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.

The views from the lookout make this worth the effort. 360 degree panoramic views of the Smokies and beyond; probably the best views of all the GSMNP trails I’ve hiked. We went on a cool fall day which made the all-uphill manageable. Some rock scramble at the very end. About 4 hours up and 2.5 coming down (2 middle-agers, average fitness)

Great views! Some serious elevation to start out! A great hike for a fall day!

Pretty rough especially the first 4 miles! Don’t get the full experience since it was cloudy. The hike was actually 13.3 miles from parking lot out and back .

This hike was fantastic. Park at the lower parking area of Cosby campground and you will see a sign for the Low Gap Trail to the right of the lot. Follow this until you get on the Appalachian Trail and then follow the signs to Mount Cammerer. We went on a weekday in September and only saw 4 people the entire hike. Plenty of space to park. We started at 8am and it took us around 5.5 hrs - that’s with some photo breaks :) The trail is tree covered until the very end so that helped with the heat. My only complaint is all the little bugs flying around my face. But thats what I expected for a humid day in TN. It is a lot of elevation gain but worth the amazing 360 view of the Smokies. Also to note, I did record our hike using the AllTrails app and it clocked us closer to 11.5-12 miles!

2 months ago

Great hike! Rained most of the way up which kept the bugs away. We didn’t have much of a view, but the overlook was neat. I found the difficulty to be way less than Warriors Passage, Lead Cove to Bote Mountain, and even Silers Bald. And they are rated moderate. Totally recommend this trail!

Beautiful trail. I did this with a 1st time hiker, although he said it was difficult he really enjoyed it. There are a few switch backs and the trail can be somewhat steep at times, the majority of the trail is very shaded. Not too many water sources so bring enough just in case one of the streams has dried up. I highly recommend packing a lunch so that you can really enjoy the fire tower and its beautiful views! A bit of a boulder scramble to make it to the firehouse, but the 360 degree views are amazing! At one point the trail was so dense with fog that visibility was roughly 30 ft. It was really cool and I highly recommend it.

Very fun hike. Was a little foggy when we arrived but still worth it. Met a few very cool people on the AT and hiked with them for a few miles.

A great hike if you're looking for a challenge. We began from Cosby camground and took the Low Gap Trail to the AT. This first stretch is completely uphill and a steep grade at times. The first bit follows the river and then crosses over a trickle before meeting up with the AT. This is the last water you'll have access to, so fill up and filter if needed. Bugs are relentless (or at least in the summer when I went) on this stretch to the AT intersection. Once you meet the AT, it levels off and you can quicken your pace, as it is a pretty simple hike to the Cammerer approach trail. The approach trail is a short hike up to the fire tower, with gorgeous views. Both sunset and sunrise can be viewed unobstructed from the tower and are truly gorgeous. On a Saturday in the Smokies, we saw a total of about 8 people and had the whole place to ourselves for the night. An awesome hike and great views, would definitely recommend to experienced hikers

This was the first hike we did in the Smoky Mountains. The first three miles are tough, as it’s just up, up, and more up. This is where most of the elevation gain occurs. After the first few miles the trail connects with the Appalachian Trail, which you then take to the Mount Cammerer lookout trail spur. The views from the lookout are spectacular and make the tough hike up worthwhile and rewarding. It’s also cool to go inside the lookout tower on top. This hike was very quiet and peaceful as well. We only saw a few people on our way up, and this was on a weekend in June.

One more thing of note: The bugs were bad on this hike. I get bothered easily by the constant buzzing and flying around my face, so I wore my Buff pretty much the whole hike. I didn’t notice the bugs being a problem on any other hikes in the park except this one.

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

11 months ago

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

backpacking
11 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.

hiking
Saturday, October 07, 2017

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.

hiking
Saturday, October 07, 2017

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.

hiking
Saturday, October 07, 2017

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.

Friday, September 08, 2017

worth the work!

hiking
Saturday, August 26, 2017

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!

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