trail. Any way you want to go, it's SOOO worth it! The views are spectacular in clear weather, but the day I was there in the rain with NO views, it's still an amazing place. The history behind the structure of the tower itself is awe-inspiring. This is a MUST-SEE destination in the Eastern United States, in my opinion! Just DO it! Plan an early start so you can spend some time at the tower--you're never gonna want to leave! Read about my first trip up here: http://hikingtotheheights.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-magic-of-mount-cammerer.html