Mount Cammerer via Low Gap

#26 of 161 trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Mount Cammerer via Low Gap is a 10.3 mile out and back trail located near Cosby, TN that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

10.3 miles 2926 feet Out & Back
hiking horseback riding river views wild flowers wildlife old growth rocky
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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.

Brian Mullins
12 days ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

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.

Brent Farmer
4 months ago

18 Completed1 Reviews

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.

Brianna Cooper
4 months ago

7 Completed3 Reviews

Difficult hike, but worth it. Make sure you start early.

Fritz Hunter
5 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

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.

Samer H.
7 months ago

Pat Helms
1 year ago

25 Completed22 Reviews

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!

Mike Bradshaw
1 year ago

27 Completed28 Reviews

Hard hike, but totally worth the payoff.

Betsy Elwert
1 year ago

5 Completed5 Reviews

Went many years ago with friends but it was a good trail! View was awesome from the top!

Matthew Hopkins
1 year ago

8 Completed3 Reviews

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!

Jeremy Landt
2 years ago

41 Completed5 Reviews

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.

Tami Russell
2 years ago

10 Completed10 Reviews

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:

Jacob Cotton
2 years ago

20 Completed14 Reviews

Absolutely Fantastic trail! One of the best views in the Smokies. Trail is extremely rocky and a bit steep for the first half. Going down for us was almost just as difficult because of the rockiness. Had a kid playing the fiddle up there when we got to the tower which was a real treat. Had to wait a few minutes for the clouds to drift through, but when it did it was such an amazing view.

Stephen Romaine
4 years ago

10 Completed10 Reviews

AMAZING HIKE!!!! We started at 3:30 in the morning and go to the top just as the sun was rising! I made a time lapse of the sun rise. Fair warning its a longer hike and quite strenous. Me and my friend ended up running the last mile and a half to make it before sunrise. I highly reccommend this! 360 degree view of the mountains!!!

Nick Parker
4 years ago

20 Completed8 Reviews

best tower in the east

Victoria 'Vicki' Q.
6 years ago

Did this trail on a Halloween 08, and there was a light dusting of snow already. The view from the Fire Tower is amazing. A must do trail!