Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Cosby with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike out of Cosby Campground. Steady climbing all the way up Snake Den Ridge. Snake Den offered a few subtle views, but no stellar overlooks. It’s all steady down Maddron Bald which is a neat stretch that offers slightly better views. Albright Grove loop featured a lot of old growth and large trees. Gabe’s Mountain trail had some ups and downs but mostly easy hiking. Hen Wallow Falls was much larger than I anticipated, and a great place to have a snack. This is also the most crowded stretch as it is only 2.2 miles from the campground. My suunto ambit clocked the loop at 19.75 miles (including the walking through the campground and an additional 1.4 I added by going all the way up to the AT). Long for a day hike, but a great walk and much less crowded than the hikes in the more popular areas of the park. An early start afforded me the opportunity to spend the first 2 hours and 45 minutes (~7 miles) without seeing anyone.
Bottom line: nothing in this hike is overwhelmingly spectacular, but the climbing, the wide spectrum of vegetation and a waterfall allows this hike to truly embody the Smokies.

This trail is a great workout! The first part of the trail (Low Gap) was very steep with a lot of rocks (you definitely have to watch your step on the way down--lots of opportunities to misstep and trip). There were a lot of pretty wildflowers. It was neat to see all the thru-hikers once we got to the AT. We ate lunch at the top and enjoyed the view and learning about the fire lookout. We were glad we hiked this trail, but wouldn't do it again if we had limited time and could only pick one long hike. The views weren't as good as Mt. LeConte, and we thought this trail was just as or a little more strenuous.

Amazing hike today. Views are unbelievable. Steady incline most of the way but well work the effort.

Steady climbing. 2:40 to the top with a much too heavy pack. We had the place to ourselves. Views near or on par with Leconte.

Was so far the hardest hike I’ve done, to me harder than Mount Leconte due to its pretty much straight up to the summit. Coming down was a little hard on knees.
Great views and worth it I feel accomplished for sure and would do again. Take snacks and plenty of water.
About 5 hours

Awesome hike with a beautiful and interesting peak. Was cool to be able to hang out in the Lookout Tower and learn a little bit about fire watchers. Although it is a 11 mile hike with 3000 feet of gain, the trail is mostly smooth and comfortable so the hike doesn’t seem so strenuous.

Hiked this yesterday 31-Jan-2018. Difficult trail definitely worth the hike. Took me 3 hours out and 2 hours back. I'm out of shape though, ha! There are 2 ways to get here. I took the low gap trail.

I decided to do this hike early on 12/31 to catch the sunrise over the mountains. I started early and was able to get to the top at the fire lookout right after the sun rose. The hike was beautiful and was a great challenge, especially in the switchbacks. I cannot wait to do this hike again and share it with my family. There was some ice on the AT heading towards the lookout but nothing too troubling since the trail widened out at that point as well. A great hike to spend some time on and share with others.

The beginning of the trail was nice and relaxing as you follow the creek. Once you get to the stretch of the Appalachian trail, the climb begins to become quite challenging. It is steep and relentless providing a workout to say the least. When you reach the next fork, the hike levels out for the most part (at least in comparison to the Appalachian stretch). If you are hiking this trail in the winter the snow can start to pile up and the wind can begin to become piercing (at least it did when I was here). The trail leading to the tower is straight forward enough and once you reach the tower at the peak, the views will blow you away. Overall, the trail was definitely not for the timid, but the payoff is well worth the struggle.

I intended to go up to the fire tower and back but made it up in good time so I took the AT to the low cammerer trail back down (extra 5 miles or so but very gently declined). Views at the fire tower were gorgeous. Weather varies from snow and cold to sun & lush plants. Nice diversity that way. Switchbacks up are tough but doable. Had the trail to myself most of the day - only passed a handful of people. Very pretty and good workout.

challenging but the views were great even with a little haze in the distance

Great trail with fantastic reward views at the top, and along the AT section. The first 0.8-mile is pretty, traveling along the creek. After that, the next 3 miles are relentlessly steep, and it's not much easier coming downhill in this section! That said, about 0.5-mile after getting onto the AT portion heading towards Mt. Cammerer, the trail levels out with the usual up-and-down of the ridgetop on the AT. The short side trail to Mt. Cammerer is a fun little trail, with a little bit of rocky scrambling (nothing technical) toward the end near the tower. The tower itself is a pretty octagonal tower with outstanding views in all directions. Very enjoyable and rewarding 11-mile round trip!

Great 360 views at the top. Fairly steep, continuous climb to top without much trail variation. But nice, with some good views along the way.

beyond beautiful !!!! well worth the grind...lol

up, up, up, on a nice almost road. Not much variation in the trail, I would have almost preferred some more rocks :-)

backpacking
6 months ago

Long trail with many outstanding views. Well marked and well maintained trail. The climb is a grind since it is a steady incline until you get to the top.

The small stream at the bottom is great. I dipped my tired legs in the ice cold water at the bottom.

Highlight of the entire climb was of course the peak. The lookout tower gives you access to 360 degree views over everything. I was there in the fall any it was a spectacular view. Definitely not crowded on a weekday in the fall. Highly recommend. I saw 5 people, 2 at the peak and had hours of quite hiking.

This was one of my favorite trails in the south for the views.

Well maintained trail. Definitely a little steep for the first 3 miles, complete with a handful of switchbacks through some gorgeous forests - because of this, you may want to bring walking sticks to help your knees in the way back down. Once you get on the AT, it levels out for a about a mile while you walk along the ridge. The fire watch tower is neat with some huge rocks to sit on and enjoy the view. Bring sandwiches and lots of water.

All Trails reviewed this trail as a "relentless climb" this is TRUE!!! First 3ish miles is a steep climb, come early when the sun hasn't come over the mountain yet and it's much more enjoyable... when you get to the AT it levels out significantly compared to first half, still climbing but much more enjoyable hike.
This is a horse trail, and all that come with it, so watch your step and mind the flies.
The top is beautiful 360 views of the Great Smoky Mountains... and this is when the day gets awesome, successful summit, lunch time, and mostly down hill from here.
Watch your step, lots of leaves covering loose rocks during the fall months.
The reason I gave this trail 3 stars is unlike LeConte... personally I won't be revisiting Mt. Cammerer. The approach trails on LeConte and the Bunion are much more scenic and enjoyable, and the summit views are equally as breathtaking.

Hiked with my three little boys last year. Challenging in the best way. Frees your soul. On a clear morning you can see for miles. Bring your water. Last creek you'll see will be just outside of Cosby.

worth the work!

Excellent views from the tower. You also have the option of doing a loop using lower gap. Recently, I went up Low Gap Trail to the AT and then tower. Then, instead of heading back the same way, I took AT North to Lower Gap and hiked into Crosby from there. Either way, the views at the tower are hard to beat!

We went during late fall, the color of the mountain is AMAZING. The ground is completely covered with golden leaves, the valley was decorated with green, yellow, and garnet. We enjoyed the view of the valley as much as the top! Fall is definitely a great time to go. With that being said, the fallen leaves can make the trail slippery especially when it rains. I wore my workout shoes and I slipped couple of times on the narrow trail (the other side was deep valley) and my feet was hurting stepping on rocks. So bring good hiking shoes. It took about 6-7 hours round trip, so start early and plan a whole day.

Pretty tough trail, but definitely worth it in the end! Once you get into Cosby Campground, the parking area is right before the campground check in, there is a lot to your left. The trailhead here is a little confusing. But to follow Low Gap, you'll walk between the creek and the campgrounds (creek should be to your left). After a few minutes you'll see a readable trail sign, and it's easier to understand the route from there. The first 45minutes are pretty laid back, but after that, it's a steady uphill climb until you reach the sign for AT. It's up and down after that. The tower is cool, few rocks to scramble up at the end, but nothing crazy. Nice spots to sit and rest or eat. Good views for nice photos. Few muddy spots due to being shared with horses. Didn't see much wildlife activity at all. Way more traffic than we were expecting, but still had a lovely solitude feel to it. Going to hit it again in the fall!

It was so hard up AND down but the top was worth every ache and pain! If this pair of 40 somethings can do it, so can you! Wear shoes meant for hiking. Take food and plenty of water. Watch your footing near the edges at the top. If you have joint problems, this hike isn't for you.

I did this trail today. it was tough, there isn't much to look at on the way up. but the view at the end is great! very buggy at the bottom.

The Mount Cammerer trail from Cosby Campground is a very underrated hike. Out of the four hikes we did on our Smoky Mountain trip this was the most strenuous to me, but worth every bit of it and made the top of my list! The hike was a steady uphill the whole way, so more of a test of endurance than having to navigate obstacles. Because of the climb it is a killer on the knees on the way back down so be aware and prepared for some burning!! It is a long hike that requires some climbing over and up large rocks at the end. When we went it was foggy so we didn't get the views but we're still impressed and it is on the top of our list for next time. I have heard the views are second to none!

At the top you can go in the tower to relax, see the views on a clear day and have a snack. We met some really nice people up there and sat and chatted for a good half hour. We were then able to walk back down with our new hiking buddies, such a nice treat to meet fellow hikers and learn about and enjoy other's company. We saw a black bear on the way down, he was eating berries on the trail. As we got closer he went just a bit up the hill and watched for us to go past so he could continue his snack. He was quite a lovely site to see!

If you visit the Smokies and enjoy hiking don't miss this one of a kind hike!

Love it. It's gonna hurt unless you're a fit master. But it hurts so good. Once you make it to the Appalachian Trail it's smooth sailing. You will eventually have to climb some rocks and wiggle through brush but the views are worth it.

I love it. I'm not in the best shape so I love the burn I feel in my legs and thighs from the climb at the beginning of the trail to the Appalachian Trail. From there it gets easier so it's a relief. Then the views. So nice.

Left from the "hiker parking" lot at cosby campground and used the Low Gap trailhead located right next to the parking lot (a little different from the route marked on the map). The Low Gap trail was tough!! The AT and spur trail were much easier with some nice views. Beautiful rhododendrons and amazing views near the top.

It was a very difficult hike both ways. My knees were screaming on the way down. The views were more than worth it

Load More