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Mount Cammerer via Low Gap Professional Review and Guide
"Formerly called White Rock by Tennesseans and Sharp Top by Carolinians, this mountaintop rock outcrop was renamed by the park service after Arno B. Cammerer, a former director of the National Park Service. No matter the name, this peak has incredible panoramas from its place on the Smokies crest. A historic wood-and-stone fire tower, long in disuse, has been repaired by the Friends of the Smokies. The restoration makes Mount Cammerer an even more desirable destination.The trail begins a steady but not too steep climb toward the Smokies crest. The wide roadbed allows you to look around without having to watch your very step. At mile 1.3, the trail makes the first of several switchbacks amid a nearly virgin forest."
--Johnny Molloy, Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press).
This is a great trail for the hiker who loves the challenge. I took my little brother and his wife who are active but not outdoor savvy. We hit the trail head not realizing how quickly we would start the elevation climb. Almost immediately it was a test on the legs but it was worth the physical challenge to be so consumed by the raw beauty of the natural surroundings. The hike stays close to the Middle Prong (River) climbing a steady elevation change of 2100 ft. from start to finish. The hike offers a lot of views with different types of vegetation and picturesque drops as you move upward with the river. The last leg is hands down the toughest after such a great workout but well worth the sweat. As you finish high-stepping the rocky terrain you come to the trails end where there is a beautiful scene where two rivers come together to form the cascades. With about a 100 foot drop in the cascades, the mist is incredibly refreshing. There is no question that the trail is a physical test, however the scenery is fantastic and the views of the cascades and the river are well worth it. I highly recommend the trail to anyone up to a challenge.
J.T. Nashville, TN
This was an awesome hike!!!! We were in prime wildflower season and the water was flowing heavy from the mountains. On the way up you get to walk through a section of old growth Tulip Poplar trees and some large Hemlocks. The wildflower display along the sides of the trail was spectacular. Be sure to start early so you can enjoy the views along the way.
This is my favorite hike in the Smokies! It is rigorous enough to keep the large crowds away, leaving you with a beautiful 8 miles of quiet (I think I only ran into 5 other people on the hike). The trail follows two streams which keeps the sound of water in the background for most of your hike. The trail includes a lot of climbing over rocks and jumping across streams. I would not recommend this hike for a first timer (it is pretty steep). If you can survive the 2100 ft up, 4 mile out climb, you will be rewarded with breathtaking falls. This hike is most definitely worth the effort!!!
This was a good trip rated Strenuous, not Moderate as some reports show. The first 1 1/2 mile was pretty easy as it consists of a gravel and rock jeep road and an easy grade. The scenery and sounds of the streams and birds were fantastic. The next 1 1/2 mile crosses the stream on nice foot bridges and goes through some beautiful country with some old growth trees. There are four pretty close together that would take 4 or 5 people holding hands to streach around. Nice photo op. The trail thru this part is steeper with a lot of roots and rocks. Near the upper part of this section we spotted a yearling bear checking out a rotten tree next to the trail. He pretty much ignored us as he was searching for ants and termites. The last mile was tough. It was even steeper with a lot more rocks and stream crossings. If the weather was really wet, I'm not sure you could get up this section as it would be rushing water. Once you get up to the falls they are really pretty and worth the effort. However it is tough to get really good pictures as there isn't a lot of area to take pictures from. The area is dangerous and a number of people have been killed by falling while climbing the rocks around the falls. Take lots of water as you will sweat it out and start off prepared for a tough hike with good shoes and water at minimum. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and the hike and be prepared to possibly meet some black furry fellows. :>) Mike
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