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Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park
by Kevin Adams (Falcon Guides)
This hike provides the shortest route to the Mount Cammerer Lookout on the rocky summit of Mount Cammerer. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the fire lookout in the 1930s, using the same design as the lookouts on the treeless and rocky mountains of the western states. After falling in disrepair the lookout was restored in 1995 and it is now open for hikers to enjoy, although it is again in need of some repair. The panoramic view from the lookout is spectacular at any time, but if you can make this hike in October when the autumn foliage peaks, you’ll have a hard time pulling yourself away. Low Gap Trail begins from the hiker parking area and soon passes behind the campground amphitheater and the trailhead for Cosby Nature Trail. Pay attention to the trail signs through here, because a number of paths lead off from the main trail.
Best Hikes of the Appalachian Trail South
by Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press)
Soak in boundless views from a historic, restored lookout tower. Leave Cosby Campground and head up Cosby Creek valley through gorgeous woodland to the state line. Meet the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) at Low Gap. Cruise the state line to emerge at an outcrop and tower where the world falls away.The trail’s beginning, within the greater realm of Cosby Campground, can be a bit confusing, with numerous trail junctions in the first 0.5 mile. But a little persistence and soon you will be ascending the gorgeous valley of Cosby Creek, where tall trees shade mossy boulders and Cosby Creek forms a watery attraction alongside which proliferate wildflowers in spring.
This is an incredible hike. we camped at the Cosby Campground and hiked to the trail head. We took the low gap trail, to the Appalachian trail, to the mt cammerer trail. It starts as a jeep trail, and gradually transitions into a hiking trail. The first scenery you see once on the hiking trail is a wonderful creek with big rocks and small waterfalls and a log bridge crossing the creek. Once you get past the creek the real hiking begins. Its nothing but uphill hiking from this point on. While it is a tough hike, if you take your time it's not too bad. Once you get near the top you start to get small clearings where you have a decent view. At the top of the Mt Cammerer trail is a wonderful old watch tower. You have to climb over a trail a huge rocks and bushes. Once up on the tower you get an AMAZING 360 degree view of nothing but mountains. I actually used this beautiful spot to propose to my girlfriend. It couldn't have been more perfect. After spending some time at the time and having a nice lunch we hiked back down, making a special stop at the little creek near the trail head to soak our sore feet in the cool creek. 5 stars for sure!
If you get lucky and have clear weather, you'll hardly believe your eyes. Its a bit of a workout but its worth it.
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