If you’ve never been to the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower, you have to find it on your vacation! This hidden place in the Smoky Mountains is located in Cosby, TN. The tower is an old lookout building that offers gorgeous 360-degree views of the mountains. It was built by local laborers and the Civilian Conservation Corp in the late 1930s.
The hike to the tower and back is a total of 11.9 miles, but the views you’ll have will make every step worth it! Your hike will begin at the Low Gap Trailhead. The first 3 miles on Low Gap trail are tough, but doable for mid forties in good shape.
We parked in the marked biker parking just before the gatehouse at the Cosby campground. Bathrooms nearby in the picnic area just before this parking lot (can easily walk from hiker parking lot). We took the Low Gap Trail up to the Appalachian Trail, then followed signs to Mount Cammerer. The 2.9 miles of the Low Gap Trail are strenuous, all ascent and steep at times.
It’s uphill about 6 miles straight up but zig zagged. It’s hard to breathe. Total 5-6 hours, 35k steps, and 11.7 miles. 3.5 hours up, 2 hours down. Trail was wide and well marked, though lots of rocks and tree roots (spent as much time watching foot placement as looking around). Do not listen to reviews that it flattens out after 3. It is uphill all the way.
AT portion was easier as we walked Ridgeline. Rivals Mt le Conte. AMAZING views from around the restored tower. The Lower Mount Cammer Trail Added more than 5 miles to the return trip. Much narrower and less traveled trail through forest. Surprised to have ascent and descent on this trail. Watch the weather, cloudy mornings sometimes obstruct the view if you arrive too early. Clouds broke just as we reached the ridge around 11:45a. Put this hike on your must do list! The breathtaking view is insane and worth every single step.