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Mt. Cammerer

Skill:  Intermediate
Water: None
Pros:
  Views from an unique fire-tower
Cons: A very steep climb
Notes: Bring lots of water and a lunch. You'll want to savor the panoramic views

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Overview  

VIEWS   Perched on a pinnacle in the northern most section of the park, is a very unusual fire tower.  This fire tower is different in that it's design is styled after western fire "lookouts". A few years ago, this Yosemite style fire tower was restored to its original condition by a dedicated group of volunteers. Currently, it is in "like new" condition and some components have been replaced with more modern materials.  This does not take away from the original look, however.  Built from stone, wood and glass the fire tower was built by the men and women of the CCC, in the spring of 1939. The workers hauled stone and wood to the summit by horseback, on foot and with jeeps. This was still very much an era that required many tasks to be preformed by hand and was a great engineering feat. The craftsmanship is obvious from the moment the fire-tower comes into view. The ridge that the fire-tower is on is unique also. There are plenty of places on the rocky summit to spread a blanket and enjoy the views with your favorite person. You don't have to enter the tower to see the views, however the views from the deck are unbeatable. No one leaves without being impressed, even on a cloudy day!

ARNO CAMMERER  Named after the well liked director of the National Park Service in the thirties. He was very skilled in promoting the National Park system and seeking financial support. After years of dedicated service he resigned due to poor health. After his death, the peak formerly known as "White Rocks" received his name.

Topography

At 4928 feet in elevation, Mt. Cammerer is on the edge a precipitous slope overlooking the Pigeon River Gorge.   The mountain directly across the gorge with the white aviation tower on it is the 4263' Snowbird Mountain. The elevation of the gorge that the fire-tower overlooks below is less than 2000'. Also 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 the Mt. Sterling Ridge with another interesting fire-tower on its highest point. Beyond that is a seemingly endless expanse of mountains we call the Smokies.

Permits

No camping is allowed on the summit, but you can get a permit to camp at Davenport Gap or at any other campsite in the vicinity. Permits can be obtained for free at self service stations. There is a permit station at the Big Creek ranger station and the Cosby welcome booth. Reservations are required for the Davenport Gap shelter.  Go to the backcountry camping link for more information on camping permits.

Backcountry Permit Link >>>>

Trails

There are several directions that Cammerer can be approached from. Cosby, Big Creek and the Appalachian Trail from the north. The Low Gap Trail from Cosby is the closest to the summit. 

COSBY   From Cosby it is a hike up the Low Gap Trail to the Appalachian Trail. This is the shortest route to Mt. Cammerer. The hike begins at the back of the section B area of the Cosby Campground, so many camp here and day hike to the fire-tower. The trail climbs a little less than 3 miles up winding switch backs. It is steep and relentless in it's climb to the A.T. as it passes through a beautiful and mature hardwood forest. Once to the top and the trail junction, it is a 2 1/10 mile hike to the 1/2 mile connector trail. Again you must climb on the Appalachian Trail, but it is not as steep as the Low Gap Trail. The A.T. is lined with rhododendron and grass. There are many spots to rest here, you may need it!

BIG CREEK   The hike up from Big Creek is as much of an elevation gain as the climb from Cosby. The Chestnut Branch Trail takes you two miles up to Appalachian Trail. This hike has some beautiful creek scenes and is a short trip to the Appalachian Trail. The last three tenths of a mile is a very steep climb. Be ready for a huffer-puffer! At the junction  with the A.T. turn left and continue the climb. From here it is a 3.3 mile hike up to the connector trail at Mt. Cammerer. 

APPALACHIAN TRAIL   You can approach the half mile Mt. Cammerer Trail by the "A.T." from either the north or the south. From the north and the northern park boundary, take the A.T. up from Davenport Gap the beginning of the trail in the park. It is a 5.2 mile hike and a 3000 foot elevation change to the Mt. Cammerer Connector Trail. A very steep climb! 

MT. CAMMERER CONNECTOR TRAIL  This one half mile hike is almost as interesting as the fire-tower. This section is very rocky as it takes you out on to the high ridge. As you climb the heath lined trail you can "feel" the elevation change. Climbing to this rugged ridge can be tiring but rewarding. 

Directions | Mt Cammerer Camping | Mt. Cammerer Photos 

Mt Cammerer Tips | Mt. Cammerer Home

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