Chestnut Branch Trail to Mount Cammerer

HARD 12 reviews

Chestnut Branch Trail to Mount Cammerer is a 10.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cosby, TN that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round.

10.4 miles 3261 feet Out & Back


trail running



no dogs

Panoramic views of TN/NC from this historic lookout This is a great year round hike that offers so much for each season. We rated this trail strenuous for the elevation gain for it is just about straight up from Chestnut Branch Trail from the ranger's station, follow this for 2 miles until you intersect with the AT. Go south (left) on the AT for about 3.3 miles. There are some great resting spots with views and photo opts' use the topo for their location. You will reach the MT Cammerer Trail (not Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail) take this trail of .6 miles to reach the tower; there are a few rocky places to navigate. You are allowed to go inside and look around this tower that was completed in 1939 to provide a watchful eye over the mountains. There are many great views in the Smokies but this provides some of the best in the park. Find a level rock ledge and enjoy a lunch with views that are indescribable. This is a great hike to get away from the crowds during peak season.

12 days ago

This was a fun hike in a beautiful area. The fire tower on Mt Cammerer was unique and scenic as well. On the day we hiked, it poured rain most of the day, however, and the views were all hidden by the dense fog. I'll be sure to come back again on a clearer day!

1 month ago

We did this trail yesterday. Wow! It's no joke. The first section is very steep. What an exciting hike!
Let's see...30 minutes into the hike my husband sees a bear about 10 yards in front of him on the trail. I'm oblivious as I was watching my step (the whole hike was uphill then down) I hear him say something, I ask what and he replies, 'There's a bear, keep walking.' He said the bear looked at him and then lumbered off the trail, uphill. I tried to look as I went past but I wanted to get away from it. So then not 20 minutes later he says, 'Run! There are hornets on the trail.' I look up and sure enough, there they are. Yikes! So glad he's so observant!
The hike was the most difficult we've done so far. The hiking time was 6:40min. 4 hours up and 2:40 down. That doesn't include the hour we spent at the tower. My ankles are screaming at me.
The fire tower is beautiful, built by the CCC, the view is amazing.
We saw a shrew(so cute), a slug, a frog and then on the way down....a rattlesnake!!! It was right off the trail slithering away from us. Of course my husband spotted it. It was so beautiful and looked like velvet. We stood about 10 ft away just watching. It didn't even rattle, so we felt OK. He was just doing his thing, didn't even care we were there. Amazing!!!
Today my feet are doing well, but all of my joints are screaming at me. Trekking poles are a must. We hike all the time and this was doable but challenging. Coming down the AT was wonderful but it got real after that.
Would I do it again? Probably not. But I'm so glad we did! The fire tower was amazing! The hike was beautiful. Do it! You won't regret it! I gave it 5 stars.

2 months ago


4 months ago

Nice trail. Just fyi, no dogs are allowed on any trails in the Great Smoky National Forest.

5 months ago


10 months ago

About 12 miles out and back with all trails combined (Low Gap Trail to - AT - Mt. Cammerer trail). ~3,000 elevation change, took me 4 hours to summit and come back that includes about a 20-30 minute break at the fire tower. The first 2.9 miles are pretty steep and rough to get up. Then once you hit the AT there is a bit more climbing but much more relaxed as you are basically hiking the ridge. The last 2 miles are pleasant on top of the ridge with nice balds every once in awhile and rhododendron. The view is amazing, best I've seen in the Smokies so far. A treat of a hike, and leaves you feeling nice and worked out! #solohikes

11 months ago

Was not most enjoyable hike, however view is my favorite in the smokies

11 months ago

You'll find the trail-head located just past the parking lot of Big Creek Ranger Station. Its starts steep, but soon levels out to a very manageable climb up to the AT, sans a brisk switchback here and there.

The 3.3 mile workout on the AT up to the Cammerer Trail is rewarded by a beautiful ridge line hike - sandwiched between two very nice overlooks facing the east, while Cammerer's craggy head looks down on you from above.

Returning from the Cammerer Trail, the perspective views back down the AT are even better than going up!

1 year ago

1 year ago

Excellent views and a unique 'west-coast' style fire tower. This is a very intense hike so be prepared!

2 years ago

This is a great hike with one of the best views has 360 degree panoramic view can see Mt Sterling fire tower, I40, and NC. Their is plenty of water at the base of trail but ounce past the first mile their is no water plan accordingly, Trail is steep and rocky in parts. The last .6 of the AT is very easy.

4 years ago

The only part of this trail I did was the portion from Lower Mt Cammerer junction up the AT to Mt Cammerer. This portion of the trail is steep and rocky. Lots of breaks were needed. I've done this in sun, snow and cool fog, every time it's just as rough. At one point there is a large rock that you can climb to see a great view!